Pool Frog Care Sheet
The pool frog, known by its Latin name Pelophynax lessonae named after Michele Lessona, inhabits wetland areas of western Europe, for example France, Germany and the UK. These frogs are part of the ‘water frog complex’, having complex hybridisation processes between other closley related species. Their colouration is varied, depending on locality. Pool frogs from their northern range are typically brown, whereas southern frogs are likely to be vibrant green. They are also patterned with many differing spots and posses a ventral fold, which distinguishes them from the brown frogs (such as the common and agile frog). The pool frog has an almost immaculate white underbelly. Interestingly, during the mating seasons males call to females, which almost sounds like laughter, owing to some to call the laughing frogs. Unfortunately, in the UK, this species went extinct in 1999, when the last know British pool frog died.
This is a species that is only present in the UK due to dedicated work as a part of a reintroduction programme, therefore it is highly protected. It is illegal to catch or disturb a British pool frog, but perfectly legal to own captive bred European specimens. All our pool frogs are captive bred European specimens.
Southern pool frog (top), northern pool frog (bottom).
These frogs enjoy a varied diet consisting of crickets, mealworms, calci worms, spiders, woodlice or any commercially available feeder insect. It is important to gut-load the feeder insects with fruit, vegetables and dandelions as the nutrients from the food will go straight into the frogs. Dusting the feeder insects is also an important step to ensure your frog maintains healthy levels of vitamins and calcium. We encourage people to establish natural colonies of insects and invertebrates into the enclosure which will ensure your frog can get an unlimited supply of a varied diet, at no extra cost. Before the frog goes into hibernation, it is advised to feed it wax worms or any other type of high-fat food to help cope with the cooler temperatures in winter.
Pool frogs will really appreciate a vivarium with plenty of space to bask and swim. Therefore, we recommend a vivarium of size 1 m (wide) x 0.5 m (deep) for a pair or small group. The enclosure should also have 40-50 cm of soil for the frog to burrow down and brumate as well as adequate space for a pond for the frogs to lay their spawn. A variety of plant species, logs and stones will help create a more natural, realistic environment for the frog to enjoy. This also makes for great habitats for insects such as ants, spiders and woodlouse: it’s your own microbiome! Remember, the larger the enclosure, the happier the animal, so don’t hesitate to make a larger enclosure. At Celtic Reptile & Amphibian we house our pool frogs in greenhouse enclosures or outdoor vivaria, as this allows vital exposure to the sun and thus, the absorption of UVB light. Pool frogs are wetland specialists so it is important to make sure a sufficient pool or pond is present in the enclosure at all times. No external heating supply or UVB bulb is required when outdoors in the UK or Europe. This ensures the animals live the most naturalistic and healthy life possible which can be seen from the stunning colours of our animals! In terms of temperature and humidity, this frog is rather hardy and so can withstand temperatures as low as 10 C (before going into brumation) and as high as 40 C , with a happy medium of around 25 C. This species loves to bask and so basking temperatures may need to be higher than the rest of the enclosure, however you can achieve this by ensuring your enclosure is on the south facing wall with no sunlight obstruction.
Habitat of the Pool frog: large water bodies, such as Lac du Januay, Vendee, France.
On warm summer nights above 10C, male pool frogs will call to the females with their classic ‘ha…ha..ha’. This stimulates the female to breed, in which the pair enter amplexus. The female releases her eggs while the male fertilises them with his sperm. Over the coming hours, the eggs swell forming frogspawn like jelly.