Luckily I learned all about this before I saw it for the first time or I would have been totally confused. These are the egg nests of the grey tree frog that sing me to sleep every night. They climb tress that overhang water, and make these nests for their eggs. As you can see, they climb big trees and get up really high.
While you are looking, can you see how green it is now after the rains? Even my pool is a little green…..
I am not too sure how the tadpoles that hatch and fall into my pool are going to cope with my pool cleaner and the chlorine. I do hope they manage because they are great pets to have around. They eat LOTS of insects and sing lovely songs at night.
The grey tree frog – more commonly referred to as the foam nest frog – is the largest of our ‘tree frogs’, with females growing to a length of around 100 mm.
These frogs are well adapted to a dry, arboreal life although they may frequently visit water to rehydrate. They will rarely be found swimming or sitting in water like many other frogs and toads but are commonly found in and around buildings where lights attract a source of insect food. With a variety of mottled patterns, they can change colour within a range of white to dark grey to match their background and are well camouflaged against tree bark. Females grow much larger and can be double the weight of males.
The common name comes from the whitish clumps of foam that they construct as ‘nests’ in which to lay their eggs. These nests are always constructed on some branch or object over, and often many metres above, water. The females exude a sticky liquid which they kick into a froth with their back legs. Into this foam they lay up to 1000 eggs which are fertilised by, often many, attendant males. The foam prevents desiccation of the eggs and keeping eggs and small tadpoles out of water eliminates much predation.
About five days after hatching the small tadpoles wriggle out of the foam to drop into the water below, where they continue to grow and complete their normal metamorphosis.High foam nests can be a useful water indicator in the bush although temporary pools often dry up prematurely, destroying many breeding attempts.
These and all frogs are extremely beneficial in limiting insect numbers. They will often be found in human dwellings. They are completely harmless to humans and domestic animals (apart from skin secretions to stop dogs biting them!). They often take up positions in crevices of open windows and door frames before the onset of cold weather. Being creatures of habit they have select spots in cupboards, pelmets etc, to which they will return. They are fascinating and useful creatures which make very little mess.
We have to check all window and door frames before closing to prevent squashing these frogs (that’s where they tend to sleep during dry periods). Last summer I inadvertently hurt a frog’s leg by shutting it in the window.