No Signs of Ranavirus
Last week staff at Everything Dinosaur became concerned over the behaviour of some of the frogs that had spawned in the office pond. At least three seemed lethargic and almost in a stupor. Their movements were slow and we were concerned that the concentration of amphibians in the pond as they started their breeding season had led to an outbreak of the deadly virus Ranavirus.
This virus had first entered the UK sometime in the early 1980s and has spread up from the south. Something like 80% of the frog population of the UK has been affected and the Common Frog population (Rana temporaria) has plummeted as a result. Small ponds, even garden ponds are now extremely important to amphibians, we were concerned that the odd behaviour of the frogs after spawning may have been as a result of a virus outbreak.
No dead frogs have been found in and around the pond area and the tadpoles seem to be thriving. We suspect that we had observed females who were exhausted after the stressful spawning time. However, we will continue to maintain a “watching brief” on the pond and if we do find positive signs of a Ranavirus outbreak, we will report it to Froglife – the organisation formed to protect UK amphibian populations – straight away.