Frogs

Seven species of native frogs have been recorded in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region. While their specific habitat requirements vary, most require quality native riparian vegetation and all need good quality water that persists for at least three months of the year.

FrogWatch SA

Join FrogWatch SA and help us build a picture of our frog species and what may be needed to help them. Your information will help scientists to better understand which species are common and which are rarely found, and where work needs to be done to improve conditions for frogs, such as water quality and habitat.

Commonly sighted frogs

  • The Common Froglet (Crinia signifera) is found beneath rocks, vegetation and debris at the edge of creeks, ponds, wetlands and areas of seepage. It breeds throughout the year, except in mid summer. Eggs are laid in shallow water in bunches of 100-150 eggs. See the distribution of the Common Froglet and listen to its call.
  • The Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingii) can be found on the ground, in vegetation, under rocks near permanent streams or pools. It occupies a wide variety of habitats in South Australia, as can be seen on the distribution map. Listen to the call of the Brown Tree Frog.
  • The Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii) burrows into loamy soils and emerges to feed and breed after rains. It breeds in spring by laying a large foam nest containing up to 4000 eggs in water, often attached to vegetation. It is commonly seen crossing roads on rainy nights in the Adelaide Hills. View the distribution map and listen to its call.
  • Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) is a widespread species found in marshy country, creek edges and wetlands. Males call from the edge of shallow water and are often concealed by vegetation. Breeding can occur at any time of the year, particularly between August and March. A foam nest of 90-1300 eggs is laid floating in water attached to submerged vegetation. See its distribution and hear its call.
  • The Burrowing Frog (Neobatrachus pictus) is found mostly in open grassland and woodlands. It breeds by laying about 1000 yellow eggs in a chain entwined with submerged vegetation. See its distribution and listen to its call.

Threatened frogs

The Brown Toadlet (Pseudophryne bibronii) is rare in South Australia and considered vulnerable in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region. Within its distribution area, it is found in damp areas with some cover such as logs and stones. It breeds by depositing eggs in damp leaf litter under logs and stones, with hatching occurring after sufficient rains flood the area. Hear its call which it begins in February and continues until August. 

The Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) is vulnerable nationally and in South Australia. It is a large ground-dwelling frog that varies in colour from dull olive-brown to bright emerald green. Within its distribution area it is found in a wide variety of wetland habitats. Listen to its call.

You can view a list of frogs found in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region.

Threats

Some of the major threats to frog conservation within the Mount Lofty Ranges are:

  • Chytrid fungus - the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is responsible for a recently discovered disease of amphibians, chytridiomycosis. Discovered in 1998 in Australia and Panama this disease is known to kill amphibians in large numbers, and has been suggested as a principal cause for the worldwide amphibian decline.
  • Climate change, drought and severe weather - including the threat of long-term climatic change which may be linked to global warming and other sever climatic/weather events e.g. droughts, temperature extremes and storms and flooding.
  • Pollution and poisoning - pollution of waterways has been identified as a threat to frogs. The general use of farming chemicals is considered to threaten some frog species.
  • Incompatible site management.
  • Water management and use - the regulation of rivers and diversion of water for urban supplies, industry and agricultural production have significantly altered flow regimes. Species requiring wet or moist conditions, and with narrow habitat requirements will be most impacted by water management and use. Impacts will likely be more pronounced during dry seasons and extended drought periods where human use tends to exacerbated already low levels.

Attracting frogs to your garden

Making a pond

When selecting a pond site, you may want to place it away from your (and your neighbour’s) house, as the croaking can sometimes get very loud! The shape and construction of the pond is more important than the size. At least one side needs to a gradual slope that allows frogs to get out of the water. In cool weather, tadpoles will seek warmer, shallow water, whereas in warmer months, they’ll move to cooler, deep water.

Pre-made ponds can be purchased from garden centres or hardware stores – be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can make your own by digging a hole, being sure to remove all stones and sharp objects, then coating the hole with a layer of sand and lining it with a poly butyl pond liner. When adding water, if using tap water, wait a few days before you add anything living to it. Tap water contains chlorine, which can be harmful. If your pond becomes full of algae, talk to a reputable pond supply stockist who may recommend a pond filter to help control the problem.

Shelter and hiding places

Frogs and tadpoles like plenty of hiding places and lots of shade. Logs and boulders can be placed in and around the pond – and look good too! Just don’t take them from places where other creatures are already using them as homes. Plants are a great form of natural shelter. Put in a mixture of species and plants that are best suited to the light, location and, for in-pond plants, depth of your pond, for them to have the best opportunity to thrive. Plants in pond water can be levelled or slightly elevated by placing small pebbles under the pot.

Frog friendly gardens

Frogs and swimming pools don’t mix. Frogs like the high humidity of pools and surrounding gardens but, if they fall into the pool, will likely drown. To help prevent accidental drowning, place a sloping float at the edge of the pool that the frogs can use to climb out. Provide a food source for the frogs by encouraging more insects to your garden – mulch your garden beds, keep a compost heap and grow native plants. Try to a layered garden that includes ground cover and understorey plants.

The waiting game…

Once you’ve created a frog area in your garden, be patient. Don’t be tempted with buying frogs or tadpoles that aren’t native to your area, as they can cause big environmental problems. If frogs are slow to arrive, wait for a hot, humid night and play a recording of frog calls. Once one arrives, others will quickly follow!


Related links

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges