It’s raining cats… and frogs
Posted on 8 October, 2020 by Ivan
Rain is one of the most talked-about topics in central Victoria, usually due to the fact we don’t get enough of it most seasons, or the seemingly endless droughts over the past decades. However, the tides have recently turned, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) officially declaring a La Nina weather pattern for spring and summer 2020 for eastern and southern Australia. The rainfall in central Victoria so far this spring has been reflective of a La Nina, with tropical airflow from northern Australia bringing large bands of rain to our region. If you haven’t already heard the chorus of frogs calls in every gully, garden, creek and dam, you soon will.
Frogs can be difficult to see, but much easier to hear, especially in the evening, which leaves people to wonder: what frog is that? Connecting Country encourages our community to use the FrogID App for assisting with the identification of tricky frog calls of our region. FrogID is Australia’s first national citizen science frog identification initiative – a project led by the Australian Museum in partnership with Australia’s leading natural history museums and IBM. Anyone can download this free app to their smart phone or device. You can use it to create a profile, record frog calls and match your calls to the frog calls on the app, then upload your records to the Australian Museum frog experts for species verification.
One reasons to use the FrogID app is to ensure that all frog records are verified prior to entering records into the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), the largest database of flora and fauna records in Australia. Records entered directly in the ALA are not verified, and it was recently discovered that there were some incorrect records of frog species entered in the Mount Alexander region. Another reason to use the FrogID app is – it’s fun!
To download the FrogID app – click here
There is so much to learn about frogs and how we can help them continue to play their important roles in our ecosystems. We recently discovered an excellent article about frogs and where to see them by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It includes some great facts from the leading experts in this field. Please enjoy the article reproduced below, which originally appeared on the ABC website. To view the original article – click here
Australian Museum urges frog spotting and citizen science to save species
By Amanda Hoh
Posted 16 August 2020
Frogs are all around us. You might not see them, but you can definitely hear them. There are more than 240 known species of frogs in Australia but populations are declining from disease, habitat change, pollution, climate change, and bushfires.
This can change irreversibly if frogs disappear from the ecosystem, explains Jodi Rowley, curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology with the Australian Museum. ‘Frogs are really important to the food chain,’ Dr Rowley says. ‘They eat a lot of insects and are eaten by a lot of things. “They are definitely to be admired.’
Where are the frogs?
You may not have to venture too far from home to find a frog or two. They like backyards — especially ones with a small pond in them. Dr Rowley says, although she lives in an apartment, she occasionally hears the croaks of a single frog close by. Water bodies are the easiest places to hear frogs and so patches of bushland on council land or in national parks where there is a creek, stream, or pond are the best places to go. After heavy rain, frogs might even like to rest in the grass puddles of a park.
When can you see them?
Frogs tend to be nocturnal so the first few hours after dark is when they are easiest to hear. They also tend to come out after rain.
What are you listening out for?
The calls you hear are male frogs that tend to hang out in those wet areas and call to attract females. Different species have different calls. The common eastern froglett, for example, lives in ditches by the side of the road or flooded parklands and sound like a cricket.
Striped marsh frogs sound a ‘bok bok’ call like a tennis ball being hit, while the Peron’s tree frog sounds like people laughing.
How to see a frog?
Frogs are generally harder to see than to hear. Take a torch but once you choose a spot, turn it off ‘because frogs can be shy’ Dr Rowley says. Wait and listen.
‘Look for their eye shine,’ she said. ‘Without disturbing them, look around with a torch and you might see the eyes staring back at you. But you don’t want to blind them.’ Dr Rowley stresses that you should not touch the frogs as they have sensitive skin. To contribute to Dr Rowley’s FrogID project, open the app and record up to 30 seconds of croaking and submit it.
Bring the frogs to you
To create an ideal breeding oasis for frogs, set up a kids’ pool, big bowls, or bathtubs in the backyard, Dr Rowley says. Ensure safety precautions are taken if you have children. If you don’t want the frogs keeping you up at night though, Dr Rowley suggests building a frog hotel with PVC pipes in the ground to create some frog hiding spots.
Any last tips?
- Be careful and don’t fall in the water!
- Remember to wash your shoes after looking for frogs. There is a disease that affects frogs and you don’t want to carry it from one place to another. The disease does not affect humans.
Thanks to the ABC for this informative and timely article.