What do bell frogs look like?
Bell frogs are large, distinctive green frogs. Adult males grow to 5-7 centimetres in length, with females generally being larger at 6-10 centimetres in length.
There are three species of bell frog in NSW, and all are similar in appearance. However, each species can be distinguished by their markings.
Green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea)
Green and golden bell frogs are smooth-skinned with bright green backs and varying sized golden blotches. A gold line runs from the snout over the eye to the hind leg. The groin and backs of the thighs are bright turquoise to blue-green.
Southern bell frog (Litoria raniformis)
Southern bell frogs are bright emerald to dull olive green with brown or golden marbling. Their backs are very warty (not smooth) and often have a series of black spots on either side of the pale green stripe running down the middle. The groin and thighs are usually turquoise-blue or with a few small pale yellow spots.
Yellow-spotted bell frog (Litoria castanea)
Yellow-spotted bell frogs can be identified by large yellow spots on the groin and the backs of the thighs. They have warty backs with a pale green stripe running down the middle.
What do they sound like?
Male bell frogs call during the breeding season in spring and summer, and several males will often call together in a chorus. The three bell frogs have a similar call:
- The call of the green and golden bell frog is described as a long growl of several seconds duration, followed by a series of short grunts: 'cr-a-a-aw-a-a-awk, cra-a-a-awk, crok, crok'.
- For the southern bell frog, the call is more a series of low guttural 'grunts', sometimes lengthened into a growl.
- The yellow-spotted bell frog's call is said to resemble a distant motorbike, with a series of loud grunts.
Where do they live?
These three species of bell frog are found in bulrushes and other emergent vegetation in or at the edges of permanent or semi-permanent water. Lakes, dams, ponds, swamps, wetlands, slow moving streams, drains, culverts and other human modified environments that hold water may all provide suitable habitat. By day the frogs rest on reeds or bask on grassy banks. By night, adults are active on grassy banks or floating on the water's surface. Warm nights, especially following rain, are good times to listen for bell frogs calling. During autumn and winter, they shelter under fallen timber, rocks, other debris or thick vegetation.
What do they eat?
Bell frogs will feed on a variety of prey including tadpoles, other frogs (including members of the same and other species), small fish, water snails, and a range of insects including flies, beetles, beetle larvae and grasshoppers.