Have you noticed fewer frogs and toads in your garden this year?

A frog and its spawn in a garden pond at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

A frog and its spawn in a garden pond at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Nature lovers want us to dig more garden ponds to help declining frogs and toads.

More than 4,500 people in Norfolk took part in the RSPB's wildlife survey, which was part of the Big Garden Birdwatch in January.

Some 47pc of them reported sighting frogs monthly, while 84pc said they had seen one over the last year.

Some 30pc reported seeing toads monthly, with 68pc seeing one over the last year. The bench park monthly sightings figure has seen a decline of around 15pc for frogs and 29pc for toads over the last four years.

Nationally, the survey results also paint a picture of decline for both species.

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Despite frogs being seen at least monthly in close to 40pc of gardens, this was 17pc fewer sightings than the last time they were surveyed in 2014.

The pattern was similar for toads who were seen in 20pc of our outdoor spaces on a monthly basis, some 30pc fewer gardens than 2014. The survey included results from more than 174,000 gardens.

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RSPB scientist Dr Daniel Hayhow said: 'Most people remember seeing tadpoles at the local pond or a toad emerging from under a rock while they were growing up – these first experiences with nature stay with us forever. Unfortunately, the sights and sounds of wildlife that were once common to us are sadly becoming more mysterious.

'Frogs and toads are amphibious creatures meaning that they need a source of water close to their homes to survive. Creating a small pond in your garden, or a pool using a washing up bowl is so simple to do and could make all the difference.'

Dr Karen Haysom, species programmes manager at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation said: 'Frogs and toads face many pressures including the loss of habitat like ponds. Helping these fascinating creatures by making wildlife habitat in your garden or taking part in species recording schemes so we understand how nature is faring is fun and can make a difference.'

The RSPB has launched its Wild Challenge, to encourage families to learn more about nature and how to give it a helping hand. Activities range from building a pool for amphibians, to exploring towns, woodlands and the coast. For more, go online to www.rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge

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