Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Frog education on campus

Edith Cowan University (ECU) is providing some exciting "green" initiatives and offering a range of interesting sessions for staff and students. The ECU Green Officer Program recently organised for Johnny Prefumo, the Frog Doctor, to run a lunchtime session about setting up a frog friendly garden.

We used to live near a lake in Perth and would hear the wonderful nightly chorus of frogs during the winter months once the rainy season started. So I was keen to find out more about WA frogs and how difficult it would be to set up a frog friendly habitat in a suburban garden.

What did I learn?

  • Most of the local WA frogs are brown, not green.
  • Most of them have claws as they burrow down to shelter during summer and to breed.
  • There are tree frogs and burrowing frogs, most local ones are the latter.
  • Frogs can't swim, only the tadpoles swim.
  • You need to set up areas for the frogs to hide as well as water zones.
  • They call loudly in winter, once the rain starts and breeding begins.
  • Frog numbers are declining.
  • Local frogs are named after the sounds of their call, for example: "motorbike frog", "quacking frog", "moaning frog".

The WA Museum is running a tadpole exchange program for those who have the right habitat and are wanting to get started with preparing a frog friendly garden. But read up first as it is not just a matter of putting in a pond. The Museum have a frog garden publication which will tell you what you need to do.

And oh, by the way, I won't be setting up a frog spot at home, as the little blighters are really noisy in winter and the neighbours might object. But if you live in a rural or semi-rural area it would be ideal and would help the survival of native frogs.

Pictured is the local Perth frog species, the moaning frog. Note that it has claws, not sucker pads, so it's a burrowing frog not a tree frog.

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