Spotted Grass Frog
What's that Hopping through the Grass?
You hear a strange sound in the garden and wander out to have a look. You spot a tiny golden iris and a round, black pupil staring back at you. This is the distinctive eye of the Spotted Grass Frog, also known as a Spotted Marsh Frog.
This lovely frog lives in a wide range of areas, including Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, parts of South Australia and a tiny spot at the top of Western Australia. It can live along the wet coast or even in the dry interior of Australia – it’s a great survivor.
Spotted Grass Frogs are extremely quick to move into new pods and wetlands in recently disturbed areas – so look out for them if you have had heavy rains or floods nearby. This little frog may be popping up all over the place.
In the south, listen out for a single, sharp ‘Click’ or ‘Plock’ call they make on moist nights. In the north, listen after rains for a repeated ‘uk-uk-uk-uk-uk-uk’. You can hear both calls by scrolling down to ‘Calling’ on this website.
You’ll hear male frogs calling out to females after dusk near dams or roadside ditches. They also love marshy areas, flooded grasslands, streams and ponds with grassy areas. Look closely, as these frogs only grow up to 4.5 cm in size.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because this frog is small, it’s a pushover. Spotted Grass Frogs eat small snakes.
Spotted Grass Frogs are ground dwelling, and most active during the night. During the day they prefer to remain hidden beneath logs, rocks or debris near the edge of temporary or permanent ponds, swamps and creeks.
They mainly breed from August to March, and females lay up to 1,500 eggs that are a tiny 1 mm in diameter each. These float on a foam on top of the water. Mum Spotted Grass Frog makes this foam by forcing bubbles into the jelly-like substance surrounding the eggs with her paddle-like hands as she lays them.
The tadpoles vary from light to dark golden brown to a translucent gold. They turn into young frogs at three to five months.
DID YOU KNOW?The Latin name for the Spotted Grass Frog is Limnodynastes tasmaniensis. Tasmaniensis means “from Tasmania”.
Weird fact: females in the south-east of South Australia seem unable to synchronise their hand movements well enough to force many bubbles into an egg mass. So instead, they lay their eggs in a small, foam-free clump.
TIPFrogs are an indicator of a healthy environment. If you want to encourage them into your yard, provide native plants, ground cover, rocks, logs, leaf litter and lots of moisture. Build a pond or put out containers and let them fill with rainwater. Frogs will love you for it.