Build it and they will come

The southern brown tree frog is the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s frog of the month. Photo: Peter Robertson.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority is encouraging people to build backyard ponds and bogs for the southern brown tree frog as part of its Year of the Frog campaign.

Goulburn Broken CMA project officer Janice Mentiplay-Smith said the southern brown tree frog was one of Victoria’s more common frog species.

“With ‘sticky fingers’ on their hands for climbing and webbed toes on their feet for swimming, the southern brown tree frog occupies a variety of habitats such as wetlands, grasslands, forest, farmland, suburban parks and gardens,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“They are acrobatic hunters, leaping and twisting in mid-air to catch and eat flies, mosquitos and moths.

“This frog breeds all-year-round so it can take advantage of wet weather that is conducive to finding a mate and breeding.”

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said although the southern brown tree frog was currently ‘common’ and widespread, as with many species of frog, it was at serious threat due to loss of habitat, pollution, general habitat degradation and the devastating chytrid fungus which had already rendered at least four species of Australian frogs extinct.

“As the southern brown tree frog is adapted to urban situations, creating a frog-friendly backyard is an easy way to help this species, as well as other frogs,” she said.

“Even simple actions such as not using insecticides or pesticides will help as, after all, the southern brown tree frog relies on insects to eat. No insects mean no frogs.

“As all frogs ‘breathe’ through their skin as well as through their nose, any pollutants are deadly to these sensitive creatures.”

She said installing a small pond or ‘frog bog’ in your garden was also a great addition.

“Just remember, don’t move frogs into your pond for an instant frog pond,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“It’s illegal to move frogs and tadpoles. Not only does it raise animal welfare issues, moving frogs and tadpoles can introduce disease and interfere with local genetics.

“Frog ponds and frog bogs tend to have a ‘build it and they will come’ effect.

“Frogs regularly travel large distances, one kilometre or further in one night, so there is a strong chance they will find your frog habitat on their own.

“Do not introduce any fish into your pond; non-native fish such as goldfish and koi love to eat frog eggs and tadpoles.

“Leave lots of fallen timber and branches around your garden, as well as rocks. Frogs need these cool, damp places to hide beneath and feast upon the insects that gather there.”

For more information on frog pond and frog bog construction, visit: