Surprise, surprise its lovers leap

FOR the queen of matchmaking Cilla Black helped bring lovers together with her popular television show Blind Date.And this Valentine's Day the Forestry Commission plans to step into her size sixes in a bid to encourage romance to blossom in a Suffolk wood.

FOR the queen of matchmaking Cilla Black helped bring lovers together with her popular television show Blind Date.

And this Valentine's Day the Forestry Commission plans to step into her size sixes in a bid to encourage romance to blossom in a Suffolk wood.

But do not expect to be given any help from 'our Graham', because this version of the programme is devoted to securing the union of none other than the common frog.

Thetford Forest is just one of many sites the Forestry Commission has been getting ready for the patter of tiny tadpoles, by improving the quality of water found in ponds formed at the end of the Ice Age.


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Forestry Commission spokesman Nick Gibbons said: "Valentine's Day is well known as the most romantic date in the human calendar, but it is also a pretty passionate time for our amphibian friends.

"The common frog starts breeding from mid-February when the males start croaking to attract their mates, followed by the laying of frogspawn by the females."

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The ponds, which are officially known as pingos, are improved by reducing shading and removing silt and leaf litter, ultimately making the pools a more pleasant and romantic habitat for starting a frog family.

The commission is also urging members of the public not to move frogspawn from pond to pond because of the possible spread of a fatal condition - known as red leg disease - which breaks out when the frog is under stress.

The common frog is possibly one of the most familiar amphibians in Britain and constitutes around 40% of the total amphibian population.

It can be found in almost any habitat that contains suitable breeding ponds, and over the past 20 years it has greatly benefited from the construction of garden ponds and is doing well in the urban and suburban environment.

People are advised that rather than moving frogspawn, they should note down its location and pass the details on to the Suffolk Amphibian and Reptile Group, which keeps records of the breeding habits of frogs in the area.

Mr Gibbons added: "We are working hard to make sure these ponds are suitable breeding grounds for the frogs, but just how romantic they will get remains to be seen."

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