While many people are getting tired of the rain, frogs appear to be making the most of the damp conditions.
A record-breaking wet season in Queensland has provided many frog species with ideal breeding conditions.
“With all the flooding that we’ve had, the numbers are through the roof,” Queensland Frog Society president, Ashley Keune, said.
Keune estimated there were 500 alone in half an acre on his Mary Valley property. “I’ve heard stories like that all through the valley.”
“I took a group of schoolkids for a frog survey in a park near Tewantin at the start of February, and the frog numbers in there were quite insane for a park in an urbanised area.
“I think there were eight different species we recorded that night.”
Keune said he had been inundated with calls from people reporting frog sightings. Most have been green tree frogs, due to their fondness for urban areas and back yards. Several endangered species have also been spotted.
“There’s just been heaps, mate. Even in some of the areas out west, there’s the crucifix frog which has been seen in Charleville for the first time in years.”
Dr Jodi Rowley, who leads the herpetology department at the Australian Museum Research Institute, was not surprised that frogs had “jumped” at the opportunity to breed in the wet weather.
“Many frogs will spend most of their life underground, buried quiet and out of sight, and only come up when it rains, to breed and feed.”
Rowley said even if the frogs weren’t breeding, it was more likely to see frogs hopping around as they don’t need to worry about “shrivelling away in the sun”.
“There should be lots of frogs. That’s sort of the natural state,” she said.
“I speak to a lot of people from the older generation that have told me that they used to see so many more frogs than they see now. So certainly, it is great news when there is an abundance of frogs, because in healthy ecosystems, there should be an abundance of frogs.”
“They support a whole lot of other biodiversity. Mammals, birds, reptiles; they all eat frogs.”
Keune said he often has to persuade people that the frogs in their back yards are friend and not foe. His recommendation is to leave them alone as moving them could cause disease to spread through populations, like the chytrid fungus.
Plus, as other more unsavoury species also breed in the wet weather, such as funnel web spiders, having frogs around is a great natural pest control.
This article by Khaled Al Khawaldeh was first published by The Guardian on 7 April 2022. Lead Image: Ashley Keune, president of the Queensland Frog Society, said frog numbers were ‘insane’ even in urbanised areas. Photograph: Peter Yeeles/Alamy.
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