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Wellington Zoo Hops into Action

Media Release
29 March 2005

Wellington Zoo Hops into Action

Wellington Zoo has something to jump up and down about with the introduction of 13 Southern Bell Frogs to an on-display enclosure beside the Lemurs.

While the Frogs have been off display due to space issues, visitors to the Zoo now get a ‘warts and all’ experience where they can view these slimy creatures hopping around.

Aptly called the ‘Southern Bell Frog’ for its bell-like croak, those who have camped beside a swamp or a slow moving river, may find the sound to be strangely familiar as these frogs usually live in such areas.

The Frogs are renowned for their loud bell croaks during their active night time behaviour as well as during breeding season.

“They croak loudly to attract the opposite sex” says Wellington Zoo Herpetologist, Laurent Van Ham.

“The males are usually smaller than the females and both are preyed upon by bird species including the Heron and Ibis”.

While the Frogs are not currently reproducing, should they reproduce in the future, their offspring would move to the Zoo’s newly constructed Scaly Nursery to grow with the aid of specialist lighting and temperature control along with other reptile babies.

Most active at night, the Frogs naturally live in swamps, but can climb trees as well.

The Zoo has replicated the Frogs’ natural environment in their new enclosure which has been developed with plants and ferns and has a pond for the Frogs to swim. In addition, a sprinkler system operates twice daily to maintain the Frogs’ damp bodies.

Although native to Australia, these Frogs have been introduced to New Zealand and seem to flourish here. They are not considered a pest species but they can pose a problem for native Frogs as they utilise the same habitat.


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