Spadefoot Toads in Melton South after heavy rains

Spadefoot Toads again in Melton South

After several days rain in late March a single Spadefoot Toad was heard calling from the small wetland in Rees Road, in Melton South. The call is a long drawn out purring sound that can carry a surprisingly long distance in the night. These uncommon frogs burrow deep into the soil when their wetland dries out, using ‘spades’ on their hind legs. Despite their name, they are frogs, not toads! Perhaps Spadefoot Frogs may be a more suitable name? Apparently they may burrow a metre deep into the soil to escape drought. They have been recorded in only a few places around Melbourne, including Melton South & Sunbury. Several have been recorded in Rees Road Wetland in Melton South as well as beside Pinkerton Forest near Cottrell. In the past they could be heard calling about three days after heavy rains. Recent rains were not heavy enough to fill the wetland with water and bring them out of their refuges deep underground, hence only the one frog calling, & only for one night. Hopefully more heavy rains may fill the wetland with water & induce these elusive frogs to the surface to breed. Their future is uncertain as a large housing estate is developing just across the road. Hopefully this remnant population will not be destroyed by housing development.

This photo was taken by Richard Akers in 2008

After more heavy rain again on 9th April (71mm!) about a dozen Spadefoot Toads were heard, as well as numerous Common Eastern Froglets & a few Spotted Marsh Frogs. The small wetland was now filled with water. Previous heavy rain in March was not heavy enough to fill the wetland with water and bring them out of their refuges deep underground, hence only the one frog calling, & only for one night. However, after 71mm rain the wetland was filled & the numerous frogs were now making a loud chorus, heard for several blocks away. Hopefully these uncommon frogs will have the opportunity to breed in the now filled wetland. They have been recorded in only a few places around Melbourne, including Melton South & Sunbury. Several have been recorded in Rees Road Wetland in Melton South as well as beside Pinkerton Forest near Mt Cottrell.

Their future is uncertain as a large housing estate is developing just across the road. Hopefully this remnant population will not be destroyed by housing development.

Rees Road Wetland (Spadefoot Pond perhaps?)

Hopefully this wetland could be kept as a reserve as habitat for these rare frogs.

If so it should be kept in its present form as a perennial wetland so that it remains suitable habitat

Open drain from which numerous Spadefoot Frogs call also.

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