January 30, 2023
I’ve come across some strange finds over the years when dog walking each morning. There are the typical, if depressing, bottles, cans, cigarette butts, food wrappers etc, and for which I’ve ensured there’s always a bag in my pocket so these offensive items can be removed, and dumped into the relevant disposal bin at home. But sitting in the middle of the road one day last week was a bright green juvenile green and gold frog. Bizarre.
Given the absence of any obvious suitable water habitat close by, how this frog came to be there will forever remain a mystery. His (or her) life was destined to be extremely short though if he remained on the road, so I picked him up and carried him home. Froggy didn’t even try to resist so maybe he was already regretting the adventure that had led him to this spot.
Green and golds are not uncommon in our area, despite being now extremely rare in most parts of the state. To the point where they are now a listed species. Until the campaign to stop failed timber company Gunns Ltd building its pulp mill, most people in the area were unaware the green and golds that happily hopped around their properties and basked in the sunshine, were in fact a threatened species. Such is the depressing lack of knowledge about our vulnerable wildlife among so many Tasmanians, or concern and care by successive governments.
Several years ago I’d researched green and golds for an article so I knew about their vulnerable status, and we’d got excited one summer a couple of years ago when we counted up to 12 of these frogs living in an old bathtub we keep topped up with water for birds and various visiting wildlife to drink from. By last summer though they had dispersed, as they do, not to be seen again until their growling mating calls are heard in spring. Disappointingly though there was no sign of frog life in our bathtub last summer, and there’d been none this year either thus far.
So young GG was on his own when I popped him into his new and rather murky watery home, unsure if he would stay, or even if he was actually healthy. At least I thought he was on his own.
He kept very much to himself, and if we did happen to spot him basking on the edge he quickly dived in before we got too close. We noticed his colour was darkening though. Perhaps that was something to do with the water . . . ? Then a few days ago we noticed there were two green and golds sunning themselves on the edge. One was significantly larger. Had it been there all winter unbeknownst to us? Or was it a recent arrival?
So now there are two, and while the juvenile is still rather timid, the older one is quite laid back and sits on the side quite unconcerned when we walk past. Hopefully their tenancy will last the summer, but after that who knows? Where these frogs go during the cooler autumn and winter months still remains something of a mystery so far as I’m aware. We’re just enjoying having them visit.