Question of the month

Mystery frog deaths

Hi. I've found a couple of clumps of dead frogs on my driveway. I have a large bush block with a lot of waterholes.

We are wondering if perhaps this regurgitation was a partially consumed meal of feral pigs or similar. Please see attached photos.

Answer

Dead Graceful TreefrogsDead Graceful TreefrogsYour find is most intriguing. The frogs look like adult Graceful Tree Frogs (Litoria gracilenta). Although these arboreal frogs can be very abundant they can be very difficult to find, unless they are calling after rain. Did you find them within a day or two of a significant storm event?  I can only make suggestions as we've never come across an observation like yours before.

Feral Pigs will certainly eat large numbers of frogs (and may be a possible culprit) although they are generally known to target burrowing or terrestrial species.  Foxes, pigs, dingos/dogs and feral cats are all likely to be capable of taking a large number of frogs when the frogs are calling and concentrated at a chorus (around a puddle or pond after rain), and are likewise capable of regurgitating a bolus of dead frogs.

It is quite possible that a stomach full of Graceful Tree Frogs could result in an upset tummy for any diner. Many frogs produce biologically active compounds in their skin and although an individual frog may be a tasty snack, a stomach-full could result in a different experience! 

Postscript: The inquirer was able to respond with the following additional information-

Yes, it was just after a decent rain event of around 70mm a couple of days before. I did notice what looked like these frogs early the morning before around a deep pond that had just filled from the rain event. We do have wild dogs, cats, foxes and pigs in the area so could be any one of them.

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