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Marsh Frog

Relatively easy to distinguish from the common frog by the lack of eye mask, presence of two vocal sacs on either side of head, size (generally larger), laughing call and green colour.

They are usually heard before they are seen. Rarely far from a waterbody and will scare easily, quickly diving into the water if disturbed.

Now found predominantly in south-east England. Populations were introduced, either as pets released into the wild or brought in with fish stock from mainland Europe. An aggressive competitor, the marsh frog eats a wide variety of prey including fish, invertebrates, other amphibians and even fledgling birds. Native species can be threatened, either through predation or competition.

This particular amphibian is closely related to the better known species Rana Esculanta commonly eaten in France as an especial delicacy.

Living close to water the Marsh Frog is by nature very shy though you might not think so from the orchestration of his powerful vocal sacks, especially in the month of May the raucous croaking of the Marsh frogs will sound their warm welcome to spring. The sound is both eerie and tedious. In the silent hours this sound travels as much as half a mile and often echoes back again.

On the approach of humans and not infrequently before they are seen, these animals plunge to the safety of the water with an all too familiar 'plop.'  They are further provided with the ability to vary their colouring to enable them to blend in with the lights and shades of the banks of the water courses which they frequent.

It is quite possible therefore to see a bright green marsh frog in one place and a dull grey green one elsewhere which fact before now has led to not a little controversy amongst young naturalists anxious to establish definite recognition of a ' real' 'Marsh Frog.'

The more fortunate naturalist who is privileged to watch this interesting creature will observe that before emitting this eerie sound the frog inflates two small sacks on his head which resemble miniature ping pong balls. The size of these bags in comparison with the rest of the body is both alarming and grotesque at the moment before the sound is given forth.

The calls are most prevalent during the mating season and the courting antics of these frogs are quite entertaining.

They move with surprising alacrity over surface weed on the water as though upon a ballroom floor and perform the most striking figures and gestures not infrequently changing colour as they move from light to shade.

The difference between frogs and toads.

They may seem similar at a glance, but frogs and toads do have their differences. Most noticeably, the toad is a crawler and the frog a hopper. They are a different species, but you really need to get down on your hands and knees to see which is which. From a distance it can be difficult as they live in pretty similar habitats, eat the same food, and can look very similar. If you see it hopping it's a frog and if it's crawling it's a toad."

A true frog is a member of the Ranidae family, which can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Physically, a frog has bulging eyes, webbed hind feet for leaping and swimming, and smooth, slimy skin.

In comparison, toads are squat and less graceful. They have short hind legs for walking, warty dry skin and poison glands behind their eyes. Toads lay their eggs in long chains (toad spawn) whereas frogs lay eggs in large glutinous clusters (frog spawn).