Frogs of The Ancient Rainforest
Frog Friends at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Frogs are a common sight in Australia. This is well known to those of us living in tropical climates who often find frogs as visitors inside their home. While frogs are certainly happy to make themselves at home inside yours, they’re found naturally in nearly every ecosystem in Australia, including deserts!
The Wet Tropics Rainforest surrounding us here in Cairns only accounts for 0.01% of Australia’s landmass; yet, it is home to 54 frog species, 21 of which are found nowhere else on Earth. It is an important reminder to us of the biological and ecological significance of this rainforest and region.
One of the most common frogs is the White-lipped Tree Frog. This frog is easily identified by its green body, white bottom lip and almost glowing white underbelly. It is also one of Australia’s largest frogs, growing up to 14cm! If you live in suburban tropical Australia, it is probably one of these friendly fellows visiting your windowsill or toilet seat on occasion!
While the mating calls of many frogs are so similar to each other that the average human ear cannot pick up on the subtle differences, the White-lipped Tree Frog boasts a distinctive call, that is sometimes even mistaken for a dog’s bark!
Another frog you are likely to hear when exploring the rainforest is the Northern Barred Frog. Found only in North Queensland, this frog spends most of its time on the rainforest floor near streams.
As you can see, its light brown skin and dark spots helps the frog camouflage itself against predators. While this frog can grow up to 11cm in length, all eyes are on its tadpoles. Unlike other tadpoles, the Northern Barred Frog tadpole grows up to 15cm in length! These tadpoles can take up to two years to mature into frogs, making them Australia’s biggest and longest-living tadpoles!
While most frogs in the rainforest are heard more frequently than seen, the small Orange-thighed Tree Frog is an impressive sight if you are ever lucky enough to spot one. With bright red-orange eyes, deep orange flanks and limbs, and a bright yellow vocal sac, the Orange-thighed Tree Frog filters through the rainforest as a vibrant pocket of colour.
So keep your eyes and ears tuned into the rainforest when you next visit with Skyrail, and don’t forget to ask one of our friendly rangers at Red Peak about their favourite frog!