The Southern Bell Frog
The Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis), also known as the Growling Grass Frog because of the sound of its call, is a large handsome frog that lives in semi-permanent wetlands in south eastern Australia. It is closely related to the Green and Golden Bell Frog that halted work on the Olympic Village at Homebush bay. The frog is bright green in colour with splotches of gold, bronze and black along its back and bright turquoise on the back of its thighs and changes colour rapidly when subject to heat or bright lights often turning dark brown during the day.
Once wide spread and abundant the frog is highly endangered and listed on the NSW Endangered Species list. Scientists are still unsure why the frog began to disappear, but disease, habitat loss and threat of exotic species are likely causes. The Distribution of the Southern Bell Frog in NSW is now restricted to a few areas along the Murrumbidgee and the lower Murrumbidgee flood plain around Balranald.
The Lowbidgee contains large areas of high quality River Red Gum and Lignum/Black Box swamps that until the recent drought, were regularly flooded. It is understood that these areas are potentially very good frog habitat and that has been reflected in the apparent high numbers of the Southern Bell Frog and other frog species counted in the Balranald area in recent years. Being aware of local frog numbers that appear to counter trends elsewhere local businesses and Balranald Council are promoting this unique frog situation.
An increasing number of Frog sculptures can be found in Market Street, the main street of Balranald and outside the Balranald Visitor Information Centre in Market Street. The Visitor Centre also has a large number of frog souvenirs for sale.
Balranald Visitor Information Centre 03 50201599 (ph)