Backyard Buddies
Frogs

Photo: Emily Sephton

Frogs

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Frogs are amphibians. They live part of their life cycle underwater, breathing through gills, and part of their life cycle on land, breathing with lungs. ‘Amphibian’ comes from two Greek words – amphi meaning ‘both’ or 'two' and bios meaning ‘life’.

Frogs start their lives as eggs laid in water. After a week or so they hatch, as tadpoles, and swim around eating tiny animals, algae and other plant life in the water. Gradually they lose their tails and grow little legs and arms until finally they turn into fully formed frogs. Mature frogs live mostly on land, but love to visit wet, shady areas and shallow water.

Frogs need your help to survive!

By maintaining frog habitats in your backyard, you’ll be rewarded with a frog symphony in the spring, summer and autumn months.

Frogs rely on camouflage for protection and some can even change colour to blend into the background. While this sometimes works to avoid natural predators, our pets, particularly cats, are not fooled so easily. So it’s a good idea to keep cats inside when you know there are frogs around.

Tadpoles eat some plant life and other small creatures in the water and can only live in unpolluted water. This means that we need to be extra careful about what kind of chemicals we wash into our waterways (particularly cleaning products, oils and pesticides). A tadpole’s survival ultimately means a frog’s survival! Frogs are an indicator of a healthy environment.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The frog is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what frogs do and do not like.

Frogs love:

Water – they spend the early part of their life cycle (eggs and tadpoles) in water. As fully grown frogs some like to sit in or near water.

Shelter – the skin of frogs is not waterproof, drinking water and oxygen are absorbed through their skin. Therefore a cool moist environment is essential for many frogs so water does not evaporate from their skin in hot, dry weather.

A place to hide – rocks, leaf litter, mulch, twigs, shrubs, trees, hollow branches and bark provide safety from predators.

Eating garden pests – mosquitoes, moths, caterpillars, cockroaches and flies are on the menu.

But they don’t like:

Cats and dogs – they may prey on frogs when the opportunity arises.

Garden chemicals – chemicals can contaminate frog ponds and destroy the homes of frogs and tadpoles.

Exotic fish – goldfish, gambusia and other exotic fish are known to eat frog’s eggs and attack tadpoles.

Being handled and moved around – frogs are at risk from diseases caused by the frog chytrid fungus and other infections. A frog is more likely to become infected when under stress. The disease may also be spread when frogs or tadpoles are moved by people from place to place.

Be a buddy to frogs

Try to:

Avoid:

Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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