Author Topic: Deepest frog in England!  (Read 1919 times)

Offline PeteHall

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Deepest frog in England!
« on: April 25, 2021, 08:18:03 pm »
Reached the terminal sump in Charterhouse (England's deepest cave  ;) ) on Saturday, to find a fully grown, healthy looking frog  sitting by the sump pool! :o

I can't imagine that it would have survived getting washed through the whole cave, even if the stream flowed that way (which it doesn't), so I can only assume that it grew there.

How on Earth did it get enough to eat to grow to that size, and how long must it have been there?

Offline mikem

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2021, 09:40:52 pm »
Thatll be where all the other tadpoles went...

Offline tdobson

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 11:16:21 pm »
I found a healthy looking toad or frog very near East Canal in Giants Hole, Peak District last year.

I had many of the same questions you did.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 01:02:05 am »
I found a toad in the terminal sump of an old mine years ago, and also couldn't work out how it had got there - it was still there swimming a month later, but a month after that it had died. I have no idea if they can climb vertically up rock - or frogs for that matter. I've found several frogs around and about in relatively dry caves and mines, but usually nearer the surface. They like the bottom of shafts as there's always a supply of beetles falling down them.

Offline CavefestUK

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2021, 06:55:59 am »
I remember a trip in St Cotherstone and we saved 8 ir so frogs. I remember seeing one at sump 1 in Swildons once, but I reckon that your frog Pete is a pretty good contender for deepest frog

Offline wellyjen

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2021, 08:48:53 am »
How on Earth did it get enough to eat to grow to that size, and how long must it have been there?
Cavers?  :o
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2021, 08:53:42 am »
Out of interest, how deep is England's deepest cave then?

Offline Benfool

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2021, 09:26:39 am »
I found a live frog at the end of Main Rising - the deepest part of  the Peak-Speedwell system. That cant be far off the depth of Charterhouse!

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Offline PeteHall

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2021, 09:58:43 am »
Out of interest, how deep is England's deepest cave then?

Charterhouse is 220m to the sump, which I think is the deepest dry cave in England. If you count the underwater stuff, it's not actually the deepest  :-[

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2021, 10:14:39 am »
I'd guess Wookey might be the deepest below sea level?

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2021, 10:40:32 am »
To save going off on too much of a tangent, there has been some discussion of Deepest Cave in England here: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=26655.0

Back to the frog. Presumably, it's been eating bits of organic stuff washed in (though I did think that frogs were carnivorous), which it must find by smell. Sitting very still and conserving energy all the time between?

Based on a google search, some frog species can live up to 40 years, with predation and loss of habitat often reducing lifetimes. It seems reasonable that in a cool cave environment, with 100% humidity and no predation, a frog might well exceed the usual lifetime, assuming it managed to find enough food to maintain its sedentary lifestyle.

According to the online log (which may or may not be accurate), there were a few trips to the terminal sump in 2015, but nobody has been since. I certainly don't remember seeing a frog there in 2015, so it's probably fair to assume it's grown to its current size in under 5 years.

I'm going to have to check up on it in another 5 years or so  :lol:


Offline mikem

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2021, 11:00:28 am »
It's fair to say that charterhouse is the deepest from the nearest (human-sized) entrance...

Offline Leclused

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2021, 11:19:18 am »
I think that the frog was washed in and then travelled around in the cave. Could it be that the frog came in from the other side of the sump.

But if the frog grew up there then  the eggs should have been washed in in some way and the transformation from tadpole to frog should have been happening in the sump I presume.

Imho the frog ended up in (relative recently) one way or another in the sump  and will die shortly from starvation
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Offline PeteHall

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2021, 11:37:01 am »
I think that the frog was washed in and then travelled around in the cave.
In most caves, this is what I would think, but I can't imagine how it got there without being smashed to pieces on the way...

Quote
Could it be that the frog came in from the other side of the sump.
Unless it swam upstream underwater for several(?) kilometres, then not likely. Unless the sump is short and there is a nice gentle cave waiting to be found the other side  ;D


Quote
Imho the frog ended up in (relative recently) one way or another in the sump  and will die shortly from starvation
Probably, I just don't see how it could have survived the journey, considering the stream through the cave does not flow that way.

Unless it was flushed down the streamway and then flushed back up into this section as the cave flooded?  :shrug:

Either way, I'll check up on it next time I visit and see if its dead yet (or gone).

Offline Alex

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2021, 12:04:40 pm »
Seen a few at the bottom of Lost Johns, just before ground sheet junction. Frogs can certainly survive long falls.
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Offline Tomferry

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2021, 12:06:29 pm »
Will the frog go completely blind ?

Reading the story above that it was their a month later and then next time it had died makes me wonder if this is the case , I no some animals adapt other senses to over come total darkness and evolve feelers for example if they do live in the caves in total darkness maybe it’s a different species to the usual one in the garden pond . I suspect in a flooded mine shaft that is not capped it will be a normal frog as it has the day light ?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2021, 12:12:39 pm »
We spotted one on our way down Swinsto last Wednesday sitting on a tiny ledge a couple of metre above the floor by the bolts at the head of Spout Pitch. It's an interesting place, as it is well away from the main stream. It was still there when we passed the same spot on a trip through from Turbary on Saturday.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2021, 12:26:09 pm »
Will the frog go completely blind ?


Unlikely, I'd have thought. Complete loss of the use of an organ (becoming "vestigial") is more an evolutionary thing over a long period. Mind you, it'd probably blink a bit if you brought it out to the sunshine again.

I found on near the end of the Marble Steps Branch in Keld Head; if that one came upstream it'd have to have swum almost three quarters of a mile. More likely it met its doom in Marble Steps Pot, which is probably rather less of a swim (and would be helped by the current, in flood).


Offline mikem

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2021, 01:04:21 pm »
We get numerous healthy frogs, toads & newts at the base of a 7m shaft (& not so well off rabbits), but they have several other routes that they can fit through to get there. The amphibians can also climb impressively steep walls. Another shaft elsewhere has had newts living at the base of it for at least 10 years, with no sign of any pools where they can breed. Both are open to the surface though.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2021, 01:14:50 pm »
When we dug out the Son of Longcliffe shaft (9m deep), we found frogs already in there, though they would have easily been able to worm their way through backfill in the old adit entrance to get in. But that means they were willingly choosing to be in the dark, which seems odd. Obviously the beetles couldn't start falling down the shaft until we'd emptied it, but there are small flies on one wall in there, and perhaps they also breed in the cave? As this whole passage is only a few metres underground (albeit halfway up a very steep hill with no natural water flowing inside) it's possible its been an undisturbed amphibian habitat for hundreds of years, especially if they know all the tiny entrances that we could never fit through.

Offline mikem

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2021, 02:36:04 pm »
They do spend the majority of their adult lives underground & just need open water in the breeding season.

Offline AR

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2021, 02:39:34 pm »
I recall finding a newt at the bottom of an 80m mineshaft, there were also significant numbers of beetles and the newt seemed to be making a good living for itself off these.
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Offline mrodoc

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2021, 04:54:21 pm »
I think the frog would have come in with the stream and gradually moved down the cave.  There used to an assemblage of frogs periodically down at Stal Pitch in St. Cuthberts and that is a fairly convoluted route with vertical sections.  It probably came in in flood conditions. I like the story of the terrapin found in a Moroccan cave that had managed to descend an 18 metre pitch unharmed. - almost certainly a flood event. Frogs are tough but the one I saw swimming in the sea at Hope's Nose was not going to last long i suspected - that must have come down a sewage outfall nearby.

Offline A_Northerner

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2021, 06:34:20 pm »
Pretty sure frogs are small enough to survive terminal velocity, so regardless of the size of the drops involved they'd be fine. They've made quite the home at the bottom of Eldon Hole. I've also found them in both upstream and downstream sumps of P8.

The most significant one by far is Benfool's, as Main Rising is an upstream sump over 70m deep underwater, and apparently blocked by silt - so how the hell did a frog manage to get in there? I remember him surfacing from the dive talking about it, thinking he must be narced like mad!
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Offline Flotsam

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2021, 06:38:04 pm »
When was the last French expedition to England?

Offline wellyjen

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2021, 07:55:53 pm »
When was the last French expedition to England?
1895 by Édouard-Alfred Martel? First descent of GG.
Could the more constant year round temperature and high humidity be an advantage for frogs of the amphibious sort? Enough to make up for the relative lack of food perhaps?
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Offline Ed

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2021, 10:57:53 am »
When was the last French expedition to England?

22–24 February 1797 - The Battle of Fishguard when La Légion noire  lead by William Tate (Irish American) landed on Welsh soil

Offline thehungrytroglobite

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2021, 12:33:04 pm »
respect the cave frogs
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Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2021, 01:37:02 pm »
I remember a trip in St Cotherstone and we saved 8 ir so frogs. I remember seeing one at sump 1 in Swildons once, but I reckon that your frog Pete is a pretty good contender for deepest frog
I've found a couple of frogs and a toad at Swildon's sump one. I've always taken them out, which I can only assume they were grateful for. None of them thanked me though.
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Offline Fulk

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2021, 03:17:29 pm »
We once did the Igue De Viazac in the Lot of France. At the foot of the second pitch we saw a family of toads – a big greenish one (mummy toad?) and three smaller, reddish ones (her babies?). Anyway, to get there we figured that they must have fallen down the first two pitches, of ~30 m and ~35 m, but they appeared to be none the worse for having done so. (On our way out they had disappeared, so we couldn’t rescue them.)

Offline mikem

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2021, 04:06:24 pm »
Male toads are noticeably smaller than females.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2021, 04:17:51 pm »
So maybe they were her 'harem'.

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2021, 08:29:25 am »
I remember a trip in St Cotherstone and we saved 8 ir so frogs. I remember seeing one at sump 1 in Swildons once, but I reckon that your frog Pete is a pretty good contender for deepest frog
I've found a couple of frogs and a toad at Swildon's sump one. I've always taken them out, which I can only assume they were grateful for. None of them thanked me though.
Forgot to add - we spotted one of the frogs behind a rock, but as we were on the way in we had to leave it there. Back again a couple of months later, and the frog was in exactly the same position but much skinnier. Rescued that time!
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Offline Mr Mike

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Re: Deepest frog in England!
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2021, 11:08:34 am »
Longcleugh Shaft (nicknamed Frog Shaft) in the Nent Valley, 30m deep from the surface to dogleg, when 1st explored had lots of frogs at the bottom, likewise when we explored it years later we found one at the bottom.

 

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