Desert Tree Frog
A Naked Frog in the Desert?
If you could see the internal organs of a frog through its skin, you'd think it was sick, wouldn't you? But the Desert Tree Frog is in perfect health! 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.
To find these frogs, go out after dark with a torch to an area where water is present. Look in the trees and shrubs close to the water. These frogs have sticky pads on their fingers to help them climb the trees along creek beds and ponds.
Look out for a fawn, grey or brown coloured frog 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.
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 whatever tree openings they can squeeze themselves into. At night they squeeze out again to look for food.
A Desert Tree Frog’s skin isn’t completely waterproof, so it needs to stay close to a permanent water source. It conserves water by resting with its head lowered and legs held tight into its 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 amazingly survive several years between rains. They squeeze into an opening in a tree and sleep there out of the heat until there is water in the creek again.
Once it rains, males call from the ground, or in 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.
TIPYou can build a frog pond in your garden to take care of our native frogs.