Is that a frog?

Understanding the biodiversity of gardens can make us so much more tolerant of the creatures living there. Instead of ‘fearing’ creatures much smaller than us, like frogs, we should learn about them to understand their purpose. Actually, we should embrace their presence.

Bullfrogs

African bullfrogs, or pixie frogs, love any garden with lots of insects, slugs, small birds, other amphibians, reptiles and small rodents, to satisfy a BIG appetite. A pond with wateruintjies, water lilies or fonteingras that frogs can sit upon or hide below and with insect-attracting flowers, is irresistible. Submerged water grass protects tadpoles and provides a perfect spawning zone. Frog hiding places include rockeries, tree stumps, stones, hollow spaces or deep crevices with enough moisture, and dense, tallish shrubs.

Can bullfrogs hurt me or Fluffy?

If handled or feeling stressed a bleating sound and loud croaks are made. Bullfrogs do have sharp teeth and can bite – they are not your average playmate.

Bullfrog dates

After heavy rain, males use a deep, low-pitched whoop sound to attract females, and gather in a small area, with the biggest males in the middle. A female will pick the largest male in the centre. She will then lay her 3,000 to 4,000 eggs in the shallow edge of a pond or puddle. The male guards the tadpoles, occasionally even eating some.

Intimidation level?

Medium, when taking their weight into consideration. Males are 23cm and weigh between 1.4kg and 2kg and, unusually, females are half the size.

 

Tree frogs

Forest trees, grasslands and marshy wet places are ideal to hide in during the heat and to hibernate in during dry periods; and they are places where moths, ants, flies, crickets and beetles can be found. Some build foam nests on leaves, and rarely move from trees. Highly colourful tree frogs have poisonous skin.

Intimidation level?

Small. They are slender and only measure between 2 and 10cm.

 

Platanna

Any size pond will attract platanna or clawed ‘flat frogs’. They live beneath the surface of the pond and hide under large stones. They feast on mosquito larvae, frogs, insects, other invertebrates, tadpoles and small fish. As scavengers, platanna keep a pond clean.

Intimidation level?

Extra small. These guys are only between 60 and 100mm long.

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