Friday, 23 March 2012

The Southern Bell Frog

The Southern Bell Frog, Litoria raniformis, was introduced to New Zealand in the late 1860s from Tasmania by the Canterbury Acclimisation Society. They have been very successful in New Zealand and can now be found throughout most of the country.

These frogs are the largest frogs to be found in New Zealand with females reaching over 100mm. They are similarly coloured to the Green and Golden Bell Frog (found only North of Gisborne) but often have a warty back. They generally have more dark brown or black blotches on the back and there is always a pale green stripe down the middle of their back (although this can change in intensity depending upon environmental conditions). The back of their thighs and groin area are bright blue to turquoise and the belly looks granular. The fingers lack webbing while the toes are almost completely webbed. There are no suckers on the ends of their toes or fingers.

The call is similar to the Green and Golden Bell frog but is not as drawn out. It can be best described as crawcrocrocrocrok (in Australia it is also known as the Growling Grass Frog). Males usually call while floating in water.

They seem generally to prefer to breed in permanent lakes, swamps and dams with still water.

It's a few hundred metres to the nearest water from The Cottage but I assume that's a mere hop or two for them. I wondered for a few seconds why he was climbing up my door - he was  up on the glass when I first saw him/her - though as s/he has no suckers I'm not sure how s/he managed that.  Obviously it was the large amount of insects gathered on the glass attracted by the house lights that in turn attracted the frog.


  1. What a beautiful frog :-)

    According to

    they have small adhesive pads on their toes and fingers, but seldom climb trees.

  2. Thanks Helen. I never thought of that and was quite puzzled when I read that they had no suckers.

  3. Bootiful little critter. Can you smuggle some home for me?

  4. I like frogs! To look at, I hasten to add, not to eat them.

  5. Colourful little creature! Did you warn him that insects crawling on your newly-sprayed cottage might not be the healthiest of foods? ;)

  6. It must a Law of Nature that as soon as you come across something unique, you will come across it again within the next few hours. Check out my friend Sandra's post today

  7. he/she is lovely, the brilliant green is gorgeous and i like the growly grass name best.

  8. Good to see this lovely image. I love frogs.

  9. i have 2 southern bells just changed from tadpoles an would lyk 2 no if they hibernate over colder months pleaze

    1. I can't be certain about Southern Bells Eliza but tadpoles in general often settle down in the mud at the bottom of ponds during the colder months and, in effect, hibernate until the next season if they haven't managed to become frogs over the summer.