My wildlife buddy Jimmy and I had been watching the weather for a few weeks. Jimmy had researched that in October to November after a day of pour rain means turtle frogs come out to find a mate. He had seen them twice before.
Turtle frogs spend most of their life underground in burrows and they mainly eat termites. They come to the surface for a short period to find a mate and then spend 4 months of foreplay whispering sweet nothings to each other. Then in Feb they mate, eggs are laid in the burrow and they turn into frogs – effectively bypassing the tadpole swimming stage.
Anyway back to the weather – we had made plans twice already but the rain either didn’t happen or just wasn’t enough. Anyway this Wednesday had 10-15mm+ rain and it had dried up a little in the arvo but things were still damp.
Jimmy did a recce and sent excited texts that he could hear them calling and that he had found one. I left home later as I was getting kids in bed, etc but it looked like I was going to see my first turtle frog!
I drove to Reabold Hill carpark – parking about halfway up Scenic Drive – not going past the bollards which go up at about 8pm. I could hear the frogs and Jimmy wanted me to find my own. The tips were – use their calls to triangulate and narrow down their location (as you get closer they stop calling so you have to remain with headtorch off just waiting for them to call again) and they were often on the slightly more cleared sandy patches under the Banksia trees.
I heard quite a few and picked one to focus on finding. It took me a while to get my ear in and I went a fair way into the bush – I could hear one calling really close but I couldn’t spot it! Then there it was – just under a few pieces of dried grass were two – maybe they were a pair?
The photos make them look much larger than there are – these shots will help get an idea of the scale in my hand.
I found about 6-7 that night which I was so pleased at – all the build up and two failed plans made this night more awesome!
These shots give an idea of the habitat they are calling from.
And a few more photos for good measure.
I also spotted this insect – I think it might be some sort of native cockroach.
Well another species found – now onto the next target – what might that be?