Trees

Build a pond or a bog for Southern Brown Tree Frog

The Frog of the Month for August is the Southern Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingi) as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign.

The Frog of the Month for August is the Southern Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingi) as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s 2022 Year of the Frog community awareness campaign.

The Southern Brown Tree Frog is found in the Goulburn Broken Catchment’s grey box grassy woodlands which are a focus of the GB CMA Linking Landscapes and Communities Project that works with landowners, communities, and Traditional Owners to improve this critical habitat. This project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through funding from the Australian Government.

Goulburn Broken CMA Project Officer Janice Mentiplay-Smith said the Southern Brown Tree Frog was one of Victoria’s more common frog species.

“With ‘sticky fingers’ on their hands for climbing and webbed toes on their feet for swimming, the Southern Brown Tree Frog occupies a variety of habitats such as wetlands, grasslands, forest, farmland, suburban parks and gardens,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“They are acrobatic hunters, leaping and twisting in mid-air to catch and eat flies, mosquitos, and moths.

“This frog breeds all year round so can take advantage of wet weather that is conducive to finding a mate and breeding. The female lays around 600 eggs in small clumps anchored to vegetation around the edges of a dam, pond or boggy area. The tadpoles hatch in just a few days but take up to six or seven months to become frogs.” 

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said although the Southern Brown Tree Frog was currently ‘common’ and widespread, as with many species of frog, it was at serious threat due to loss of habitat, pollution, general habitat degradation and the devastating chytrid fungus which has already rendered at least four species of Australian frogs extinct. 

“As the Southern Brown Tree Frog is adapted to urban situations, creating a frog-friendly backyard is an easy way to help this species, as well as other frogs,” she said.

“Even simple actions such as not using insecticides or pesticides will help as, after all, the Southern Brown Tree Frog relies on insects to eat. No insects mean no frogs. 

“As all frogs ‘breathe’ through their skin as well as through their nose, any pollutants are deadly to these sensitive creatures.”

Installing a small pond or ‘frog bog’ in your garden is also a great addition. As the Southern Brown Tree Frog needs vegetation on which to anchor eggs, plant some rushes or submerge pots with water plants in them around the edge; this can make a huge difference as to the number of frogs and insects that will use your pond.            

“Just remember, don’t move frogs into your pond for an ‘instant frog pond,’” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“It’s illegal to move frogs and tadpoles. Not only does it raise animal welfare issues, moving frogs and tadpoles can introduce disease and interfere with local genetics.

“Frog ponds and frog bogs tend to have a ‘build it and they will come’ effect. Frogs regularly travel large distances, one kilometre or further in one night, so there is a strong chance they will find your frog habitat on their own.

“Do not introduce any fish into your pond; non-native fish such as goldfish and koi love to eat frog eggs and tadpoles. Leave lots of fallen timber and branches around your garden, as well as rocks. Frogs need these cool, damp places to hide beneath and feast upon the insects that gather there.”

For more information on frog pond and frog bog construction, visit:

Build a Frog Pond (backyardbuddies.org.au)

How to create a frog bog habitat - YouTube

The Garden Gurus - Build a frogpond for under $100 - YouTube

Visit www.frogsvic.org/newsletter to read and subscribe to the Frogs Victoria official newsletter.

Southern Brown Tree Frog. Photo Peter Robertson.