Frog of the Week

Turtle Frog (Myobatrachus gouldii)

Turtle Frog
Turtle Frog – photo by Brendan Schembri

Common Name: Turtle Frog or Tortoise Frog
Scientific Name: Myobatrachus gouldii
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Location: Australia
Size:  1.9  inches or 5 cm

Turtle frogs are found in Perth in Western Australia, in sandy soils that are associated with termite colonies, their main food source. The sandy soil is preferred due to the frogs being a fossorial species, meaning they live in burrows in the ground. The way that they burrow is interesting in that they use their front limbs instead of their back limbs which most burrowing toads and frogs use. These burrows can be over 3 feet (1 meter) deep.

The Turtle Frog starts to breed after heavy rains in spring. The males come out of their burrows and start to call. The females come and select a mate and they move back to a burrow. Actual mating can take place several months later., even up to four months. The female lays up to 50 eggs that hatch directly into small frogs, skipping the tadpole stage.

The scientific name is in honor of John Gould, famous ornithologist and illustrator.

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