Pobblebonk Frog Limnodynastes dumerilii

Frogs of Victoria series


The Pobblebonk (or Banjo) Frog, Limnodynastes dumerilii, gets its name from its distinctive “bonk” call. It is a fairly large species, growing to about 85 mm in length. It can be readily identified by the presence of a prominent tibial gland on each hind leg and a metatarsal tubercle on each hind foot. Three subspecies, L. dumerilii dumerilii, L. dumerilii insularis and L. dumerilii variegatus occur within the greater Melbourne area. These can be separated by their distribution and colour patterns. L. dumerilii insularis has a prominent pale vertebral stripe, which is absent in L. dumerilii dumerilii, and L. dumerilii variegatus is a uniform dark colour. The warty appearance of this frog sometimes causes people to mistake it for Cane Toad.

Photo of Pobblebonk or Banjo Frog, Limnodynastes dumerilii

Pobblebonk or Banjo Frog
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.

Distribution and habitat

L. dumerilii dumerilii is widespread over the western and northern areas around Melbourne, L. dumerilii insularis is found in the south-eastern areas, and L. dumerilii variegatus is restricted to the Otway Ranges. The frog is found in a variety of habitats. During periods of inactivity, this species burrows into the ground.


The diet consists of small invertebrates. The loud ‘bonk’ call is often heard in the suburbs. Females lay a large white floating raft of eggs in still permanent water such as dams and ponds. Tadpoles grow to a maximum length of 68 mm and take up to 15 months to complete development.

Further Reading

Barker, J., Grigg, G. and Tyler, M. J. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney.

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.

Hero, J. M., Littlejohn, M. & Marantelli, G. 1991. Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs. Department of Conservation and Environment, East Melbourne.

Tyler, M. J. 1992. Encyclopaedia of Australian Animals: Frogs. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Comments (157)

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Yianni 7 January, 2010 09:08
Hi. Theres a pond behind my house and i went and took a look at it yesterday and i found lots of tadpoles. I have taken tadpoles from there before and they turned into pobblebonks. But this time the tadpoles i found were Albino. Is it normal for tadpoles to be albino and should i take some and try raise them into frogs?
Discovery Centre 7 January, 2010 16:00

Hi there, Yianni. For your information, The Department of Sustainability and the Environment states that it is not permissible to keep a wild-caught specimen as a pet, as dictated by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Wildlife Act 1975. Ideally, you should leave tadpoles where you find them, as translocation of individual animals can disrupt local gene pools, and contribute to the spread of disease.

Furthermore, instances of albinoism in frogs are extremely rare, even in controlled environments, as described in scholarly journals TRSSA and the Journal of Heredity. Hope this helps!

Sue 21 February, 2014 20:13
I did move some tadpoles into a new pond, they are pobblebonks, should I take the tadpoles out and put them back where I got them from?
Melissa 2 February, 2010 21:40
Hi, How long does an adult Pobblebonk live for and can a male live alone for a number of years? We have a single pobblebonk in our pond which calls almost all year around. Just a single plomk every few seconds, never with an answering call. Quite sad.
Discovery Centre 3 February, 2010 16:58

Hi there. We would expect that a Pobblebonk may live up to 10 years. Some species of Australian frogs have been known to live to 20. Despite what our human emotions cause us to think, a lone Pobblebonk would not be sad. Pobblebonks are not social animals, and don’t relish the company of other frogs - so being alone should not affect its lifespan. The calling is to attract females (which do not call), so he may be having silent success without anyone knowing. (If a frothy egg-mass appears in the water, he is definitely having success). A second call would be that of a rival male. We can’t speak for that particular Pobblebonk, but if I was calling for a mate, the less competition the better!

Emerald 10 March, 2010 16:08
We found a juvenile Pobblebonk,(approx 2cms), in our pets food bowl this morning. What is the best temporary habitat for it, until we can release it into the local wetlands, and is there anything we can feed it?
Discovery Centre 15 March, 2010 12:25

Hi Emerald, thanks for your enquiry.  The Live Exhibits team recommend placing the frog back in the garden bed not far from where you found it.  Dig a small hole and let it burrow down.

Peter Jolly 5 October, 2010 23:37
We have a pobblebonk frog in our pond, he/she comes back eack year, and has done so for about 4 years. Goes away in the winter and has just returned. Is it the same frog? I don't know, we assume so. You would know better than I. The bonking song is very pleasing for us.
Discovery Centre 7 October, 2010 12:27
Hi Peter, It is great to have Pobblebonks around your backyard calling! I wouldn't be surprised at all that the same frog is calling each year from the same pond. Pobblebonks wouldn't necessarily be leaving your backyard when you don’t hear them. Rather they bury underground and hide away. It's only the male who's calling, so you may have a few in the backyard and can only currently hear the one that can call. A great way to see if he's having success is to check for a foamy mass on your pond that is full of tiny frogs eggs. If you have that turn up over the season you'll know that his calling has been successful and he's found a mate.
Laura 14 October, 2010 11:03
Hi. I live along Skeleton Creek outside of Melbourne. We must have 1,000's of Pobblebonks near us, as the noise is extremely loud and numerous - quite deafing if you cycle near them. But I truly love the sound, and hear it nearly all year round. However at this time of year it is louder and constant. The other evening we were delighted to see a Pobblebonk under the caravan during a thunderstorm, and we were fascinated watching it hop around. Lovely creatures.... :)
Darren 24 October, 2010 12:54
Hi, I have some tadpole eggs that the kids collected from one of our propety dams (Pobblebonk). They are currently in an icecream container with dam water inside. Some of the eggs are forming into Tadpoles. 1. Do they require additional oxygen in the water? 2. What do the kids feed them. They will be returned to the dam once they get larger but I am keen to foster an interest in the lifecycle first so that the kids can learn and respect the process.
Chris 26 October, 2010 10:50
We have tadpoles in the clasroom and one is nearly a frog - we would like to observe it for a while yet. What do i feed the frog and how do I ensure it is happy in the tadpole tank. There are curently rocks for it to climb on. Do I need to set it up so it can bury? Do I need to feed it live crickets? Will it eat bread? Will it try to eat the tadpoles?
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2010 10:33

Hi Darren, it is important to remember that keeping wildlife is illegal and they should be returned to the wild. Saying that – to keep them happy and healthy I can give you a few pointers.

  1. You will need to either change the dam water at regular intervals or provide good filtration for the tank they are being kept in. Either swap it for more dam water so that they are getting the same water as what they will be returned to. As they live in the ice cream tub of water they release lots of waste that needs to be removed from the enclosure. If you don’t live beside the dam to collect water – you may need to try to filter the water a little – you can buy small filters that would work well in a small enclosure from pet shops.
  2. To feed growing tadpoles – purchase some lettuce – give it a really good rinse and freeze it. Freezing it will break down the cell walls and open up all the nutrients for the tadpoles to munch on. Drop in small amounts of pre-frozen lettuce daily. They also enjoy feeding on all the algae that will rapidly grow on the lettuce.
Diane Hunt 12 November, 2010 15:10
Hi I have a property in a semi rural area on Phillip Island. I know the burrowing frog is common in this area and I have come across some while gardening. About 6 to 8 weeks ago I noticed what I thought were frog eggs and lots of young mosquitos in an old double concrete laundry tub, since then the eggs have hatched and conservatively I have counted about 80 tadpoles at this stage no legs. Intially I was concered there was no food in the trough as I know we cleaned it out in winter so I have been feeding them a fish food once a week for the last 4 weeks, now reading your websight and if they are the burrowing frog and if they take 15 months to become frogs they will not survive in this trough and on the fish food there is some nasturtian leaves that drop into the water. My questions are. Do they eat the mosquito lavee? How can I identify the species? What should I do to ensure their survival I have a dam about 300 mts away and a trough about 20 mts away fed with dam water nothing obvious growing in it. Hope you can help. regards Diane
Barb Tyler 15 November, 2010 11:47
After last year's silence & this year's rain,it's great to be hearing a full pobblebonk orchestra at the entrance to Edwards Point, Vic.
Discovery Centre 15 November, 2010 12:56

Hi Chris, if you have Pobblebonk tadpoles / frogs it is good to remove your frogs as they metamorphose and transfer them to an enclosure that they can burrow underground and rest. Your frog has a very different diet to the tadpoles – they eat insects and any other small animals they can fit into their mouths. I would recommend that you either collect some invertebrates from your school grounds – such as crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers etc or you can purchase crickets from lots of pet shops. Newly emerged frogs tend to have quite small stomachs so small meals (i.e. 1 – 2 food items) every one to two days.

Discovery Centre 15 November, 2010 13:23

Hi Diane tadpoles have some great survival strategies to help them live in adverse conditions – even in a laundry tub. You should find that some of them will grow quite quickly and all four legs will pop out and they will metamorphose into frogs at a rapid rate – other tadpoles may stay as tadpoles for more than 12 months. This is a strategy to divide the emergence of the young between two years to increase the chance of some surviving to reproduce. If they are burrowing frogs, such as Pobblebonks they may find it hard to climb out of a laundry tub – the best thing you can do is provide a platform and branch for them to climb out of the water and onto land when they become frogs. As to what they eat – tadpoles will feed on algae and other things they can scrape of the plants and walls of the pond. Here at the museum we freeze pieces of lettuce that we then add to the tadpoles enclosures so they can feed. Here are links to the Live Exhibits blog that shows photos of Pobblebonk egg masses (which sit above the water) and Pobblebonk tadpoles just before they leave the water to become frogs.

Great weather for frogs!

Pobbles Grow Up

Laura 19 November, 2010 22:44
we always get pobblebonks in our backyard pond and it is nice to hear them at night. 1. There is many goldfish in the pond, could this be a potential issue? The fish eat their eggs. 2. About 20m from the pond is our swimming pool. For some reason some individuals leave the pond and go swimming in the pool. This is ok but they get caught in the skimmer box and make noise until we get them out. Could the chlorine be bad for them? How do we keep them in the pond?
Discovery Centre 2 December, 2010 13:42

Hi Laura,

 Great questions about your frogs. The first question about how goldfish affect frogs and eggs is – yes they do enjoy eating eggs and tadpoles so you need to be careful when you introduce these fish into a pond system. If you wanted to be good to the frogs you could try some local fish such as Southern Pygmy Perch that are not interested in feeding on the young tadpoles and they are local to the Melbourne region. The second question about them jumping into your pond – chlorine does not go all that well with frogs but if you can get them out quickly enough they may be fine. If they are pobblebonk frogs, or other frogs with claws rather than pads on their fingers that will really struggle to climb out of a pond – adding a ramp for them to climb onto and out of the water is a great solution to help. If they do however have pads on the end of their toes they are tree frogs and should be able to use these pads to climb up the wall – although a ramp to escape would also help. Best of luck

Jon Haworth 15 January, 2011 21:02
Hi....we found this frog in our garage,when I almost stood on it! However, the little blighter is now causing much commotion in our house as we can decide whether its a Pobblebonk or a Common Spadefoot Toad! Can you clarify what it is please?! Heres a link to the picture I took... http://www.flickr.com/photos/46538523@N02/5356216835/ Oh, and he was let free to hop off into the garden straight after the pick was taken.
Discovery Centre 19 January, 2011 10:38
Hi Jon, whoever said Pobblebonk Frog is correct.
Maddie 20 January, 2011 17:07
Hi our friends have heaps of very large tadpoles in their pond. We do hear the male call every night. What should we do because we can barely sleep with one. let alone 3,900!!!!!!!
Christine 16 March, 2015 09:49
Hi Maddie, Have you found an answer to the persistent, annoying frog calls which prevent you sleeping? We have the same problem next door and it's more than we can bear. In addition my health is suffering shockingly
Discovery Centre 4 March, 2011 08:38

Hi Maddie, I don’t think you need to be worried about having 3,900 frogs all calling from your backyard. The number of tadpoles that actually make it through to becoming frogs is very tiny – many will die before maturing. Within your pond ecosystem the tadpoles feed on the algae and plant matter and are quite low on the food chain. This means they can exist in quite large numbers before competing for food. Frogs on the other hand are predators and need other animals in which to feed upon. Other animals such as bugs tend to be harder to come by than algae so they cannot exist in such large numbers.

I think you will be lucky to have a big population of frogs calling from your yard – with pobblebonks it often tends to only be a few individuals calling from a single pond each season.

Paula 27 March, 2011 19:02
Hi Upon arriving home after a couple of days away, it appears that a frog may have moved into our dogs outdoors drinking bowl (Icecream container), under a dripping tap. Have heaps of bubble like formations in the container,around the edges, attached to the scum in the container. We often see common garden frogs around our garden, esp after rain. Do you think that it could be frog eggs & if so, how long would it be before hatching? Should I place a wire cover over the container to protect a little more? Kids are watching with excitement, dog needs a new water container!
Emma 20 April, 2011 20:02
Is the pobblebonk deadly
Discovery Centre 9 May, 2011 11:19

Hi Emma - the Pobblebonk isn't deadly (except to the small invertebrates that form its diet), however we certainly don't reccommend licking it! You can find out more about this interesting species from the following links:

To hear the frog call, the “bonk”, and another unusual photo, see: http://museumvictoria.com.au/bioinformatics/frog/images/dumelive3.htm

Try also: http://frogs.org.au/frogs/species/Limnodynastes/dumerili/

Hope this helps!

Andrew 29 May, 2011 18:40
Hi I have set up a pond in our backyard with the intention of creating a frog friendly habitat & ecosystem, I bought 15 Murray River Rainbow fish as they are not supposed to eat frog eggs & they also keep the mosquitoes under control, these 15 fish have now populated to about 100 so they must be happy. I planted native plants around the pond to attract insects for the frogs to eat and now the pond is ready for the frogs, so my question is where can I buy pobblebonks & do I need a license? thanks.
Sean 21 October, 2012 14:24
For reasons of disease prevention you are not allowed to release captive frogs. But don't worry wild frogs will find their own way to your pond. Depending on the size of your pond 100 fish might be too many, sometimes with overcrowding they will eat frog eggs.
Kim Reed 23 September, 2011 23:03
I have 4 banjo frogs together and I've never heard them make any noise. They burrow themselves during day and come out late at night. Why don't my frogs make noise the only noise I hear is off them moving around.
Discovery Centre 25 September, 2011 09:15

Hi Kim, there are several possible reasons your frogs are not making noise.

Firstly, they may be juveniles or may all be females. In this case they either won't be calling yet or won't be calling at all. Secondly, the conditions may not be right for calling, particularly if the substrate is too dry or the wrong type.

It might be difficult to determine the exact cause of the issue but you could try the following things. Use cocopeat as a substrate if you're not doing so already, or swap the substrate for fresh substrate, whatever you're using. Add more moisture to the enclosure, at least temporarily, to encourage them to think it's raining. Add live food or a variety of crickets/cockroaches/flies to stimulate activity.

Good luck with your frogs and we hope this helps.

Ross 7 October, 2011 20:23
Hi, we have had a Banjo frog in our fish pond for the last two or so years. They do mate as they have the foam raft but no tadpoles seem to survive. This year we have 3 banjo frogs and more rafts, I have put them in still water, one with pond water in a polystyrene box, the other in a still part of the pond with no fish. Just wondering how deep that water needs to be? Also if they do survive and we end up with lots of frogs, what should we do with them? Cheers Ross
Discovery Centre 14 October, 2011 16:51

Hi Ross. Good question! We contacted our Live Exhibits department and they provided us with the following information:

The fish in the pond is the most likely reason that no tadpoles are surviving. Pobblebonk tadpoles are generally really hardy and will survive in just about anything so we believe they are being eaten.

Ideally in an outside pond you need varying water depths. Shallow areas where the tadpoles have access to good sunlight and higher temperatures, as well as deeper sections to get away from threats and to retreat to if it is excessively warm. Water depth should be 45 – 60 cm with some shallower areas. 

The frogs in the foam box will have to be fed on frozen lettuce, bok choy or spinach leaves and will take quite a lot of work. We would suggest that if you really want to encourage frogs to breed in the pond then removing the fish or swapping to some frog-friendlier types would be the best solution. Species such as Murray River Rainbows or White Clouds are a good choice.

Any froglets that emerge must be left to disperse naturally. It is illegal to translocate frogs as you may be spreading things such as chytrid fungus. It can also affect the genetic integrity of frog populations.

Wendi 8 December, 2011 15:27
Hi My pobblebonk has at last had success and there are spawn in my fish pond. I have a second pond with only tiny fish (whiteclouds) and would like to relocate the spawn otherwise the comets will eat the tadpoles. How do I safely remove from the pond? the spawn is tucked up against rocks by the cascade.
Discovery Centre 17 December, 2011 13:27

Hi Wendi,
Pobblebonk spawn can be gently picked up by cupping both hands underneath and lifting it up. Alternatively you can use a small net to do the same. Transfer it to a bucket or container and then gently tip it into the new pond. Pobblebonk eggs are generally safe to leave in with White Clouds as the tadpoles will quickly grow too big for them to eat. Even if they do eat some they are unlikely to eat them all.

Kathryn 27 December, 2011 20:07
I've been digging over a garden bed and discovered what might be a Pobblebonk. I was a bit surprised to find it there but don't want to do anything which might harm it. I'd like to take a few plants out & dig over the bed completely. I live in the Rutherglen township although on the outer edge. Should I move it across the road to the paddock or will it just come back. I like hearing frogs but am concerned about snakes coming for frogs, and whether I've disturbed a nest or whatever? It's in a corner of garden where I'd quite happily leave it if that's ok.
Discovery Centre 30 December, 2011 10:59

Hi Kathryn, 

We forwarded your questions to Museum Victoria’s animal keepers, who responded with the following:

Pobblebonks are common in certain situations throughout their range – the subspecies you have in Rutherglen is the Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii dumerilii). These situations include gardens, where the soil is often moist and a range of plant species attract a range of invertebrate species. So your garden is more attractive to frogs than a paddock across the road, and if you relocate the frog it will most likely return at the first opportunity. Females lay their eggs in ponds and dams, but do not make a nest as such.  Pobblebonks will bury themselves underground during periods of inactivity, or even just during the day. Once uncovered, they will rebury themselves as soon as possible.

Snakes can be attracted to frogs, but generally only if frogs are present in large numbers. They are usually more attracted to water bodies, for the water itself rather than the frogs. There will probably be snakes in the area anyway, and a few Pobblebonks will not make your garden any more or less attractive.

Helen 1 January, 2012 14:11
I was given 5 Pobblebonks as pets..I have set them up in a large tank with a water section and rocks, branches and pebbles. 1 is definately a male as he bonks like mad! The others take it in turns to jump into the water with him. I have been advised to use Orchid Potting Mix in the dry part of their tank is this correct. Also am I breaking the law by keeping these delightful creatures?
Discovery Centre 2 January, 2012 12:30
Hi Helen, our Live Exhibits staff use a substrate of coco peat which is readily available. You expand it with water and then leave it about 15 cm deep in the enclosure for them to burrow into. Make sure you keep it damp; they don't use orchid mix as they find it too airy and too dry and hard.

As for keeping the frogs you don't need a licence to keep pobblebonks for private purposes, provided they have come from a lawful source. It is not legal to take them from the wild. If they came from the wild then ideally release them back where they came from. We feed our pobblebonks three times a week and one of those feeds we dig them up and make sure they eat. Otherwise, we dust the crickets etc in vitamins and leave them on the surface overnight.


ian 5 January, 2012 16:48
i am from central west nsw.over the last few weeks we have been finding 20-25 mm holes in our lawn. there is always a pile of clay oround each hole. we probably have found 20 holes could these holes have been made by burrowing frogs
Neil 8 January, 2012 01:34
Hi, A few nights ago I counted 10 Pobblebonks in our backyard, a record so far for us in Bendigo. Some observations on burrowing. Mostly they burrow just below the surface, sometimes they just hide under leaves,pots or anything. The holes are only as wide as the frog itself. As it is a burrowing frog, it moves the dirt from behind/below it to in front/above it and it burrows backwards (read end first). Sometimes it will burrow under our pebble garden. Always be careful of digging in garden beds or vege patches as over the years unfortunately we have impaled a couple of pobblebonks with the garden fork. Also they don't stay buried in the same place, they tend to roam but will come back to "favourite" places.
Discovery Centre 29 January, 2012 16:53

Hi Lorna, the incubation period for Banjo Frog eggs can be as little as four days, but they can remain as tadpoles for up to 15 months. Both time periods depend greatly on the ambient temperature at the time.

chantelle 21 February, 2012 08:47
Hi, we have a poddlebonk in our backyard pond. we have our goldfish in there and are just worried that the frog will eat our baby fish. will this be a problem? because we were worried we caught it and took it to a nearby bigger pond but it returned the same night and we don't want to get rid of it again.
Discovery Centre 27 February, 2012 11:10
Hi Chantelle, As far as we know, there are no records of Pobblebonk Frogs eating fish. The goldfish, even babies, are likely to be outside the normal diet of Pobblebonks – their normal diet is worms and insects. The fish, however, are likely to eat the Pobblebonk eggs (if the frogs manage to breed in your pond).
banjo frogs 15 March, 2012 16:59
i live in adelaide and purchased 3 banjo frogs and 2 marsh frogs. I have soil and gravel in the tank with a small water hole, is this ok or should i replacethe soil and gravel with coco peat. Also how much should i feed them and how often, can you over feed them ?. Any information would be appreciated as i want to give them the best conditions possibble. thanks, glenn
Discovery Centre 30 March, 2012 11:57

Hi Glenn,

We forwarded your question to the Museum's Live Exhibits team and they provided the following information:

Banjo Frogs will eat Marsh Frogs unless they are well fed themselves. But if you keep the food up to the Banjos, this shouldn't be a problem. Coco peat is best for burrowing species such as Banjo Frogs, but fine gravel will work just as well and is easier to clean. Soil is not particularly good as the acidity is wrong and soil tends to turn 'sour' over time with constant watering and accumulation of wastes. Frogs tend to stop eating when they are full so you are unlikely to overfeed them, but they are easily underfed. An adult frog will take 8-12 medium-sized crickets per week, and they are best fed three times a week or so. That is 2-4 crickets per feed, and this should only take a minute or two.

John 7 August, 2012 23:05
Hello, I have a banjo frog and he loves to burrow but because hes nocturnal i dont get to see him come out, i was just wondering how often do they come up out of there holes.
Discovery Centre 17 August, 2012 13:06
Hi John, The Museum Victoria Bioinformatics site for Banjo Frogs shows that, in Victoria, this frog is active from September through to April. Banjo Frogs spend most of the year hidden in burrows in sandy soils near dams, wetlands and rivers. They are heard more often than seen. They come out of their burrows only after good rains to feed and call to attract females. The Department Primary Industries webpage on Code of Practice for the Welfare of Amphibians in Captivity provides useful information on keeping these frogs.
Denise 14 October, 2012 10:45
Is this a banjo frog? When we bought some plants these tadpoles came with it. I keep hearing this may be a banjo frog. Here are the pictures. http://www.flickr.com/photos/88587635@N02/ Thank you very much.
Will 7 November, 2012 12:22
Hi, We have been seeing a few eastern banjo frogs in our backyard pond lately. Is there a method for deterring them from coming to the pond. And how do we move the current frogs from our pond. Is translocation an option and if so how far? Thanks.
Discovery Centre 8 November, 2012 13:02

Hi Will, the Department of Sustainability and Environment doesn’t recommend relocating animals for a number of reasons (http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/plants-and-animals/native-plants-and-animals/problem-wildlife), and in some cases it is illegal to do so. The only way to keep them out would be to build a fence around the pond or to drain the pond. If your concern is the noise they make but you still want a pond, you could drain the current one, fill it in, and construct another pond further away from the house.

Having said that, many people build ponds in their backyard specifically to attract frogs, and many wait long periods before they are finally blessed with their presence.

Angela 7 November, 2012 21:44
This is fantastic to hear that there are so many Pobblebonks out there! We have just moved from a farm with lots of dams,in the Dandenongs, and we always heard tons of Southern Brown Tree Frogs, but only rarely heard Pobblebonks.Keep up the great frog spotting everyone!
Jan 11 November, 2012 19:17
This is a FANTASTIC website - well done!; it just helped me identify the frogs that I dig up in my veggie garden every so often - pobblebonks! I'd heard the name pobblebonk, but I honestly thought it was just the title of a children's picture story book named after the sound the frog made.
Bruce 4 December, 2012 21:34
Wanting to (hopefully) attract frogs to my bushy Flemington garden. Have a half wine barrel that I will put plants and some small native fish in to keep the mozzies down. Two questions... Do you think wine residue on the barrel will dissuade frogs and at 50cm high, is the barrel too high to let them in? I thought of draping fronds from a nearby fern over the edge. Great website. Thanks for all the fantastic info.
Discovery Centre 9 December, 2012 11:13

Hi Bruce, the residue in the wine barrel should not be a problem for the frogs. Any active compounds will have evaporated long ago and others will be diluted by the water. It would be safest to rinse it once or twice before use. Make sure that if you use other material to waterproof or re-waterproof the barrel, you'll need to give it an opportunity to off-gas and shoud rinse it well once again.

Fifty centimetres may be a bit high for some frogs, particularly the smaller ground-dwelling species, but if the habitat is desirable they will find a way in, particularly if foliage is draped over the sides. Frogs are accustomed to water being at or below ground level, but many will climb short distances and some common species, such as Peron's Tree Frogs, are regularly found high on tree trunks. If you need the barrel to remain intact for aesthetic purposes, the frogs will adapt if they find the habitat appealing enough.

Serge 10 February, 2013 14:02
Hi, I have been seeing small frog or two in my garden in Melton Vic for the pass few days in the cracks in clay. Last night I came across two big frogs that I first thought was a cane toad but identified from your site as eastern banjo frog. Couldn't believe how big they were and I ended up puting them in a newly watered area of my garden. My question is what kind of pond can a built using a pond liner to keep these frogs multiplying here in my garden. My house is not particularly close to any permanent water source. Any tips would be appreciated?
Discovery Centre 14 February, 2013 09:38

Hi Serge, if you have frogs already coming to your garden, it suggests you may not need a pond. Banjo Frogs and Common Froglets (the two species you most likely have) will live in moist ground or under logs or rocks, or around and under plant pots. A pond will help keep them and possibly attract other species, but for these two it’s not completely necessary.

The type of pond liner will depend on your budget and how long you want it to last. Black plastic liners will do the job, but plastic and fibreglass custom-made ponds will last longer, and concrete or similar material will last a very long time. You can make a usable pond by inserting a plastic tub into the ground, as long as it’s childproof. Unlike other animal groups, frogs don’t seem to mind what the pond is made from. The other important aspect is to put logs and rocks around the pond to give the frogs somewhere to hide that is moist and well sheltered.

Lesley 1 March, 2013 22:06
I have a Pobblebonk living in my small pond, also there are Spotted Marsh Frogs calling incessantly . Every now and then I hear someone calling like a Barking Marsh Frog. I have just heard that Pobblebonks will make that sound sometimes though I can't find reference to it elsewhere. What do you think it might be? I live near Seymour.
Discovery Centre 4 March, 2013 15:22

Hi Lesley - we checked with our Curator of Herpetology, who has responded as follows:

The Spotted March frog has two call races ..... the northern call race (central/eastern Victoria) has been described as sounding a bit like a machine gun with a series of distinct clicks, while the southern call race sounds like two stones being clicked together. I’m not sure where the change between the two occurs but it could be around Seymour – perhaps the enquirer has both races of Spotted Marsh Frogs in their area. An example of both calls can be heard here 

Zane 7 August, 2013 09:50
Hi, I am doing an assignment on the pobblebonk and would like to know some good resources to look at to understand the different sub-species ecological differences with some more depth than the info you have on this web page. All help is greatly appreciated!
chris 24 August, 2013 02:16
Hi have noticed what I believe to be eastern dwarf tree frogs at braeside park and have heard reports of them turning up in peoples ponds se suburbs.small thumb nail sized mostly green flanked with distinctive loud call.
Faye 21 September, 2013 23:00
Every now & again (like today) I find frog/s in my garden. Usually they are Pobblebonks, but I have found Spotted Marsh frogs as well. I want to build a pond to encourage them to stay as I love frogs. Any suggestions about what sort of material I should make the pond out of & what sort of plants should I plant around it.
Discovery Centre 25 September, 2013 11:49

Hi Faye - we checked with our Live Exhibits folk, and they've responded as follows:

Frog ponds have become very popular in recent years and consequently there is a vast amount of information available on the internet. Three good sites are listed below, but there are many more once you start searching.

Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) will burrow into the soil around the pond more so than using the pond itself.

Good resources can be found here, here and here

Lina 13 October, 2013 14:40
Hi, I was digging the mud to plant my plants and a frog jumped out, kids want to keep it, so I got a tall container, put mud in it.. Is this enough to keep it alive?
Discovery Centre 18 October, 2013 10:13

Hi Lina, the Department of Environment and Primary Industry states that it is not permissible to keep a wild-caught specimen as a pet, as dictated by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Wildlife Act 1975.

Ron Young 16 October, 2013 10:26
My granddaughter brought home a raft of Pobblebonk eggs from a dam just a few hundred metres away. I understand that it is illegal, but we put them into our pond, and watched them over 10 days or so change from black dots to wriggling tiny tadpoles. The jelly like raft disappeared, as I assume they digested it, and as they hatched, they swam to the bottom. There were some hundreds of eggs initially, but within two days of hatching starting, I can only find 1 or 2 taddies alive, and none dead, in spite of covering the pond with wire mesh to protect them from birds. Do tadpoles eat each other, or can you suggest any other reason? I's quite a new pond, plastic lined and about 500 mm deep, 1000mm x 600mm surface area.
Discovery Centre 18 October, 2013 11:42
Hi Ron, tadpoles eat a wide variety of food in the wild - whatever's edible that can be found in a pond. Once they reach a certain size, tadpoles will feed on small invertebrates such as mosquito larvae, but the rest of the diet largely comprises algae, freshwater plankton and decaying organic matter. In particular circumstances, when some tadpoles are bigger than others and there is no other food available, they become cannibalistic.The fact that your pond is new and unlikely to have much algae or other food suggests that they may have started eating each other.

In captivity they can be feed a range of food such as egg yolk, vegetables, non-citrus fruits and baby food, but the most successful food is boiled lettuce.

Kylie 17 October, 2013 13:41
We had a male Poddlebonk come visit our backyard pond, calling frequently for a couple of weeks. He is now quiet but we have a lowely raft of eggs. I am worried as this is a fish pond with a filter and goldfish. I don't want to stop the filter as the fish will die, but I am worried the tadpoles will be drawn into the filter and die too. Can I cover the filter intake with a fine mesh to protect the tadpoles? any other ideas?
Discovery Centre 19 October, 2013 10:02
Hi Kylie, it's a good idea to cover the filter, which can be done with any-sized mesh that is smaller than the tadpoles. If the mesh is small and fine, you'll need to check it occasionally to make sure it doesn't get clogged by debris.

The main threat to the tadpoles is the golfish. If the goldfish remain in the pond, you could expect the tadpole numbers to decrease over time.

Barbara 23 October, 2013 16:22
I have a pond in the backyard and there been Peron Cackle frogs calling there for the last 3or 4 yrs. However this year they haven't been calling, instead there are now Pobblebonk frogs calling. Does that mean they have chased away the Peron Cackle frogs?
bob 14 November, 2013 13:39
why do they sound like "pobblebonk" its weird and i hear them at night in greenbank
Jules Ryan 24 November, 2013 08:40
To the wonderful folk at the discovery centre, this is a fabulous resource. Thank you so much. Hooray for frogs ❤️
jamie 4 December, 2013 23:35
hi guys, I was on the D.E.P.I site and I'm unable to read the taxa list (pc problems) I was wondering since the new format with the D.P.I and the D.S.E conjoining did the regulations (schedule 4 I think) change with pobblebonks i.e. do you now require a licence to keep them or are they still under the same schedule as blue tongues, Cunningham's skinks, southern brown terr frogs etc, any help would be appreciated and great work on this site :)
Discovery Centre 24 December, 2013 09:17
Hi Jamie, Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) don’t appear on either the Basic or Advanced Licence on the DEPI website, which can be found here:


Louella 16 December, 2013 18:23
I have received a pobblebonk for a present and I would like to know if its a girl or a boy. is there a way of finding out without going too personal?
Louella 16 December, 2013 18:34
sorry, im here again, just asking my banjo frog has a water aquarium and im wondering when do I make it land with a small pond of water? he has a small stump of tail left if that helps.
Michelle 9 January, 2014 21:57
We have four pobblebonk frogs living in a pond by our front door. The pond is surrounded by fernery and the vegetation is suffering from scale and mites. We wanted to spray the ferns with white oil but are concerned that this will affect the frogs- what can we safely spray our plants without affecting the frogs?
Discovery Centre 16 January, 2014 11:05

Hey Michelle,

White oil is a suffocant rather than a toxin - that is, it suffocates the insects by blocking their spiracles, rather than poisoning them. It is therefore one of the least harmful insecticides and one of the more environmentally friendly. White oil was traditionally made from vegetable oil but modern versions are made from petroleum.

Frogs are very sensitive to insecticides, particularly in the tadpole stage. White oil is not considered biodegradable, and the product's material safety data sheet (MSDS) recommends not using it near waterways, mainly because toxological studies have not been done on aquatic animals.

If you're keen to use white oil, perhaps you could make your own version from vegetable oil - there are a number of simple recipes available on the internet.

Layla 23 August, 2014 14:44
Would it be ok is I were to put gold fish with pobblebonks as a pet or is that bad.also can I keep them in victoria
Discovery Centre 4 September, 2014 12:47
Hi Layla - we checked with our staff in the Live Exhibits and they've indicated that standard goldfish will not harm adult Pobblebonks but they will eat the eggs and tadpoles. Pobblebonks don't require a permit in Victoria, but it's illegal to collect them from the wild.
Natasha 13 September, 2014 19:51
Hi I found a banjo frog today in my front yard just sitting on the path. I would like to release it back to the wild but I'm not sure where I can let him go. I fear my front yard is not suitable as I have almost 3 year old twins who dig I the garden and run around the front. I do have a pond in my backyard but I have 6 chickens that freerange in the backyard. The closest natural wetland is probably 5km away. Is it OK to release it there? We are smack bang in the middle of suburbia, Cranbourne.
Discovery Centre 22 September, 2014 14:28
Hi Natasha, Our Live Exhibits manager says that chickens are opportunistic feeders that will eat almost anything, including small frogs. However, Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) live mostly underground, deeper than where the chickens would find them, and their movements above ground tend to be at night when the chickens are not active. Although chickens might take a small individual, fully-grown Pobblebonks are generally too large for a chicken to tackle.

It's not a good idea (and not legal) to move the frogs to another location. The Pobblebonks have made their own way to your yard and obviously consider it a reasonably good habitat.

Heather 10 October, 2014 18:27
We are very excited to be listening to a pobblebonk call each evening in our backyard in Box Hill. One end of our pond has very dense growth of water plants and we'd love to think eggs could survive there if our goldfish don't find them. The nearest natural water is 500m away in Wattle Park so how this frog crossed busy roads to get to us is a puzzle, we just hope he manages to survive the constant turf war we have in our back yard amongst many large native birds. Last week we watched a kookaburra being driven off by 2 ravens! We don't feed any of these visitors, and assume we just have to wait and see what happens?
Phil 23 November, 2014 09:33
We had some pobblebonk eggs hatch around 15 March 2013, and we still have 5 tadpoles in our pond now 23 November 2014, is this normal,? and how much longer can they stay as tadpoles,as they don't appear to be growing legs..
Discovery Centre 28 November, 2014 11:01

Hi Phil, Pobblebonks are known as being really slow developers as tadpoles. Some individuals will mature really quickly but others take as long as you are finding in your pond. We keep them here at the Museum and the time it takes for one spawn to all metamorphose can be well over a year. They can be quite robust individuals before their hind legs finally appear. Best of luck.

Kate 22 December, 2014 21:10
Hello, we have been given Pobblebonk tadpoles and one is now a tiny frog. I have moved it to another container with coco peat and a saucer of water. I don't know what to feed it as it is much smaller than a cricket etc and have been told that it wont manage them. Can you please advise me? Thanks Kate
Discovery Centre 23 December, 2014 12:11

Hello Kate - whilst no permit is currently required to keep Pobblebonks according to DEPI, in order to keep them they do need to have been originally sourced from captive-bred stock. If the tadpoles and frogs weren't sourced from a licenced breeder and dealer and were instead taken from the wild, then the best (and most legal) option would be to release them to a suitable habitat in the wild.

If they were sourced from a licenced dealer of captive-bred native animals, then this dealer is probably best placed to advise you on their husbandry.

Andrew 15 January, 2015 20:37
Hi, we recently had heavy rain (60mm in just over a day) and as a result all of our farm dams are now full. As a consequence, all of the Pobblebonks seem to have taken the opportunity to get out and breed. Each dam is covered in tiny patches of foamy spawn and the noise is deafening (but wonderful). I assume this isn't the normal time for breeding - will it impact on them later in the year?
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 12:00
Hi Andrew, Australian animals have adapted to our droughts and flooding rains climate by being able to take advantage of the good times. So Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) begin to breed as soon as the rains appear, and will continue to breed as long as the good times continue, similar to musical chairs. When the music stops, and in Australia this could be in one month or a decade, remaining frogs will take measures to ensure their survival until the good times return, but there will be many that miss out on chairs and will not survive. It can seem cruel but it's the animals' way of taking advantage of any opportunity.
renee 16 January, 2015 16:34
Hi I have some tadpoles we saved before a dam area dried up, wondering how I can identify them. South west Victoria they are now over 3 months old. One is 5 cm relatively seethrough with newly developing back legs.
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 11:57
Hi Renee, tadpoles can be difficult to identify, especially to the species level. There is a good book available second hand, 'Tadpoles of South-eastern Australia: A Guide with Keys' by Marion Anstis published by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Otherwise you may need to be patient and wait for the frogs to appear.
Zed 17 January, 2015 23:58
Hey there, We currently have a pobblebonk visitor (happily bonking away) in our very green pool. Now we have discovered that there are now some eggs in there too. We obviously have to clean the pool but don't want a frog death toll. So I was thinking of making a quick little pond as an alternative for them. Quick questions: Does the pond need to be filtered? I was planning on putting some native aquatic plants in there as well if that makes a difference. Is it okay to feed them even though they are not captive-bred? And what do we do with the adult male? I obviously don't want to move him too far but he can't stay in the pool either. Any help would be appreciated! Kind regards Zed
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 11:54
Hi Zed, the Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) have come to your garden because they consider it a good environment to live and produce tadpoles. Therefore they shouldn't need supplementary feeding or any changes to the environment. The green pool will be fine for them, as the tadpoles are algae-feeders, but if you feel the need to clean it for your own benefit the eggs and frog(s) can be shifted out briefly and returned to the pond. Adult Pobblebonks bury themselves most of the time so you'll hear them but rarely see them. The key point is that the frogs have chosen your pond as it is, so it may be best to leave it that way.
Zed 18 January, 2015 15:00
If they were in a pond I would leave them be haha. What I should have said is that they are in our swimming pool and have eggs in the skimmer basket and there are currently at least three adults I can see too. The pump is currently turned off so they aren't in danger at the moment but we want to chlorinate the pool and turn the pump on. I have a one of those blue shells I was going to turn into a pond for the tadpoles. Should I just use the current green pool water for them? It's been left for so long I doubt there are any chemicals left.
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 15:14
Hi Zed, whilst frogs often don't mind the fluoridated water that comes out of the tap, they won't tolerate chlorinated water. In your situation the best option may be to fill the blue shell with water from the pool and transfer all the frogs and eggs into it. You may need to at least partially cover the shell with water plants, mesh or branches to prevent the tadpoles being picked off by birds. It may not be the ideal situation for them but staying in the pool long term is obviously not an option.
Amanda 21 January, 2015 09:37
The house next door to ours is currently empty but has a large pond in the courtyard. There is one lone male banjo frog over there that keeps us awake all night. (We originally thought it was a noise machine or something when the previous tenants were there). Is it possible to call someone and have them relocate it or remove it. It's driving us crazy!!! (I know that some people would love it but unfortunately not us) its a walled courtyard so the noise is amplified quite loudly. Any ideas would be most helpful!
Kerry 10 February, 2015 15:15
Hi I have some tadpoles that have been tadpoles for 17 months now. I am fairly sure they are pobblebonk tadpoles as we have pobblebonk frogs in the garden. Some are quite large but some are still quite small. None show any signs of developing legs and their tails are still quite long. So my question is why haven't they turned into frogs yet?
Keira 15 February, 2015 14:54
Hi, we're from the whittlesea area in melbourne and we have found what looks like a pobblebonk frog in our backyard, we don't have a pond or water but he's been around for a while and finally have actually found him. I was wondering if they like to be able to submerge themselves in water and what the eat? If like to move him to the creek a few blocks away but not sure if this is the best idea! Help, Keira.
Discovery Centre 16 February, 2015 11:30
Hi Keira - Generally, frogs should not be handled or relocated. If it found its way in, it can probably find its way out in search of food, mates or a more amenable habitat if needs be. They like to eat small insects, which gardens usually provide in abundance!
Mary Laslett 28 February, 2015 12:15
We Have a gold fish pond on a bush block in South Aust 2m by 3mm by 50cm deep. Its not a pond we clean very often but twice now we have had baby fish. I think about 2-3 months ago the pobblebonk laid eggs. Yay!!! They have been eating the algae off the sides of the pond. Do they eat mosquito larvae? We removed most of the fish missed a baby or two and allowed the water to evaporate. I read somewhere the less water there is the quicker they turn to frogs. Is this true? How long will it take? Should I put more creek water or rainwater in the pond as its only about 20cm left and the liner has been exposed for weeks now.However frogs get priority. There are a lot of dams around should I spread them around.Please answer many thanks Mary
Discovery Centre 9 March, 2015 11:40

Hi Mary, the fish are more likely to eat the mosquitoes than the tadpoles, which are generally confined to consuming algae. The fish are unlikely to eat the tadpoles but they probably will eat the frogs' eggs. Given that the Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) have found your pond on their own, the best option is to leave them to it rather than spreading them around to other dams, which the frogs themselves may consider unsuitable. Or if the dams are suitable, the frogs will find them on their own.

Pobblebonks are adapted to shallow ephemeral ponds and should be fine as long as there is some water. There are minimum and maximum periods for tadpole development, but these are influenced more by temperature than the amount of water. If the water dries up completely the tadpoles will die so in this circumstance you should feel free to add more water, but otherwise they should do well on their own.


Grace 15 March, 2015 13:08
Digging in a very dry garden bed I found a very bloated dirty looking frog. From what I have gleaned from your other posts I believe it to be a pobblebonk, it was lucky it did not get stabbed by the garden fork I was using. Can I move it to somewhere safer as I might accidentally stab it the next time and I won't be able to sleep at night.
Grace 15 March, 2015 13:14
P.S. As i have several old bathtubs full of water plants and rain water, in my previous comment what I should have asked is that can I move the pobblebonk to a spot in the same area but away from the garden bed where I found it. Learnt alot from your answers and advice.
Discovery Centre 23 March, 2015 15:09

Hi Grace,

The major problems with moving frogs are a) putting them into a habitat that doesn't suit them, b) moving them into another frog's territory, and c) transferring chytrid, a fatal fungal disease. None of these should apply in this case so we can't see any problem in moving them out of your way.

Anna 4 April, 2015 08:23
I have found many Pobblebonks in my vege patch as I dig around. Luckily they are always in one piece and alive. I am worried that one day I'll accidently kill one. Is there anything I can do to discourage them from burrowing in the patch?
jan 12 April, 2015 20:43
I have Pobblebonk tadpoles in my small frog pond, they are 4 months old. Are they able to survive if there is severe frosts and the pond freezes over? Should I put a temporary cover over the pond if there is to be a frost?
Discovery Centre 22 April, 2015 14:46
Hi Jan, our live exhibits manager says that unless the pond is extremely shallow, the Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerilii) tadpoles should be fine. Traditionally frosts occur over many parts of their natural range, and they are adapted to surviving  frosts in a range of different pond types. If you’re still concerned, you can sprinkle hay or similar material over the pond surface to reduce the effects of the frost.
Ang 23 June, 2015 22:31
Hi, we live in an estate and have a man made lake. we used to hear the pobblebonks every night, now we have other frog noises. Could it be they have been driven out by other species of frogs.
Discovery Centre 28 June, 2015 12:06

Hi Ang - we checked this with our Live Exhibits team, who have said there is no record in the literature of Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) outcompeting or being outcompeted by other frog species. Pobblebonks are relatively large frogs, and are unlikely to be intimated by the other, usually smaller, frog species. Some frog species, such as Growling Grass Frogs (Litoria raniformis), will consume other frog species, but the habitats of these two species tend not to overlap and Pobblebonks are generally too large to be eaten by Growling Grass Frogs. There are two possible explanations -  the habitat around your estate may have changed subtly in a way that benefits other frog species over Pobblebonks, or the time of year may have changed from a period dominated by Pobblebonk calls, to a period dominated by the calls of other species.

Randal Woods 29 June, 2015 19:17
hi, I have some pobblebonk tadpoles. I have an advanced licence and have lots of native animals, but this is the first time I have had tadpoles from my frogs. I have separated them into a small tank, and they are doing well. I understand how to look after them, and understand they can take up to two years to change into frogs, but what is the minimum and maximum times they generally take to change?
Discovery Centre 3 July, 2015 12:19

Hi Randall,

The development time for Pobblebonk tadpoles (Limnodynastes dumerilii) depends largely on temperature, and to a lesser extent on available food. The maximum is about two years, although individuals may take longer in unsuitable conditions but never develop into frogs. Last year at Melbourne Museum we kept Pobblebonk tadpoles at ambient temperature (22oC) and they took just three months from eggs to metamorphs.

Tan Nguyen 13 August, 2015 23:56
hi there, i just have a question. If i get a banjo frog as a pet, can i feed it mainly on frozen bloodworms? If not, what is the reason?
Discovery Centre 26 September, 2015 15:30
Hi Tan,

The Victorian Code of Practice for the Welfare of Amphibians in Captivity states that ‘tiny frogs and froglets…will require exceptionally small insects such as …bloodworms’, but that ‘a frog should be given a variety of insects of varying sizes within their diet’. The latter, according to the Code of Practice, include live cockroaches, flies, spiders, moths, mealworms, crickets, bloodworms, grasshoppers and waxworms, all of which are available from the backyard or local pet shop. The Code also states that the prey must be live. Any animal in captivity should be offered a varied diet, as some insects are high in fat, others high in protein, and others have trace elements that are important for development and general health. In principle, frogs prefer live prey and need a variety of prey to cover all their nutritional requirements. Frozen bloodworms do not adequately cover these requirements.

Jane 30 October, 2015 20:01
I have a frogpond in Perth which is currently full of motorbike tadpoles. The first morphed into a frog last week. Then the pobblebonk who has been calling in my garden intermittently since June (I've seen it - it's big) sounded as if it moved to the frogpond and I haven't seen the baby motorbike since :-( Do you think the pobblebonk might have eaten it? Might it also prey on the tadpoles? Even if not, is it likely to eat each one as they morph into little bite size frogs? I love my habitat native garden but it's too sad if this is happening ... Is it likely?
Discovery Centre 2 November, 2015 10:02
Hi Jane,

Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) only occur in southeastern Australia, so either you have an invader from the east coast or more likely it’s a different species. Some frogs will eat adults and tadpoles of other species, and their own species, but Pobblebonks tend to feed exclusively on invertebrates.

Sarah Ashlee 9 November, 2015 17:35
Hi there, I am very pleased to say I have at least 3 pobblebonks in my pond, 2 females and 1 male. They have been in my backyard (which is in suburban Sydenham, Melbourne) for the last 3 years. I really enjoy having them around and take care to make sure the pond continues to be a safe environment for them. After reading the above post I will definitely be freezing some lettuce for them so they can continue to thrive as there seem to be way less mosquitoes since I have had them around. I am also lucky to say I have a blue tongue lizard living in my yard! Is there anything I can do to add to the environment fir my froggy friend the pond is surrounded by rocks which create little alcove areas as well as native plants!
Rachel connors 24 November, 2015 21:29
Well Hi guys I live on a rental property and found little pobble tadpoles on my yard I'd love to keep them however the property is due for a spray in that area. Anyway some school or organization could take them or rerelease them close by?
Chris Towers 22 December, 2015 21:19
My lovely spring fed frog pond has shallow edges fringed with reeds and grass and is 2 metres deep in the middle. Usually by now it is full of tadpoles and judging by the calls I think there are a few resident male pobblebonk frogs. This summer = no tadpoles yet, I did see several egg sacs some months ago. Even though the pond water level is steady could the dry conditions in south west Victoria (Otway Ranges)have adversely affected a development stage of the tadpole? Could the tadpoles not have hatched?
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 10:09

Hi Chris, our manager of Live Exhibits has said Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerilii) populations vary from place to place and year to year. In some years they may be abundant and in subsequent years almost completely absent, dependent on food availability, predator abundance, environmental conditions and a range of other (sometimes undetectable) factors. The dry conditions you describe may have prevented females getting to the ponds, even though you report eggs being present previously, or may have reduced the amount of food available for the adult frogs or tadpoles. If there are any fish in the pond they generally make short work of both the eggs and young tadpoles. As long as the water level remains the same, eggs and tadpoles are not generally affected by dry conditions, and in fact Pobblebonks are one of the many Australian frog species adapted to take advantage of temporary water bodies in dry environments.

Greg Johnston 23 December, 2015 12:19
Hello I have recently had my Eastern Banjo Frog which I have raised from a very small juvenile die. He was approximately two years old and very well looked after with a varied diet of crickets, occasionally dusted with vitamin and mineral powder, flies, cockroaches and mealworms. He was housed in a terrarium with UV lighting and IR heating, with burrowing facilities and two male Green Tree Frogs. I noticed that a few weeks ago he was spending a lot of time in the water absorbing it untill he had a bloated appearance and he was also more amenable to handling, do you have any ideas on what could have caused this or went wrong ? The Tree Frogs are as healthy and robust as ever, Thanks and happy Christmas, Greg.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 09:31
Hi Greg, our manager of Live Exhibits has said Eastern Banjo Frogs, or Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii), spend most of their time underground in the wild and readily and regularly absorb water. The water absorption you describe may be independent of the death of the frog, as it is a fairly common behaviour at the best of times. If the frog was old – 15 years or more – it may have been spending time in water to ensure it was getting sufficient moisture, but your frog was only two years old. Otherwise your set-up sounds ideal for this species and apart from disease (which would also affect the other frog species), there seems to be no other obvious cause of death.
Teresa 9 January, 2016 01:07
Hi, We are relocating tadpoles from our swimming pool to an old bathtub. This is the second lot of tadpoles that have bred in there this year - not exactly sure what happened to the first lot; they had just started to get their legs but we didn't visit the pool for awhile but none seemed to be left. I am pretty sure the remaining tadpoles are pobblebonks - they are much larger than the first ones. First question is : I have read a few blogs that say not to put tadpoles into metal containers even if covered with enamel. Does this apply to old bathtubs? We have filled the bath up with pool water including the muck on the bottom, and are topping it up with bore water. I have two tadpoles left in a plastic container which I don't want to transfer over to the bath yet. Second question : is having a branch sticking out of the water leaning on the side of the bath a sufficient escape route? I also have some live plants hanging over the side. Thanks!
Discovery Centre 17 January, 2016 15:56

Hi Teresa,

Expert opinion is divided over whether tadpoles can be kept in metal containers (even those coated with enamel) or whether tap water can be used for them. Many frog breeders use both metal containers and tap water, but to be safe and guarantee the health of your tadpoles it’s best to use neither. Overhanging plants should be sufficient for the metamorphs to emerge from the water when they’re ready.

Julie 15 January, 2016 18:44
A small Pobblebonk Frog has taken up residence in an old fish tank so I set the tank up in a Frog habitat for him/her. Can you please tell me at what age do the male start calling for a female.
Discovery Centre 19 January, 2016 13:18

Hi Julie,

Male Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) don’t call until they are mature, and how long it takes to get to maturity depends on the amount of food available and the general climate. Tasmanian Pobblebonks, for example, require more time than those in southeast Queensland. Once mature it doesn’t take long for them to start calling, but they only do so between August and April and particularly when thunderstorms are nearby (even if the frogs are inside).

Glenice Brown 3 February, 2016 16:28
I have a frog friendly garden and have let 100s of tadpoles develop in my green swimming pool to the stage of froglets leaving and living in nearby dense garden. These are all common Melbourne froglets. However went out last night with my torch to see a large toady looking frog swimming in my very green pool which may be a Pobblebonk. It reminded me of a cane toad. Browny coloured ,a bit spotty with a pale stripe down its back, rather fat with long legs. No webbing on feet. It didnt look appealing at all and have never seen one before in 40 years here what would it be??. I live in Eaglemont Melb. I need to clean my pool so have put large terracotta water bowls near bush. Will they go here as they will die in my pool if I clean it. Thanks look fwd to a response.
Discovery Centre 24 March, 2016 10:20
Hi Glenice,

Pobblebonks, or Eastern Banjo Frogs (Limnodynastes dumerilii) are common around Melbourne but not regularly seen. They spend most of their life buried in soil, but call loudly and frequently and their call is familiar to many residents around Melbourne suburbs. If you need to empty or clean your pool, you may need to physically transfer the frogs into the terracotta water bowls just before you do it. There’s every chance the frogs will return to the pool as soon as the work is done.

Phil Brewis 5 March, 2016 10:22
Hi I posted here on the 23rd November 2014 re Pobblebonk tadpoles we then had 5 that were hatched in March 2013 there are still 2 tadpoles left about to have their 3rd birthday in our pond at least the have some back legs now is this a record? for a tadpole cheers Phil
Donna 14 April, 2016 21:21
Hi. We have a waterwell pot with a chain of hearts plant which is being affected by scale. It is a very sentimental plant so we want to save it. However the waterwell at the bottom of the pot is home to a frog and we do not want to use a pesticide which will affect the frog. Is white oil dangerous to frogs? Is there another product you could recommend? The plant has gone from very healthy to very sad in 2 weeks. Any advice you can give is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Discovery Centre 16 April, 2016 15:32
Hi Donna, pesticides are known to have a wide range of negative effects on frogs, particularly sex reversal, hermaphroditism (causing them to be male and female at the same time), immunosuppression and delayed metamorphosis, as well as a number of fatal effects. There is not a lot of evidence regarding the impact of white oil on frogs, nor most commercially-available insecticides, but the safest option is not to use it. White oil works as a suffocant on the scale and the oil may run into the water and have the same effect on the frogs. As an alternative, the scale can be removed by hand, which is easy to do but can be time consuming, and boost the health of the plant by adding fertiliser to the soil. These two options will go a long way toward reducing the scale problem and keeping the frogs safe.
john 16 April, 2016 12:11
I have "built" a pond some 1.8mx 1.4mx .300 deep deep,complete with logs as ramps and pond plants. Its been 2 years now and no sign of frogs. I did get some tadpoles from a friends garden pond but they all disappeared and a couple of months ago Purchased some from a person who breeds frogs at home. I kep them ina large container and gradually mixed in pond water to get them aclimatised but they seem to have disappeared. Are frogs/taddies sensitive to ph? We dont appear to have fishing birds near us.
Discovery Centre 25 April, 2016 10:50
Hi John, 

Frogs and tadpoles are sensitive to a range of environmental conditions, which make them excellent animals for environmental monitoring. At the end of the day it may be that the location of your pond, or its temperature, aspect, exposure to sun, water chemical composition or other factors may not be suitable for frogs no matter how many are released into it. Frogs will colonies a garden pond if they are able to get there – that is through a corridor of suitable habitat from existing populations. Unless such a corridor exists, frogs have no way to get there in the first place. But frogs travelling down the best corridors in the world won’t colonise an unsuitable frog pond. In general the pH of a frog pond should be as close to neutral as possible, and all other water parameters should also match rain water.

Keep in mind that it’s illegal in Victoria to keep frogs unless they are purchased from a licenced dealer, even if a licence isn’t required for actually keeping the frogs. And it’s not a good idea to translocate frogs either from other breeders or from the wild, as chytrid is readily spread this way. Chytrid is by far the biggest threat to frog populations worldwide, and by translocating frogs you may be doing untold damage to the local populations. The best option is to set up a frog pond that includes the prime habitat requirements for frogs, encourage wildlife corridors in your local area, and wait for local frogs to colonies it under their own power.

Kelly 1 September, 2016 20:16
I found two of these swimming in my pool in the Albury Wodonga area. I am guessing a male and female. They were huge and on the plus side of 8.5cm. Are they usually found in this area?
Discovery Centre 13 September, 2016 13:28

Hi Kelly,

We checked the Dept. of Sustainability & Environment Our Wildlife Fact Sheet (2010), and it says "The Pobblebonk is found throughout most of Victoria as well as being widespread over the western and northern areas around Melbourne”.

Andrew 12 September, 2016 10:34
I think I photographed a pobblebonk frog in the Adelaide hills over the weekend. Is that likely geographically? From what I can read they are generally found in Victoria.
Mindy 15 September, 2016 20:36
Hi my daughter has two pobblebonks as pets purchased from a local pet store many years ago the live in a very large enclosure and sure enough now we have tadpoles . I'm not to sure how to care for them nor do I know how long it takes them to turn into frogs as I'm reading a mix of opinions . We have had these guys now for 6 months or so they swim around in a container 30 cm long/ wide with 30cm of water. Is this enough? I feed them frozen lettuce and algea pellets. Please let me know what else I can do and if there's anything I'm doing wron. Thank you
Discovery Centre 18 September, 2016 13:09
Hi Mindy, our manager of Live Exhibits has said the time taken for Pobblebonk tadpoles (Limnodynastes dumerilii) to become adult depends on the temperature, quality and quantity of food, and the amount of growing space they’re given. Consequently, Pobblebonk tadpole development can take between 4 and 15 months. The Australian Code of Practice for the Welfare of Amphibians in Captivity states that tadpoles should be kept in “an aquarium with dimensions 60cm by 40cm by 40cm (length by width by height) one third filled with water to support 20-30 small tadpoles, or six to eight large tadpoles providing that adequate food is available and that water quality is maintained”. If the tadpoles are overcrowded, water quality will quickly deteriorate and may kill all the tadpoles at once. The best option is to undertake partial water changes regularly (30-50% of the water body) and if possible to test the water with testing kits available from most pet shops. Keep in mind that if you breed an animal you’re responsible for all the offspring, which in this case should not be released into the wild. Captive populations of frogs and tadpoles may have diseases such as chytrid fungus that can wipe out local frogs if released into natural habitats, and frogs from pet shops will undoubtedly be from a different gene pool, or even different race or subspecies of Pobblebonk to the local frogs. Pobblebonks can live more than 10 years, so if you keep the frogs you take responsibility for letting them breed (or not), and responsibility for the care and welfare of all their offspring. This is particularly important when teaching children about the responsibility of keeping pets.
Nathan 21 September, 2016 10:39
Theres a pond next to my house and i hear them all the time making amazing sounds, but i never see them , will i see them after rain jn the night or is it too cold in septemeber? What tempreutre is it too cold to see them?
Ross Drewe 22 September, 2016 18:27
How old can pobblebonks get? We have one in our garden who is 10-15 yrs old, We know who we got him from, as a tadpole, and roughly when. We have never heard more than 1 male call, and we have never heard any other pobblebonk within kilometres of our house in Hoppers Crossing, over 25 years. We are sure it's the same frog and that he lives alone. He lives in a spa converted to a lily pond, and we have never heard him call from anywhere else. He calls every day for about 8 months of the year, and his bonk rate and loudness definitely increase with temperature (and perhaps day length?)
Discovery Centre 1 October, 2016 10:21
Hi Ross,

Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) will live at least 15 years and closer to 20 years in captivity, but the lifespan in the wild is not generally known. Fifteen years would not be unusual in the right circumstances. The single male may have been on his own because, although your yard is suitable habitat, there are not adequate habitats and wildlife corridors between your property and the nearest pond or swamp. It’s not surprising the male’s call gets louder and more persistent during summer due to the lack of female partners. 

Georgia 27 October, 2016 13:53
What would be a minimum size pond to create for frogs - We live in Kinglake and want to clean out the pool - Pobblebonks galore and others too.... (Also would a frog dry out underground? One of our dogs was playing with something, and it turned out to be a 'mummified' frog - possibly a pobblebonk that was as hard as a rock, but not rotted or anything).
Discovery Centre 28 October, 2016 11:35
Hi Georgia, our Live Exhibits team had this response for you:

Frog ponds can be any size that suits your needs. Many frog species will breed in puddles as long as the water stays around long enough for the tadpoles to complete their development. These days there are many websites with frog pond designs for all circumstances – a quick look on the internet will find more information than you can use. Pobblebonks burrow into soil as adults, but a healthy frog is unlikely to dry out and mummify, as they will readily move if conditions are unsuitable. It’s more likely the frog died of other causes and dried out after death.

Jake 10 November, 2016 17:20
A quick question with tadpoles transforming into frogs. With pobblebonks, at what stage should you remove them from the water and release them into the wild? Please answer as they have 4 legs but they are really really small and still look like tadpoles so I'm not sure.
Discovery Centre 15 November, 2016 13:28
Hi Jake, our manager of Live Exhibits has said keep in mind that it’s illegal to collect frogs from the wild, even if those frogs don’t require a licence, and even if it’s from your own yard. Secondly, releasing captive frogs into the wild can cause many problems. If the frogs are not originally from that area, releasing them can cause problems with the local gene pool which has adapted to local conditions. Even if the frogs are from the same area, they may pick up diseases in captivity (such as chytrid, which is currently devastating frog populations around the world) which are then transferred to wild populations.

Frogs normally become independent and mobile when all four legs are well developed. They will continue to swim whilst they still have a tail, but will begin to make the transition to land as the tail gets absorbed and their diet changes from predominantly vegetarian to carnivorous.

Max 22 November, 2016 17:47
What do the eastern banjo frogs eat as tadpoles
Carol 7 December, 2016 21:37
I have pobblebonks in my pond but very large tadpoles in my pool - 5cm or so and no sign of legs. I'm going to be cleaning the pool in about 6 weeks once some renovations are finished. the pool is covered but if I put in a stick between the cover and the pool edge how long would it take for them to develop legs to get out? I"m assuming they have not developed as they cannot easily get out of the pool.
Discovery Centre 11 December, 2016 10:16

Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii) take up to 12 months to go from egg to adult, but by the sound of the size of your tadpoles they are nearing maturity. Developing legs is actually quite a rapid process, usually only a couple of weeks or less before the frogs can move about on land. These metamorphlings (tadpoles with legs (or frogs with tails)) first climb out onto floating objects or sit right at the pond’s edge before emerging onto land permanently. A number of sticks, or any flat object leaning against the pool edge should help them out.

Hamish 11 January, 2017 09:14
Hello, I'm sure this has been asked already, but there are so many replies here, I can't read them all... We have a fat banjo frog who for weeks kept showing up in our goldfish pond. Having found them drowned on previous occasions, we dutifully fished him out, probably ten times in a few days. He was looking a bit slow last night when released, and this morning he was back in, and rather drowned. It's depressing, given how hard we tried to keep saving him. Why do they keep going back into the water, if they can't live in it? We have lilly pads and sticks to provide safe rafts and ways out, but still, froggie didn't use them. Can we stop them suiciding in our pond, or should we maybe try installing a shelf as a shallower 'safe' section, and have that with additional ladders? We love hearing them at night, but finding them dead is sad, especially for the kids.
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2017 15:14

Hi Hamish,

Even though frogs are amphibious, many species can easily drown in steep sided water bodies. The lily pads and rafts you have provided would definitely work as an aid for frogs to exit the water body, but may not be sufficient for some of the more heavy bodied species, such as Pobblebonks. It is recommended when creating a pond to attract frogs that it is shaped with a gradual slope. The slope should progress through three levels: deep water, shallow water and a damp area. So, by installing a shelf or creating a shallow section, you will hopefully avoid any further issues. 

Hamish 18 January, 2017 16:24
Thank you! The pond came with the house, and this last drowning has shown that despite our 'aids', the frogs are still suffering, so we need to do more. Yes, it has completely straight sides, very un-frog-friendly, so we'll be looking at how to create three levels, as you have suggested. Thank you. :-)
Trace 10 February, 2017 23:00
Hi We think we have a poddlebonk in our pond near our window . It has a loud croak that's been going on for three weeks. We are struggling to sleep and would be happy for frogsbti leave there however we need the croak gone. Without removing him is there a way to stop the noise or use something in the pond to distract it? There is also a female around and a baby but no tadpoles maybe the goldfish are them. We have sort of tried to catch them to relocate however he is quick and we don't want to pull apart our pond. Would a fake snake or a a instrument assist with stopping the croak ?? Please help
Paula 13 February, 2017 00:53
Hi guys, 2 years ago we built a new house and have now got two large ponds up and running, we have about 3 at the ponds and others further around, however you talk about them being in and around Melbourne we are in York a wheatbelt town in WA. I know they are banjos because lets face it nothing else sounds like them, or are they?
Discovery Centre 13 February, 2017 16:21
Hi Paula,

Without an image of the frog we can't be sure, but you've probably got a western banjo frog (Limnodynastes dorsalis) which has a very similar sounding call to the eastern banjo frogs.
PETA 16 February, 2017 11:53
Hi, I work at a childcare centre where we are lucky enough to have a large backyard and we have found pobblebonks in our sandpit. We usually find a big one but now have found a smaller frog too. We want to know how can you tell if they are female or male?
Discovery Centre 17 February, 2017 12:06
Hi Peta! Our volunteer research team have dug up the following facts for you.

The male Pobblebonk frog is smaller than the female.  The male calls from August to April, especially after heavy rain.  The male has an inflatable vocal sac beneath its lower jaw to amplify its call; when it is not calling the skin is thin and baggy.  The skin of the vocal sac is pigmented for camoflage, generally a yellow or black colour and different to its belly.  The throat of the female is white as it is not exposed.  The toes of the male can have raised black pads called nuptial pads.  Sometimes the female toes have a fringed appearance.  The female will lay a raft of eggs in still water.  The Australian Museum has a very good explanation on how to identify male and female frogs.

Natalie 21 March, 2017 22:03
Hi, we have today discovered what we think are pobblebonk frogs in our backyard, due to, we assume, the humid and wet weather we have. However we have a dog who keeps trying to eat them and foaming at the mouth as a result. We're extremely worried about his safety when we're not home. Firstly, are these frogs poisonous and second, how do we kindly get them out of our backyard? Thank you!
Kirsty 12 June, 2017 17:27
We are looking at purchasing these frogs ,I have a four foot tank how best is it to set tank up I have a few ideas but not 100% any help would be appreciated:)
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