Southern Brown Tree Frog
The Southern Brown Tree Frog is calling 'Creeeeee creee creee creee'
If you live in southern Australia, listen out for a croaky visitor in your garden or local park this month. Southern Brown Tree Frogs are common guests to suburban gardens, particularly in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Look and listen out for these frogs calling from under logs, in low growing plants, amongst leaf litter, and near waterways.
Click here to listen to the call of the Southern Brown Tree Frog. Scroll down to 'Calling' and click 'Hear it now' to play the call.
As this is a tree frog, it is a great climber and jumper. Look out for the Southern Brown Tree Frog away from water as well, as it can live in drier areas too. Only growing up to 4.5 cm in length, this is a tiny little frog.
Southern Brown Tree Frogs are fantastic Backyard Buddies as they will keep your insect numbers down. These frogs are bug-eating ninjas that can leap and catch insects in mid-flight! They absolutely love to feed on mosquitoes, flies, and moths.
If you do happen to spot one of these remarkable little frogs, you may be surprised to see that not all of them are brown. Despite being called Southern Brown Tree Frogs, they can come in a variety of different colours, including orange, pale fawn or cream and sometimes even green. The green Southern Brown Tree Frogs are usually found in Western Victoria and South Australia.
Southern Brown Tree Frogs have a wide brown band that starts from between their eyes and runs down their back. They have a white or pale yellow belly and mating male Southern Brown Tree Frogs often have a light brown vocal sac.
This month, Southern Brown Tree Frogs are getting ready to mate. The peak period for mating is late winter to early spring, though Southern Brown Tree Frogs can mate at any time of year when there is enough food and water round. When they're ready to mate these frogs congregate at ponds, creeks, waterholes, farm dams and waterways.
Males call out 'Creeeeeeee creee creee creee creee' most of the year round. The first 'cree' is the longest and 4 to 14 quick 'crees' follow it. A great time to listen out for these frogs is after heavy rains. When a female hears a call that she likes, she heads on over to enter the still, shallow water with her mate. She lays up to 600 or 700 eggs in jelly clumps of about 10-15 eggs, and attaches these to underwater grasses, sticks and plants growing near the water's surface so they don't flow away.
Four to six days later, the eggs hatch into little tadpoles. These can grow to 2 to 4.5 cm in length. These tadpoles are a pale golden-yellow to dark grey-colour with clear looking fins. They are fast swimmers and will dash away speedily when disturbed.
You might see some eggs or tadpoles in the still water of a pond, dam, lake, streamside pool or even in a flooded roadside ditch.
The Southern Brown Tree Frog is a target species for the Climate Watch program, so if you see one in your garden you can report it and help scientists understand more about this species. Find out more here.
TIPAvoid taking tadpoles you find outdoors or handling wild frogs. By doing so you could be spreading Amphibian Chytrid Fungus between different frogs. This disease makes frogs sick and leads to declines in frog populations. To be a buddy to frogs, why not create a frog pond in your backyard and let frogs come and find it for themselves? Find out more about establishing your own frog pond here.
DID YOU KNOW?You may even see this frog attached to your window pane at night, hunting for flying insects that are drawn to your lights.
Written in conjunction with Katy Harrison.