A humorous dialogue to challenge your friends
And now a challenge - I would like you to consider frogging.
Yes, Frogging. Frogging is a wonderful word that does not mean to behave like a frog, leaping and splashing about. No, it means to search for frogs, to look at frogs, to learn about frogs and ultimately to help gain information that will help preserve the little suckers.
You want me to look for frogs? Frogs - those slimy, disgusting creatures?
I'm afraid that you have the wrong attitude and, by the way, a terrible definition.
Frogs are beautiful, colourful, charming, noisy, melodic, rhythmic, acrobatic destroyers of insect pests. They exist in a myriad of patterns and colours and their croakings, bleatings, buzzings and wailings help herald Spring and Summer and, if we're lucky, rain and if they're lucky, a mate. They are beautiful. They are amphibians - beautifully adapted to life in and out of water. And some of them have the most fascinating life stories.
You said beautiful twice.
That is because I meant it.
So Frogging is an activity where we go looking for frogs?
Yes that's right.
But surely frogs are invisible.
No, they can be hard to find in the day time but as the sun goes down and darkness descends it the frogs come out! And then they call. And each specie calls differently. Sitting under the stars and listening to a cacophony of frog calls is a wonderful thing; a simple, affordable celebration of life and nature. And soon, when you learn the calls of the dozen or so common species found here on our Sunshine Coast each 'crick' or 'tok' or 'waaaa' you hear conjures up its name and magically its image. Imagining a frog's appearance is one thing though - you deserve to see it. So a hand free torch strapped onto your head follows the 'waaaa' to find a Graceful Treefrog - a small four centimetre creature, rich green on its back and bright yellow on its belly and regularly bulging throat. Look closer and note its bright orange eyes and its purple or maroon thighs. You don't need to touch it - just look. Take it in. Now take a step back and admire the scene - the water, the damp rich vegetation and the frogs calling vociferously. This beats the hell out of watching the smug imbeciles on Big Brother. Now, let us find another...
Okay but where will we look?
We can start in your backyard or at a local park or wander alongside a dam or a creek. There are many, many local places where we can start to build our collection of sightings. All you need is a love of nature, an appreciation of the outdoors, curiosity and a willingness to learn. An added bonus is that any information that you can gain about the distribution and abundance [or lack of abundance] of frogs is useful to frog conservation.
Okay. Where do I find out more? I'll give it a go.
You're at the right place, silly - www.froggingaround.com, for tonnes of info you want to know.
Additionally, you may like to join the Queensland Frog Society - it is as cheap as chips - and there you will get access to good information and, just as importantly, get to meet many people who want to contribute to the conservation of Australian animals and their habitats like you do.
Check out - www.qldfrogs.asn.au
Written by Ken Cross and adapted by permission for froggingaround.com.
The optimal conditions to venture outdoors looking for frogs are either during or up to several nights of decent rainfall. Some species do not mind calling during the
rain whilst others will wait until conditions are quieter and more conducive to calling activity. Some species require >70mm in a 24 hour peiod before they will appear and/or call.
Warm, humid conditions are optimal to go out looking, as frogs are cold-blooded and so are most active during the warmer months, generally from November to March. However, many species will wait closer to the end of breeding season to appear if rainfall events have been extremely limited leading up to such a time.
Frogs can be found in many places, depending on the species. Downpipes, pot-plants, toilets, rain gauges, block work, bathrooms - virtually any small crevis can be a hiding spot for the more common species. For the lesser seen species, dry forest, wallum country and rainforst streams are home to many, of which are often threatened by the encroachment of the very urban environment the more common frogs call home.
Of a final note, it is important to remember that in Queensland you are not allowed to move frogs, eggs or tadpoles around. They will be much better off left in their natural surroundings. It is also recommended not to touch frogs as our skin may contain oils etc. that are potentially threatening to frogs' sensitive skin.
Below is a list of equipment that you may or may not need during your frogging (although items with an * are essential and/or highly recommended).
- Appropriate footwear* (comfortable boots are very good)
- Bright torch or headlamp* (headlamps can be purchased on eBay for as little as $8 (inc. postage - and are very good)
- Long pants*
- Friends* (very handy if you run/fall into trouble and make good company)
- First-aid* (incase of a fall etc.)
- Mobile phone*
- Plastic bucket/container and disinfectant (to scrub footwear if entering waterways, to prevent spread of lethal Chytrid fungus)*
- Waterproof jacket (*if expecting wet weather)
- Waders or other suitable clothing (*if expecting to be entering a body of water)
- Pencil and paper
- Any recording device such as smart phones, MP3 devices etc. (to record or play-back frog calls)
- Water testing kit
- Frog species identification book
- Earmuffs (protects your ears and may prevent mild headaches around calling frogs like the Eastern Sedgefrog (Litoria fallax)!)