Common Frog - Rana temporaria
This is the only species of frog found in Ireland. How long they have been here is something of a mystery, but it is believed that frogs brought over from the Netherlands and systematically released by students into the gardens of Trinity College, Dublin, led to them spreading throughout the entire country. Whatever the truth is, they are now extremely common in Wicklow. In spring they spawn in every available pond, including small ones in suburban gardens.
Although most people assume the frogs of Wicklow are mute, during the mating season in spring they are extremely noisy, uttering low chortling croaks that sound like burps. They are so noisy that they often draw attention to themselves and are eaten by herons, cats and occasionally predatory fish.
Although mostly green with blackish-brown markings some can be almost completely yellow, or even rusty red. However, the mask stripe behind the eyes is unmistakeable, even if very faint.
Females are slightly larger and bulkier than males, measuring about 12cm at most. Both are voracious predators of slugs, which are the predominant invertebrates of the damp areas favoured by the frogs. For this reason they are popular with gardeners.
In turn Common Frogs are eaten by a great many different creatures. However, they do have a secret defence strategy. When confronted with a larger mammal, such as a cat, they will puff themselves up with air and emit a terrifying squeal, sometimes leaping towards the attacker, with stunning effect.