Australia is home to a very unique assemblage of flora and fauna due to millions of years of independent evolution. Animals such as echidnas and the playtpus are at the forefront of Australia’s unique and iconic endemic animals. However, a lot of the time Australian frogs aren’t consider even though this diversity trend is especially evident Australia’s frogs. Australia is home to very unique and special species of frogs, from the Giant Burrowing Frog (Heleioporus australiacus) which only emerge from being burrowed underground after heavy rain, to the Red Crowned Toadlet (Pseudophryne australis) which, unlike most frogs, builds a terrestrial nest (click here to find out more).
Many frog species not only in Australia, but the entire world are threatened or becoming threatened, with many succumbing to extinction. Frogs are being hit by multiple dire threats, including climate change, habitat degradation, habitat destruction and disease. We need to act now if we are to have them persist into the future. The easiest way you can help frogs survive and give them a chance for the future is to simply build a garden they can live in; build a habitat garden! The question is: What makes the best habitat garden? The common misconception is all you need to attract any frog species to your backyard is a pond and some plants. However this is not the case. Each frog species has particular habitat attributes they require both in the pond and surrounding the pond. For example the Eastern Sedge Frog (Litoria fallax) requires sedges or emergent plants in or around the pond as this is where they spend the majority of their life. This online guide aims to inform, educate and encourage people to create backyard habitats for frogs to help ensure their presence into the future, with a targeted guide for citizens of the Sutherland Shire to utilize.
Importance of Frogs
Before we go into habitat ideas, it is important to consider why would you want attract frogs to your garden in the first place? Here are some main important reasons:
- Pest control: Some larger frog species love eating cockroaches and some smaller frog species also voraciously consume mosquito larvae! Also while it is a myth that tadpoles eat mosquito larvae, it is true that having tadpoles in a pond will reduce the overall recruitment of mosquitoes due to competition. In addition tadpoles inhibit mosquito larvae growth by releasing chemicals in the water.
- Environmental Health: The presence of frogs in a stream is generally associated with the health of a stream as frogs are affected by pollution much more than other organisms as they have semipermeable skin. It is also thought that some species of frogs may have higher resistances to pollution than others and therefore frogs as a group may have potential use as bioindicators.
- Keystone Species: Frogs form an important link in the food chain in both the aquatic and the terrestrial environment. In the water, tadpoles are important for recycling the energy within this environment by eating detritus, and they also are an important food source for dragonfly nymphs, eels, yabbies, ducks, freshwater fish and many other organisms that frequent the aquatic environment. In terrestrial ecosystems, frogs are important for keeping the numbers of invertebrates down by voraciously feeding on them and are also an important food source for snakes, lizards and birds.
- Education: Frogs and tadpoles are a vitally important tool for educating children about the natural world and about life in general. A lot of other animals are more cryptic and less hands on. Frogs however provide an opportunity to witness life development and transform before your very eye. This not only educates children but inspires them about the curiosities of nature (which is definitely what everyone needs!).
- Extra Tranquility: Although there are many people out there who find frog calls annoying and even sometimes infuriating, there are many frogs species which actually make quite soothing and peaceful calls. To some people it doesn’t matter what noise of nature they hear, it’s all beautiful, however most of us have neighbors we may have to accommodate to. In every frog species fact sheet in this guide we will provide a rating and short blurb about whether the particular frog species call is loud, obnoxious or soft, just in case you have neighbor problems.
Backyard for Frogs: Ideas to Consider
The Gardening Guide for Sutherland Shire Frogs
This guide will help you identify and learn how to attract each frog species to your garden by given important information about specific habitat requirements desired by each frog species and also if that particular frog species is found in your area. Also note exact locations are not given on rare or threatened frog species to ensure their safety. Each 2 weeks a feature page of a frog species found within Sutherland Shire will be added, till there are backyard guides specific to every frog species found within this area.