Family’s mission to save our frog

The Bolton News: FISHING FOR FROGS: Fred Ramm and his grandsons Ellis and Kane Harper, aged nine and six FISHING FOR FROGS: Fred Ramm and his grandsons Ellis and Kane Harper, aged nine and six

IN their natural habitat, they swim among the pond weed and lilypads in relative safety.

But in part of Bolton the common frog is coming up against a lethal man-made obstacle — drains.

Now a grandfather and his grandsons are on a mission to help the hapless amphibians, and are calling for others to join their cause.

Fred Ramm was walking with his grandson, Kane Harper, aged five, in Bromley Cross when they heard croaking noises.

They looked down drains in Hebble Close, close to Kane’s home in Ryeburn Drive, and discovered a number of trapped frogs.

The pair lifted the drain covers and were able to rescue six frogs.

But they were forced to leave a further dozen to their fate because the drain covers were stuck.

Mr Ramm, aged 66 of Turton Road, Bromley Cross, said: “We realised the noises were coming from the grids and got some fishing net to rescue the frogs.

“I think they must have fallen down on their way to the nearby pond. I now wonder if whoever looks after the drains can put some netting in to catch the frogs in future so they can then be moved to safety.”

Mr Ramm is also calling on other people who see frogs near to drains to capture them and put them in a pond if there is one nearby, or a safer place.

Bolton Council and United Utilities share responsibility for the waterways in Bolton, looking after different aspects.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “We regard ourselves as a frog-friendly company, so are sorry to hear that these amphibians got trapped.

“Our engineers will always do what they can to help distressed or trapped wildlife.

“We are not clear if these frogs got trapped in a highways drain — which is looked after by the council — or actually found their way into one of our sewers.

“Either way we hope that the Bromley Cross frogs have a safe, incident free summer from now on.”

FROG FACTFILE

  • Frogs have been around unchanged for 190 million years.
  • The common frog is the UK's most common amphibian.
  • Frogs can live for up to 15 years — if they manage to escape their numerous predators.
  • They have many enemies, from birds of prey to gulls and crows, ducks, herons, weasels, badgers, foxes and even bigger, hungry frogs.
  • They hibernate through the winter — in mud, dry stone walls or under sheltered rocks on land.
  • Frog numbers have declined massively in recent years due to loss of habitat and pollution. They are also susceptible to a disease called redleg.
  • Each female lays up to 1,000 eggs each spring but only a handful will become adult frogs.
  • Frogs have excellent eyesight and hearing. They breathe through their skin but it needs to be kept moist and prefer damp areas.
  • Frogs are now spawning earlier in the year than previously, thought to be an indicator of climate change.

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