14 Feb DON’T WORRY…BE HOPPY!
Aussie Ark is thrilled to announce another successful breeding season for the Green and Golden Bell frogs!
The species is listed as globally and nationally vulnerable, and as endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Act. Once common throughout NSW and Victoria, the frog has been heavily impacted by especially coastal urbanization.
It’s estimated just 40 locations now exist where the frog continues to live in the wild, but these sites are under constant threat of land clearing and development.
Thankfully at ‘Conservation Ark’ – a dedicated reptile and amphibian facility situated in the grounds of Aussie Ark’s sister organisation The Australian Reptile Park – the frogs are thriving.
Aussie Ark first started working with the species three years ago, receiving nine ‘founding animals’ with which to begin a breeding program.
Aussie Ark reptile keeper Sam Herrmann says Aussie Ark is ‘thrilled’ with the success of the program, reporting hundreds of tadpoles this year.
The current tropical-like summer – with its combination of high heat and intermittent rainfall – has certainly helped.
“The frogs normally breed in the warmer months, like summer, and especially after heavy downpours,” Mr Herrmann said. “Our frogs – like frogs in the wild – are extremely in tune with weather. They are housed in comfortable humidified tanks that replicate the rain and temperatures they love, but even from inside their tanks they pick up on weather outside the facility and are triggered to breed.”
Mr Herrmann said the female frogs lay hundreds of eggs in one go, in waxy sacs. After a week the tadpoles emerge. They stay in tadpole form for approximately four months on average. Then the magical metamorphosis into frogs begins, firstly with the back legs sprouting, then the front legs, then the shrinking and disappearance of the tail, and finally the emergence of a fully-fledged Green and Golden Bell frog.
“This species is strikingly beautiful,” Mr Herrmann said. “As their name suggests, they’re predominantly green and gold, with touches of black and areas of darker copper colour. And they can have some very beautiful aqua-blue striping on the inside of their legs. Incredibly, each individual frog has a slightly different pattern of colours. No two frogs look alike!”
Aussie Ark breeds the Green and Golden Bell frog as an ‘insurance population’ to help save the species from extinction. The organisation hopes to release animals back into the wild once release sites are confirmed and protected.
If you’d like to help Aussie Ark in the work they are doing to protect endangered and vulnerable reptile and amphibian species, please head to aussieark.org.au and make a donation today.