Hop To It

August 16th, 2018
Hop To It
The Adelaide Hills are alive with the sound of frogs and during the National Science Week you can become a qualified FrogSpotter.

Frog expert, education officer and FrogWatch SA coordinator Steve Walker will be holding a Walk and Talk event at the Torrens Valley Community Centre on Sunday, August 19 from 2pm.

“One night a fortnight I run the FrogWatch Program which is a statewide program for anybody in the state to get involved with,” Steve said.

“It’s basically an app on phones that you can use to go out and record frog calls on and submit them to us on the website and we can then identify the species and give you a run down of information.

“What I’m going to be doing at the Walk and Talk is giving a run down of the frogs that are likely to be found and explain the weird and wonderful things they do.

“Then we can go for a walk just next to the community centre and see if we can find or hear any frogs out there by the creek and turn some rocks and logs over to have a closer look.

“I’ll give a run down on the FrogWatch technology and app and give a taste for the local frogs they can find.”

Steve said the importance of frogs in the Adelaide Hills is not to be underestimated and recommended that everyone be educated on the fascinating amphibians.

“Frogs are important everywhere - they are a major indicator of environmental health and through frogs we can control insects and pests,” Steve said.

“Plus they are a major source of food for birds, turtles and lizards.”

Luckily for us our six most common species of frogs found in the Hills are sturdy and adaptable and can so far handle the changing urban growth and pollution issues.

“For our common species they seem to be doing fairly well because they can make use of lots of different environments,” Steve said.

“The common froglette can ingest just about any fresh water body so they can survive in fish ponds, damns, flooded paddocks and anywhere!”

However the threat of damage to the environment and frog’s habitats is something the app is helping Steve learn about.

They are able to track data and frog population growth through the recordings sent in by the general public.

“Losing the frogs is certainly a possibility if we keep clearing the land, draining water bodies or polluting the land and that’s going to have major environmental impacts,” Steve said.

“Birds like kookaburras who love to eat the frogs would be severely affected, mosquitoes would grow in numbers and insects wouldn’t be kept down.”

Steve said there are small changes you can make or ways to help frog populations grow by protecting their environment and creating better habitats.

“Washing your car on the street will have chemicals running into the environment so that’s a problem and the main things to think about are eliminating the use of garden chemicals as fertilisers have an impact on frogs.

“Try to set up habitats like frog ponds or conditions that are ideal for frogs.

“Use local native plants because they create a better habitat for frogs and attract the insects for them.”

And when you do come across a frog in the community Steve said the best thing to do is leave it on it’s own.

“If it’s hopping across the road you might want to pick them up and move them off.”

“But always wash your hands afterward because they do produce chemicals in their glands which could make you sick if you get it in your mouth, so wash your hands with soapy water.

“They’re incredibly beneficial but they’re also cute little creatures that people love to encounter.”

To take part in the Walk and Talk visit http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/frogs-of-the-adelaide-hills-tickets-48150277777

To find out more or to download the FrogWatch app visit http://www.frogwatchsa.com.au/

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