Frogs of the Lower Hunter
Around half of the 80-plus species of frogs living in NSW reside in the Hunter region. Shockingly, this statistic may be reduced due to the significant decline in populations across the region. The cause? Habitat loss, domestic animals, traffic and changes to their local habitat.
But you can help! A number of communities across New South Wales are banding together to stem the decline by building backyard frog ponds or planting native vegetation to save the little amphibians and encourage feeding and breeding. Frogs are attracted to water and it is not uncommon for backyard ponds to house several species of frogs.
Why build a frog pond?
- Pest control: Some larger frog species love eating cockroaches and some smaller frog species consume mosquitoes. While it is a myth that tadpoles eat mosquito larvae, it is true that having tadpoles in a pond will reduce the overall recruitment of mosquitoes due to competition. Tadpoles also inhibit mosquito larvae growth by releasing chemicals in the water.
- Garden aesthetic: A pond adds a lovely water feature in the garden for you to feast your eyes on.
- Education: Ponds are great tools for educating children about the frog life-cycle, food webs and generally developing their curiosity in the natural world.
- Environmental health: Frogs are important environmental indicators for two reasons. Firstly they live in water and on land. Secondly they have semipermeable skin that can be affected by pollution much more than other organisms. The type and number of frogs living in your backyard can indicate how your local environment is doing.
- Keystone species: Frogs are an important link in the food web of your local creek, wetland or bushland. In freshwater creeks and wetlands tadpoles are important for recycling energy by eating decaying matter and as a food source for dragonfly nymphs, eels, yabbies, ducks, freshwater fish and other organisms. On land frogs are important for keeping the numbers of invertebrates in check by feeding on them and are also an important food source for larger animals such as lizards and birds.
Stay tuned for digital copies of our Creating Frog Habitat Brochure and Frogs of the Lower Hunter poster.
Microbats of the Hunter
When people think of bats they usually think of flying foxes. Unlike flying foxes microbats use echolocation to see. They are little creatures weighing between 2 and 170 grams depending on the species. They eat a whole range of insects including mosquitoes, beetles, moths and cockroaches. They can sometimes be seen fluttering around street lights.
'Go Batty' activities in March 2017
In March 2017 Newcastle residents were invited to discover local bushland reserves at night as part of a Council's 'Go Batty' community events. Although it was a pretty wet month it didn't deter interested residents who came out in force to three nocturnal habitat hikes. Spotlighting and bat call surveys and Monofilament Harp Trap demonstrations were undertaken at each site. Download our report for more detail of fauna recorded at each site, including observation type and conservation status.
Other 'Go Batty' activities included the installation of microbat boxes at four bushland reserves within Newcastle with the assistance of local Landcarers and residents. This project was supported by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.
Stay tuned for a digital copy of our Microbats of the Hunter poster.
Are you a Good Bushland Neighbour?
If you live close to bushland there are a range of things you can do to help Newcastle's bushland thrive.
- Keep your backyard in your backyard. Dumping lawn clippings or green waste in bushland will spread weeds and can create a fire hazard
- Why not build a nestbox for our furry and feathery friends and install it in your backyard
- Why not compost your green waste at home in a compost bin or worm farm or use your green bin
- Leave the bush in the bush. Do not remove dead trees, logs or branches from reserves as these are often homes for our local wildlife
- Remove any invasive weeds from your garden and replace them with local natives. They require less water and attract native birds and animals to your garden
- Keep your cats and dogs out of the bush as their instinct is to hunt native wildlife
- Stay on all designated tracks when using bushland areas and take all your rubbish away with you.
- Interested in becoming a Landcarer? Go to our Landcare page for more information.