06 Oct 2021
For many people, spring is the season of higher energy, productivity and bright moods. The same can be said for our amphibian and reptilian friends.
As we emerge from the cool of winter and enjoy more daylight, frogs and reptiles emerge from their state of torpor, and visitors to the Park may start seeing and hearing our most common species such as Blue-tongue Lizards and Peron’s Tree Frogs.
Torpor is a clever adaption to help animals survive during periods of reduced food availability. Reptiles and amphibians eat a wide range of food. Snakes prey on rodents, birds and frogs; lizards feed on insects, snails, and vegetation, and frogs eat insects and sometimes other frogs!
As the number of food items on the menu reduce in winter, frogs and reptiles decrease their physiological activity. That is to say they significantly reduce their metabolism and become immobile, hiding under rocks or loose rubble, thick plant litter, and within the crowns of tussock grasses.
These animals that have spent the winter in torpor now spring to life! Unlike mammals, reptiles and amphibians derive their body heat from the environment, and they regulate their body temperature by moving between sun and shade.
Warm days are the best time to detect frogs and reptiles, when they take advantage of the warmer temperatures to hunt and searching for a mate. Listen to the male frogs in chorus as they call out to attract females, each species with their own melody.
Spot the characteristically shy reptiles that emerge to sunbath in the early morning, increasing their energy for the day’s hunt ahead, eager to fill their bellies.
As frogs and reptiles become active, the Authority implements a different course of management for their protection.
Works that require disturbance in habitat areas such as weed management can go ahead, as the reptiles and frogs have the ability to move out of harm’s way. However, to minimise the risk of any harm, strict protocols apply where vegetation is removed in stages and ecologists hand-search for frogs and other wildlife before works commence.
Water levels of frog ponds are monitored and managed from the start of spring to provide stepping-stones for frogs to travel across distances in search of a mate, as well as consistent water levels for tadpoles.
Frog breeding can occur whenever the right conditions present over spring and summer, often after a hot day, evening storm and humid night. The warmer the weather, the quicker tadpoles will grow, metamorphose and become frogs.
Overwintering is a hard challenge for tadpoles that don’t grow quickly enough before cooler temperatures set in over autumn. A record of at least six endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog tadpoles successfully overwintered has come as an early spring present for Sydney Olympic Park.
If you are keeping active in the Park, remember to keep your eyes open for the diverse reptiles and frog species that call Sydney Olympic Park home.
Peron’s Tree Frog basking in the sun. Use the free FrogID app to hear the call of this species and listen for it at the Park or in your neighbourhood.
|Authority ecologists hand-search for frogs and other wildlife to relocate before works commence in habitat during the active season.||Yes, snakes are reptiles and part of the ecosystem too! If you see a snake in the Park, keep your distance and report via firstname.lastname@example.org to help us collect more information about these amazing creatures.|