Backyard Buddies
Desert Tree Frog

Photo: Peter Hill

Desert Tree Frog

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The Desert Tree Frog is a very unique species - you can see its internal organs through its skin. Their extremely translucent skin lends them their other name - the Naked Tree Frog.

This interesting frog lives in every Australian state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania. It mainly lives west of the Great Dividing Range.

They are fawn, grey or brown with a pinkish hue. They also have black or gold markings along their bodies. Adult Desert Tree Frogs from Cooktown in Queensland have a more metallic bronze or gold sheen to them. You are most likely to see them at night in trees and shrubs close to water. These frogs have sticky pads on their fingers to help them climb the trees along creek beds and ponds.

Unlike most other desert frogs, the Desert Tree Frog doesn't burrow into the ground to avoid the heat. They spend the daytime hiding under rocks, beneath the loose bark of River Red Gums, or in tree openings. At night they emerge to look for food.

Desert Tree Frogs need to stay close to a permanent water source. They conserve water by resting with a lowered head and legs held close to their body.

Groups of this frog often squeeze into rock crevices to prevent dehydration, or huddle in damp soil under rocks or in tree hollows, changing their position regularly within the group so that each frog spends time in the centre of the cluster where it is warm and moist.

Desert Tree Frogs can survive several years between rains. They squeeze into a small opening in a tree near a water course and sleep there out of the heat until there is water in the creek again.

Once it rains, males call from the ground, or from trees and shrubs beside still or slow-moving water.

They'll breed any time of year, so long as there is water. Their loud, screeching calls sound like seagulls, and make for a deafening chorus.

Desert Tree Frogs often live close to our homes, where water is available. They love the moisture in our sinks and drain pipes.

Did you know?

Female Desert Tree Frogs lay clusters of up to 300 eggs. The tadpoles are brown all over and begin to turn into frogs when they are 2 to 4 weeks old. The froglets are able to leave the water before they even lose their tails.

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Peron’s Tree Frog

The Peron’s Tree Frog is a noisy creature. Just when we are getting ready for bed, these buddies are starting their evening call. The Peron’s Tree Frog looks almost identical to the Tyler’s Tree Frog. One of the best ways to tell them apart is by their calls. The Peron’s Tree Frog sounds mor..



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Dr Ricky Spencer – Lead Scientist Murray River Turtle Project, NSW

Photo: OEH