Gold Coast Frogs & Toads
Let me introduce you to “Houdini” – so named as he/she is a talented escape artist.
About 6 months ago, I got a bit of a fright whilst checking the letter box.
I’m always a bit cautious and take a good look before reaching for the mail.
Spiders, cockroaches and slugs are just a few of the regular inhabitants of our mail box. Can you imagine my surprise when this huge green tree frog stared back at me when I lifted the flap on the letter box.
I slowly put my hand into the box to retrieve the mail, fully expecting the frog to leap about in alarm. Amazingly the frog did not move a muscle.
For the next couple of weeks the frog stayed in the letter box , feeding on the usual unwelcome inhabitants. Then one morning the frog was gone.
A week later the same frog was back in our mail box. Any observers walking by must have thought I was crazy as I chatted to the frog whenever I picked up the mail.
Eventually, I had to remove him from the mail box as he was getting paper cuts from the mail. I donned a pair of gloves, and expected to have a job catching him. To my surprise the frog didn’t move when I attempted to pick him up. Instead he crawled into my hand. As I withdrew my hand, instead of leaping into the bush, the frog nestled deeper into my hand and refused to move.
I thought that this frog must have either been someones released pet, or perhaps he was ill, or maybe he didn’t like the way the Kookaburra on the next tree was eying him off. At any rate I did not think he was in a fit state to make his own way in the wild.
As a child I had a couple of pet frogs, since then, large dogs and horses have been more my style. At any rate I was lumbered with the responsibility of looking after this frog and what a delight it has turned out to be. My partner and I prepared him a very large [he is a very large frog] glass tank, planted out with broad leafed plants and strong vines to climb on. Houdini loves to bathe in his pond, which we refresh with rainwater daily. He/she has an enormous appetite for all the creepy crawlies and we are kept busy catching grass hoppers, moths, lacewings and cockroaches from our garden.
In the picture to the right a grasshopper is hitching a ride on Houdini’s back.
“I’ll give you a lift to the picnic.”
“It’s not cricket, could be lunch. You go your way and I’ll go mine.”
Thanks to Ian Walker for the great photos.
I suspect that Houdini is a female but I am not sure. He/she does not croak and I have only heard a very loud, sharp sounding, “Yark”! emit from this “Green Tree Frog” [also known as “White’s Tree Frog“] frog twice in the last 4 months.
I think the “Yark”! is a sound of alarm. Houdini usually comes to sit on my hand, then nestles in or proceeds to crawl up my arm. This happens daily when I clean Houdini’s tank. One night I was using a sponge on the inside of the tank and it lightly touched Houdini’s flank. The response was an alarming, “YARK!!” It didn’t half make me jump!
I always use thin rubber gloves, whetted down with rainwater, when handling Houdini. This is because the acid in my skin could irritate the frog. The same goes for cleaning the tank – I never use any cleaning agent – only rainwater.
DWARF TREE FROG-BABY
This is a baby “Dwarf Tree Frog” sitting on a blade of grass,
also known as a sedge frog. The baby “Green Tree Frog”
looks very similar to the dwarf tree frog for the first few weeks.
The Adult Dwarf Tree Frog Pictured on the right is around twice the size of the baby.
The marsh frog is another visitor in our garden on the Gold Coast.
This frog makes a “PUK PUK” sound after the rain.
PERONS LAUGHING FROG
This is a rarer one of the tree frogs, also found in our garden. This frog has a distinguishing cross in the eye, small emerald green markings on the back and makes a laughing sound.
Cane Toads are an imported pest in Australia and a huge threat to the frog population.
Imported as a solution to controling the sugar cane beetle the Cane Toad has spread from far North Queensland into the Southern States.
They are very toxic and will cause the death of pet dogs or cats if not treated imediately. They also eat other frogs. having no natural enemys they proliferate in huge numbers, and are a real threat to the natural frog population.
This pair was photographed at night whilst spawning in our outdoor spa.
BABY CANE TOAD
We found several hundred of these baby cane toads on our back lawn after heavy rain in February.
It appears that the predatory birds who feast on the frogs, ignore these cane toad babies.
I watched as all the babies migrated East – that direction took them off our property – across the road and into a neighboring bush block.
I was relieved as had they remained they would have been a threat to the frog population in our garden. As I can’t bring myself to kill anything – even cane toads – I would have had to try and catch them all and move them to the bush. Their self imposed migration saved me a lot of work.