Photo: Toomas, at Häädemeeste
In appearance edible frogs are among our most noticeable amphibians – partly salad green or lemon yellow, with black patches and with a yellowish green lengthwise stripe along the back. The belly is white or yellow-patched.
In fact the edible frogs are hybrids between two of our frogs, the marsh frog (Rana ridibunda) and the pool frog (Rana lessonae), and they are more common in South Estonia. As the Estonian name, veekonn, ”water frog”, testifies, they are tied to water from birth to death. They crawl up on land only after noon, in the hottest periods, generally staying in the shady and moist vegetation close to the shore. Occasionally they roam about a bit. There they obtain the major part of their food – beetles, two-wings, dragonflies, ants … Edible frogs are adept and quick creatures and slink into the water at the smallest disruption. Thus some luck is needed to see an edible frog but remember that between midday and afternoon in beautiful weather they rise in great numbers to the water surface to spend some pleasant ”frog time”. The night is spent at the bottom of water bodies. They inhabit rivers as well as lakes, only fast-flowing locations are avoided.
For edible frog tadpoles to develop into small, a little more than three centimetres long frogs takes about four months. This year the spawning of common frogs started in May, but development of the eggs begins only in water of 16 degrees. Occasionally they even winter as tadpoles and development then occurs in teh following year. The length of adult individuals is around ten centimetres.