Frogs have been around for at least 180 million years; they are cold-blooded and part of the amphibian group of animals. There are about 4000 frog species worldwide, Australia has 208 frog species, and many of these are found nowhere else in the world. One third of Australia’s frog species occur in our dwindling rainforests.
Frogs are a valuable part of the food chain as well as an indicator to the water quality. Scientists all over the world have noted the decline in frog population, land clearing, climate change, pollution as well as invasive plants and animals all play a role. The deadly Chytrid fungus – an infectious disease contaminating frogs worldwide, is also affecting many vulnerable species.
We can help increase frog populations by not draining breeding sites of water, not introducing new fish species to fish ponds and in fact changing a fish pond into a frog pond. It is also crucial that we ceasing the use of poisons around frog breeding areas. A frog’s skin is permeable, which means that water and other gases can pass through it. As a result, frogs need to keep their skin moist or they could dry out! They do this in different ways – some live near water bodies, in shady vegetation or rock faces, some cover their skin in a slimy substance and some even burrow into the soil.
Frogs are preyed upon by all sorts of creatures, wading birds stalk the shallows of water courses, diving birds, fish, freshwater tortoises, larger frogs and of course snakes. The poor frogs are even eaten by aquatic insects in the tadpole stage, one wonders how they manage to survive at all being such tasty morsels, soft and with little or no protection at all.