The Washpool is an amazing relict rainforest in the higher country of northern NSW, home to some truly bizarre animals. We spent two nights checking out everything from a deadly snake to a very strange cousin of the spiders- an oplionid and even a most unlikely predator – the strange velvet worm. Frogs of course were the main target and we managed to find one of the most unusual – the marsupial frog – a species that carries its young in pouches!
So sit back and enjoy!
The rough scaled or Clarence River snake (Tropidechis carinatus) is extremely venomous and feeds on frogs and reptiles.
Marsupial frogs (Assa darlingtoni) are remarkable. Only 2cm long, they have two hip pockets that act as pouches for developing young, like a kangaroo! … well sort of.
The beautiful glandular tree frog is becoming rare overall.
Male glandular tree frogs are very variable.
In this episode, Phil Lewis and Nathan Litjens head for Armidale, NSW. We take a break to look for some snakes and in the process find some cool critters:
The Watagans forest is a mix of state forest and national park in the hills of central NSW. It’s a plot of ancient rainforest and is home to a massive variety of frogs and other rainforest life.
The black soled frog is a cannibal. The tadpoles eat each other until the strongest can morph into frogs.
The tusked frog is unusual. Males have large sharp tusks in the lower jaw. Other unusual features include the fact males are much larger than females.
The red backed toadlet lives in the damp leaf litter of the forest edges.
One of the largest and most spectacular ground frog is the giant barred frog.
The most adaptable of the barred frogs is the great barred frog. It can breed in many water sources from creeks to dams.
The revealed frog has a weird whirring call, hence the alternative name of whirring tree frog. Males turn yellow at night to make them easier for females to see in the moonlight.
One of the most beautiful of all tree frogs is the lemon or Blue Mountains tree frog. Males make a strange call consisting of a harsh croak followed by a sound rather like a golf ball going down a hole.
Well Phil Lewis and myself (Nathan Litjens) here head off to central Victoria to a town at the base of the mountains. Eildon has a heap of family history for me, and unfortunately the footage of the town taken on the GoPro corrupted (the Hero 4 when it comes had better be a real improvement in terms of reliability…) Anyway we did find what we wanted, on a very well worn path no more than 100m from the major road were a bunch of spotted tree frogs (Litoria spenceri) who have rarely been recorded, but we took it a step further with some video of one calling! Maybe for the first time ever?
We were very careful with how we went about things, with hygiene practices in place. Getting the frogs in situ as they were naturally was very important as disturbing them would have meant no recordings. Also we made sure our boots were sterile. However this is a place heavily used by fishermen and trail riders/walkers all of which may not be going to the lengths we did. So kick back and enjoy!
The first one was found sitting on a rock stream side. Seemed to be a sub adult as it was quite small.
This one was found sitting on this branch calling. Most males of this species call from behind debris.
Lyrebirds are famous the world over for being able to imitate almost any sound. This is a young male Superb lyrebird practicing for being an adult and calling in the ladies. Listen to the sounds he makes: