Have you seen or heard frogs in your backyard lately? If so, have you tried to take a good look at them? You might just be lucky enough to have the Green and Golden Bell Frog living at the bottom of your garden.

Green and Golden Bell Frogs were once considered common, widespread and abundant along the eastern Australian coastline from northern New South Wales to north-eastern Victoria. However, since the 1960s this iconic species has gone from being one of the most commonly encountered frogs to one of the most threatened.

The Green and Golden Bell Frog is listed as an endangered species under Schedule 1 of the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

There are now only 43 identified remaining key populations of Green and Golden Bell Frogs in New South Wales with 8 key populations in the Sydney region. The suburb of Greenacre, located within the Strathfield and Bankstown local government areas, is known to support one of these key populations.

Description: The Green and Golden Bell Frog is a relatively large muscular frog with adults ranging from approximately 45 mm up to 100 mm in length. However, most individuals lie in the 60 to 80mm size range. Body patterns vary greatly with some individuals being a bright pea green green with very little gold marking, while others can be a dull coppery-brown colour. Some individuals may darken to almost black.

Despite the variations in colour, the one feature that all Green and Golden Bell Frogs share is a gold and white stripe that runs from the back of the eye, passes over the eardrum and along the flank of the frog ending near the hip.

The underbelly of the Green and Golden Bell Frog is usually creamy white in colour and granular in texture.

Call: A distinctive, four-part call, starting with a slow, drawn-out craw-craw-crawk, followed by some short grunts, crok-crok. Sounds like a distant motorbike changing gears. To hear this call click here.

Habitat: Whilst habitat for the Greenacre Key Population of Green and Golden Bell Frogs has dwindled due to extensive residential and industrial development, the population has survived by utilising local features including constructed ponds, drainage depressions, areas of native and introduced grasses, rock/brick piles and logs. The frogs utilise these features at different times of the year for breeding, foraging, shelter, moving or for protection over winter.

Threats:

Identified threats to the Greenacre Key Population of Green and Golden Bell Frogs include:

1. Loss of Habitat.

2. Introduced predators that include:

  • Plague Minnow – Gambusia holbrooki (Listed as a Key Threatening Process) present in Cox’s Creek and in many other water bodies and stream systems in the Upper Cooks River catchment.
  • The Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes (listed as a Key Threatening Process for a number of threatened species).
  • Feral and Domestic Cats - Felis catus
  • Disease. Frog Chytrid is listed as a Key Threatening Process at state and national levels. This disease is rapidly emerging as possibly the single biggest threat to the species (as well as to many other species of frogs).
  • Habitat degradation
  • Water quality
  • Small population size.
  • Anthropogenic climate change (Listed as a Key Threatening Process).

How can you help?

Create frog friendly habitat in your garden or backyard. Avoid the use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides in areas where frogs may live. Learn more about native frogs including the Green and Golden Bell Frog by joining the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW. Report sightings of the Green and Golden Bell Frog to your local Council.

How to report sightings to Council

To report sightings of Green and Golden Bell Frogs in the Strathfield local government area, please contact Council on 9748 9999 or email: council@strathfield.nsw.gov.au. Your sightings will contribute to the conservation of this endangered species.

To assist Council, where possible, please address the following questions in your report:

  1. Details about your sighting (eg did you see or hear the frog? was the frog alive or dead? what was it doing?)
  2. How many individual frogs did you see or hear?
  3. Location of sighting (where did you see the frog/s?)
  4. Date you saw or heard the frog?
  5. Description of the environment/habitat the frog was seen in (eg pond, long grass, rock pile, wood pile, in a shady area of an open area)

References

  • Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (2007), Draft Management Plan for the Green and Golden Bell Frog Key Population at Greenacre
  • White. A (2006) Frog Facts No. 5 Green and Golden Bell Frogs. The Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW Inc, Rockdale.
  • NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (2005), Draft Recovery Plan for the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litorea aurea). 
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (1999), Threatened Species Information – Green and Golden Bell Frog.
  • Casey K. (1996) Attracting frogs to your garden: creating ideal habitat for native frogs in your own backyard.

Further Information

Office of Environment and Heritage

The Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW Inc

Sydney Olympic Park Authority