Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria




Growling Grass Frog

McCoy on Grass Frog sounds, Prodromus

The brown specimen, fig 2 on our plate, turned green before the drawing was quite finished; and the beautiful green specimen, fig.1a, escaped after the drawing was colored, and could not be found for some days, when, finding something soft under my foot, I picked up what I thought was an old brown kid glove, and found it was my sitter for the portrait, and put him again into his glass, where he died the next day, first changing into his former vivid pea-green.

The general sound is a hoarse, prolonged croak, varied by a loud "clunk" monotonously repeated at intervals, very much like the sound of a mallet and chisel of a number of stonemasons.

So like is this that when a portion of the University was being built, and a number of masons were working on a hard sonorous basalt (called bluestone by the colonist) a hundred yards from my house, a newly arrived servant, writing home an account of the busy scene, mentioned that the masons could be heard at work the whole of the moonlight nights - so completely alike was the sound of these Bell-frogs in an adjoining pond at night to the noise of the men by day.

In summer the note often resembles so exactly the short "clunk" of the cattle-bells that people seeking their cows or horses at dusk in the bush can scarcely tell one from the other.

They are eaten by the natives, who, taking a torch at night, thrust a sharpened stick through as many as they choose to make a meal of, and using it like a spit, roast the collection to their taste; and no doubt they are as good as the epicures in France find the Rana viridis.

- Frederick McCoy


Growling Grass Frog
Growling Grass Frog, Litoria raniformis, by Arthur Bartholomew.