frogs new jersey

It is early winter time here in the Northeast, a time when pond pumps in many ponds that have skimming systems suddenly and seemingly for no reason just stop working. I seem to get many phone calls this time of year that “my pump has suddenly died, it was working this morning and this afternoon it has just stopped”.

After so many years in this business and seeing patterns and situations that develop at given points in the year my first piece of advice for those customers with “sudden dead pump syndrome”, after telling them to unplug the pump, is to ask them to check the pump intake to see if their neighborhood frog has it’s leg caught in the pump intake. I estimate that about 90% of the time that is what the problem is. Most of the time if the problem is brought to my attention early enough the frog can be released and be on its merry way, hopping a bit crooked, but all the same on its way.

Frogs will often hang out inside the skimmer box because it offers a pocket of warm air compared to the outside temperature, and frogs like that. It is not unusual to open a skimmer lid and see 2-3 frogs perched along the net supports this time of year. Frogs will swim into the bottom of a skimmer to be closer to the source of the warmth…the pump, and tend to get their leg jammed in the pump’s intake.

If your pump suddenly “dies” just when the weather is getting a bit chilly, first check your pump to see if your local frog has gotten himself in a jam!


Written by Mike Gannon

Mike Gannon

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The LOVEYOURPOND Blog is written by Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics located in Summit, NJ. Mike is an award winning pond, water garden, and water feature builder. Always “In The Pursuit Of All Things Aquatic” Mike has been a lifelong hobbyist and providing professional services since 1995. Mike is the creator of The Pond Hunter video series seen on Youtube and has made several television appearances on Networks such as HGTV and the DIY Network. He also hosts the Pond Hunter Radio Broadcast, a show on everything aquatic, every other Wednesday at 8pm EST. You can see what else Mike is up to at the following sites:

    6 Comments on FROGS AND SKIMMERS, OH MY!

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  1. Mike Gannon Says:

    on January 16, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Tina. thanks for commenting! Covering the pump intake will help the frogs but may create more maintenance for you with the pump. Frogs are very NINJA! I agree with your daughter. The best way to care for a wild injured frog is to just let it be and it will figure out what to do. Good luck!! -Mike

  2. Tina Says:

    on January 13, 2019 at 5:52 am

    This has happened twice to me. I didn’t catch the first one in time, but this evening there was one still alive. The hind flippers are pretty mangled. My skimmer is covered with a diy wood cover AND I have the gate over the water intake. My daughter says they’re ninja frogs. I think tomorrow I’m going to use zip ties and wrap the end of the pump with white filter material.
    Does anyone see any potential problems with that plan? Or how to care for an injured frog ???? my daughters pretty upset over it.

  3. Mike Gannon Says:

    on April 24, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    Great feedback and ideas to keep the froggers safe! Let us know how you do with the skimmer! Good luck -Mike

  4. Lisa believe Says:

    on April 20, 2018 at 12:22 am

    I put my pump in a plastic basket that has holes all around it(dollar store), then layer srategicly fist(women’s) sized rocks and some a bit smaller. My pump sits upright and pulls from the very bottom of it so I make sure there are gaps there, but not big enough for frogs to get in. I put largest on bottom then layer 1/2 fist sized on top of them. That way gaps are pretty small. No more frogs in my pump, 4 years now. Now to frog proof entire skimmer for winter so no floaters in spring.

  5. Mike Gannon Says:

    on April 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I am not really aware of any frog deterrents… If you find a solution please share it! Good luck. -Mike

  6. Mike Ruby Says:

    on April 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Any way to deter?
    have put chickenwire and other finer screens – keep getting through
    can’t figure out how – any thoughts?

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