Green bell frog, Green and golden swamp frog, Green frog
Endangered (NSW), Vulnerable (Nationally)
The green and golden bell frog has smooth skin, usually green, with a variable pattern of golden brown blotches. It has a creamy-gold stripe along the side of the body, from the eye to the hind legs. The inside of the thighs are distinctly coloured in turquoise-blue. The tadpoles are dark grey-brown with a pinkish tinge to the underside. Females grow to an adult size of approximately 10cm in length, males are smaller rarely exceeding 8cm
Green and golden bell frogs eat mainly invertebrates such as spiders, crickets and damselflies. However, they are also well known for eating smaller frogs, and even cannibalising smaller members of their own species. Tadpoles feed off mostly plants, algae and bacteria. Young frogs, recently metamorphosed, have been recorded hunting in the shallows for mosquito wrigglers, whereas larger adults hunt for bigger prey.
Generally associated with coastal swamps, wetlands, marshes, dams, ditches, small rivers, woodlands, and forests, but populations have also been found at former industrial sites. It prefers habitats with emergent vegetation such as reeds and bullrushes that are used for basking during the day, as well as places it can hide over winter, such as rocks and even human rubbish.
The green and golden bell frog is native to south-eastern Australia. Before its decline in population, its distribution ranged from Brunswick Heads, in northern New South Wales, to East Gippsland, in Victoria, and west to Bathurst, Tumut and the ACT
The bell frog’s current distribution now ranges from Byron Bay, in northern New South Wales, to East Gippsland, in Victoria; populations mostly occur along the coast. In New South Wales, it has declined severely in range and abundance since the 1960’s. In Victoria, the declines have been less extreme, mostly occurring in areas inland where habitat has disappeared.
It may be a member of the tree frog family, but Green and golden bell frogs aren’t very good climbers. In fact, their toe pads have shrunk down to the point that they are very hard to notice anymore. Also, unlike most tree frogs, they are also quite happy to be active during the day, and can be spotted basking in the sun amongst the reeds along their chosen watercourses.
Males call from the water or water’s edge, and the call has been compared to the sound of a motorbike changing gears. The frogs breed in the warmer months, from October to March, and some of the populations from the southern or more highland parts of their range tend to have a shorter window of suitable breeding in conditions than the northern or more lowland-occupying populations of the species.
These frogs can be highly mobile, moving 1-1.5km overland in a 24hr period in search of food or suitable habitat. They are preyed upon by a wide range of species, from egrets and herons to birds of prey, snakes, lizards, cats, foxes and even large fish.