The Sunshine Coast supports over 40 different species of native frogs. Many of these frogs have become threatened in recent years and are currently listed as either rare, endangered or vulnerable under the Qld Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Frogs are more often heard before they are seen. If you live near a wetland, you may have heard hundreds of frogs whistling, croaking or beeping in the distance.
Within urban backyards the most commonly found (or heard) frogs can be broadly divided into two groups for simplicity. Frogs that can climb and frogs that spend their life on the ground.
Frogs that can climbHave you ever seen footprints in the dust on the outside of your window? Chances are they could be the footprints of a climbing frog, commonly referred to as tree frogs!
The large Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) is the most well known and common of the tree frogs with its characteristic deep "craawk… craawk…." call from within a downpipe just before a summer storm. Have you ever noticed their uncanny ability to know when the next summer storm is coming long before us.
These large plump bright green frogs love to sit on window sills or cling onto windows or glass doors with their large sticky feet and catch insects and moths that gather around outdoor lights.
Some of the other common climbing or tree frogs include the Graceful or Dainty Green Tree Frog (Litoria gracilenta) and Peron’s Tree Frog (Litoria peronii).Both of these frogs are relatively small frogs growing to less than 50mm in length. The Graceful or Dainty Green Tree Frog (Litoria gracilenta) is typically bright green in colour with a pale yellow-green strip running from the nose across the top of the eye and a paler cream to yellow under side. These little frogs have a drawn out “eeeee” ”eeeeeee” call and can create a noisy chorus after spring and summer rain. They are commonly found in many urban parks and gardens and often seen sitting on cordyline or palm leaves in tropical gardens. Like their bigger cousins, the Large Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) they can also stick on windows and glass doors catching insects under outdoor lights.
Ground dwelling frogs live in a range of habitats from rainforests, dry woodlands, grasslands, watercourses, freshwater wetlands and acidic coastal wetlands and marsh areas.
Ground Dwelling Frogs
Many of our wet forest and rainforest frogs are listed as endangered, vulnerable or rare. Sighting or hearing one of these frogs call is very special. Frogs such as the Great Barred Frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus) and the Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iterates) are often killed by mistake as they are falsely identified as Cane Toads. Some wet forest frogs found in the region and their conservation status are:
|Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iterates)||Great Barred Frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus)|
Some frogs commonly seen or heard in grasslands around wetlands, wallum and dry forest or woodlands include the Eastern Sedge Frog (Litoria fallax), Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronii) and Striped Rocket Frog (Litoria nasuta).
Frogs such as the eastern sedge frog are common in suburban gardens. The Striped Marsh Frog is well known to many people with its distinct “tok tok” call that sounds like a dripping tap. When in large numbers a chorus of Striped Marsh Frogs call can sound like people clapping in the distance.
Rocket Frog (Litoria nasuta)
Acid FrogsAnother important category of frogs native to the region are known as acid frogs. This is because they tend to survive well in slightly acidic conditions. These frogs hang around wetlands and heathland, often found in small pools of water. A number of the acid frogs are listed as vulnerable or rare in state and commonwealth legislation. This is due to the increasing area of urban development that occurs on wetland, heathland and flood plain areas. The acid frogs are more commonly heard than seen. Some of them are very small, growing to only about 2cm in length. The acid frogs found on the Sunshine Coast and their conservation status include:
Cane ToadsCane Toads were introduced into the Queensland sugarcane fields in 1935 as a biological control for cane beetles. Unfortunately the cane toad adapted well to its new environment and abundant food supplies and quickly spread into other environments.
The tough warty skin of the cane toad contains deadly toxins that can be excreted out of two glands behind their ears. This toxicity is not common in Australian frogs and had deadly consequences for unsuspecting native wildlife that traditionally included frogs in their diet.
Cane toads have tough, leathery skin with a distinctly warty appearance. They have a bony ridge above the nostril and a pronounced, venom-producing gland behind the ear. The back colour is variable but usually grey, brown, reddish-brown or yellow and the belly is white with grey mottling. Adults are heavily built and can potentially grow up to 20cm in size. (Source: Queensland Musuem)
Cane Toad Eggs and Tadpoles
Like native frogs, cane toads will lay their eggs in both still and slow moving water. The eggs of cane toads are easily identified from native frog eggs by their long thin strands. Eggs appear as individual black dots in long “chain” like strands of jelly. Tadpoles hatch within 24 – 72 hours and appear as a dense mass of solid black tadpoles. Cane Toads can lay clutch of up to 35 000 eggs.
The eggs of native frogs usually appear in a bubbly or frothy mass with a jelly substance around individual eggs. Native tadpoles come in various shades of colour, however, only cane toad tadpoles are solid black in colour.
Cane toad eggs can easily be removed and killed by simply collecting up the jelly strand in your hand or a net and leaving them on the ground in the sun.
Encouraging frogs into your gardenTo attract frogs into your backyard, build a frog pond or convert a wet or boggy area of your garden into frog friendly habitat by planting appropriate native grasses, sedges and shrubs. Refrain from using chemical sprays in your garden that can be harmful to frogs and poison the insects they feed on. To find out how to build a frog pond and protect frogs in your backyard habitat, go to our Frog Pond.
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Useful Tips and Facts
- Create urban wildlife corridors and stepping stones to larger local bushland or parkland areas.
- In nature there is no such thing as waste everything is linked and contributes to the cycle. As a plant reaches the end of its life cycle it is not discarded by nature, instead it provides habitat for animals and food for micro-organisms as it lies on the ground, the waste from the micro-organisms, bacteria and fungi feeding on it replace nutrients and organic material to the soil for new plants to grow.
- Plant local native species
- The best way to attract native wildlife to your backyard is to provide a variety of healthy natural foods in the form of seeds, leaves, flowers, nectar, pollen, fruits and nuts throughout the year.
- The use of pesticides and herbicides can damage your soils and kill non target species. The poisoning of insects with chemicals can also cause larger species relying on those insects as a food source to become sick or even die from eating poisoned insects.
- To create habitat for smaller native birds you can grow shrubs close together to create dense corners or pockets in your garden which will provide protection and refuge from larger aggressive birds such as noisy miners
- Wattles (Acacias). While most wattles only live between 6 - 10 years, they are an important pioneer species which colonise disturbed areas, where other plants find it hard to grow. They improve soil conditions enough to allow other species to germinate and thrive by fixing nitrogen into the soil through their roots and adding high levels of organic leaf litter.