Getting quieter at night

Now summer is over, the frogs have calmed down. They were really loud this year – so loud that my ears were buzzing some nights as I lay in bed (I have a small pond outside my bedroom window). The cicadas were causing that effect during the day, so it’s a wonder I have any hearing left.

But frogs are still around, if silently. A couple of bleating tree frogs (Litoria dentata) insist on sheltering within my rain gauge. Occasionally they get in the actual water, which makes for somewhat inaccurate readings. But most of the time they are in the outer part of the cylinder. I tipped this one out to get a good look at it – it’s only about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long.

Bleating tree frog

Bleating tree frogs have a prolonged call that sounds a bit like a bleat, but nowhere near the ‘baaa’ of the bleating frog I heard in an urban wetland in Decatur, Georgia (USA). That really did sound like a sheep! It was probably the US eastern narrowmouth frog (Gastrophryne carolinensis).

The green tree frogs (Littoria caerulea) that live somewhere in the bathroom and crawl out at dusk have also disappeared. In summer, up to five of them creep slowly across the room towards the glass louvres and outside to hunt. They all freeze when I put the bathroom light on. It’d be a bit horror movie if I didn’t like them so much. Each of them is bigger than my fist. They’ll be back next summer.

Green tree frog crawling out the bathroom window to hunt at night

Luckily there’s a fairly easy way of identifying frogs in summer – by their calls. Each species has a unique call (the males do the croaking), and David Stewart has done the hard yards of recording the calls and producing a CD. That way you don’t have to crawl around in the pitchy black trying to find them under reeds and stones.

Thanks to David, I’ve identified the brown-striped frog (Limnodynastes peronii) …

Brown-striped frog, photo by Jean-Marc Hero, Wikimedia Commons

Cogger’s Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia describes the male’s call as ‘a single loud “plonk” or “toc”, like a hammer striking and anvil, repeated at intervals of a few seconds’, and I’d agree with ‘toc’. (In bird ID books, I often can’t grasp the description of the bird call and when I heard the actual bird, it’s nothing like the description.) It is ‘a highly successful urban species [in addition to being associated with slow-moving streams, marshes, dams and ponds] which thrives even in small, decorative garden ponds – exactly what I have outside my bedroom, as well as having a slow-moving stream and small dam on the property.

I have also heard the great barred frog (Mixophyes fascilatus) – call a ‘deep, harsh “wark”‘ – living in rainforests, antarctic beech or wet sclerophyll forests (the property has rainforest gullies) …

Great barred frog

Great barred frog, photo by LiquidGhoul, Wikimedia Commons

and the rocket frog (Littoria nasuta) – a very fast, ‘wik, wik, wik’ call -…

Rocket frog, photo by Poleta33, Wikimedia Commons

I didn’t have to crawl around in mosquito-infested swamps to find this one, but it’s not an Australian frog …

Froggus metallicus, South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, Georgia, USA

or these …

Froggie band, South Carolina Aquarium

I’d love to have these in my garden – the kookaburras and butcherbirds could perch on them. And they wouldn’t be noisy at night.

This entry was posted in Animals on land, Art, Frogs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Getting quieter at night

  1. Cath Clark says:

    Oooh, thanks for posting up froggies! I have the Arrow & Brown-striped in my garden pond. The green tree frog seems to prefer fresh, clean water in the big bucket I put out for my cats in the atrium. “Tidlik”

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