Western Banjo Frog
When is a Frog's Favourite Time? When it's a Leap Year!
When winter chills are gripping the land, Western Banjo Frogs or Pobblebonks are getting set to ‘bonk’ all the way through the night in south-western Australia.
If you’re in Perth, listen for their banjo-like calls coming from the backyard, especially if you’ve got a pond or are close to a wetland or waterway.
Around your area, you may hear a single explosive ‘bonk’ ring out from a hidden spot in the dense undergrowth at edge of a stream, lake or other body of water - almost any water will do. These calls can carry quite a distance, and they need to. Mr Pobblebonk calls to entice a female to his watery paradise.
Calling begins as early as May for northern Pobblebonks, and from June-August in and around Perth. The Pobblebonk makes a fantastic, funny call.
During the warmer months, Pobblebonks burrow underground to keep cool and moist. During winter they hide in densely growing shrubs at the water’s edge to keep safe from predators. You’re more likely to hear their call than you are to catch a glimpse of these remarkable little frogs.
If you are lucky enough to spot a Pobblebonk as it moves in the undergrowth, you will be able to recognise it from a number of distinct markings. They can be pale brown to dark chocolate with areas of deep green or olive. They also have big glands that look like lumps on their back legs.
When a female likes the sound of a male’s ‘bonk’ she hops with him to the water’s edge, to a spot hidden by overhanging leaves and plants. She beats the surface of the still or slowly flowing water as she lays her eggs into a floating, foamy raft-like structure, and the male fertilises them.
When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall through the foam and into the water below. They can be up to 6.5 cm long. Pobblebonk tadpoles develop very slowly, and turn into little froglets from early summer through to April.
Avoid touching frogs you see around your area or moving them to different ponds, as this could spread diseases between different groups of frogs. Keep your pets indoors so that frogs are safe to keep your insect numbers down and be good backyard buddies.
To encourage frogs or other animals in your backyard, put out a container in the garden and let it fill with rainwater. Almost anything will do - even an old bathing pool that the children no longer use.
DID YOU KNOW?Western Banjo Frogs or Pobblebonks live in the southwest and adjacent arid zone in Western Australia, from lower Murchison River south and east to Wattle Camp, inland to Galena, Moorine Rock, Lake Cronin, Peak Charles and Coragina Rock. They can live in forests, swamps, grasslands and the wheatbelt.
TIPHaving frogs in and around your backyard is a sign that the local environment is healthy. Avoid using pesticides or chemicals in your backyard as rain will send the run-off into waterways. Frogs absorb moisture through their skin and can get sick if they absorb chemicals along with moisture.