Saturday, January 14, 2012


I just found an exquisite little frog sunning itself on the edge of the pond. Not much longer than the first joint of my thumb (approximately 3 cms), slender and delicate with lengthwise narrow brown stripes over a soft creamy beige body, it lives up to its common name of the slender tree frog. More properly it is Litoria adelaidensis.

I'm afraid I can't show you a photo because by the time I came back it had gone. Maybe it realised if it stayed much longer it would shrivel up into a dehydrated remnant of skin and bone. After all it is 38℃ out there at the moment. This tiny frog is the first of its kind I've actually seen in the garden although I often hear them. This was a baby - they usually grow to 6 cms.

There are in fact quite a few of these frogs living in the garden along with several other kinds. We have western green and golden bell or motorbike frogs - if you've ever heard them you'll know why (officially they are Litoria moorei), moaning frogs (Heleioporus eyrei) and something that sounds suspiciously like a water holding frog (Cyclorama platycephala) but can't be because it's not found in this area. They don't all live by the pond. The moaning frogs burrow and particularly like the vegie patch. Makes digging there somewhat nerve wracking but so far - fingers crossed - I haven't hit one. There are several motorbike frogs resident in the water bowls of self watering pots and others who just make homes for themselves among the plants themselves where the moist potting mix is enough to stop them drying out.

On summer evenings when the cicadas join in the cacophony of frog calls the noise in the garden is deafening. On the other hand, in winter when the cicadas are tucked away, the the slender tree frogs and motorbike frogs are quiet except when the motorbike frogs emerge from their hiding places when it rains. Their screams if the dog startles them have to be heard to be believed. Dog makes occasional rushes at them while the frog shrieks its way to safety. I'm not sure who is the most upset of the two. Winter is when we hear the moaning frogs plaintive call from their burrows too.

Given the rapid decline in frog numbers worldwide due to a fungal disease which literally smothers them by growing on their skin I'm delighted to have a pond full of tadpoles and such a healthy population of frogs living here.

If you'd like to find out more about these frogs you can see some photos and hear their calls here.

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