Heleioporus australiacus Click to enlarge image
Giant Burrowing Frog 13.2 Image: R & A Williams
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australiacus
    Genus
    Heleioporus
    Family
    Myobatrachidae
    Order
    Anura
    Subclass
    Lissamphibia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    9 cm - 10 cm

Introduction

Sydney's largest frog, the Giant Burrowing Frog, is an impressive amphibian.

Identification

The Giant Burrowing Frog is sometimes mistaken for the Cane Toad (Bufo marinus) because of its size and warty appearance. The easiest way to tell if you're looking at a Giant Burrowing Frog or a Cane Toad is to look at the eyes. The Cane Toad's eyes have a horizontal pupil with a gold iris. The Giant Burrowing Frog's eyes have a vertical pupil with a silver-grey iris.

Habitat

The Giant Burrowing Frog lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

Distribution

The Giant Burrowing Frog is found throughout Australia



Feeding and diet

Adult Giant Burrowing Frogs travel widely in search of food, which includes spiders, centipedes, insects, crayfish and even bull ants.

Communication

Giant Burrowing Frogs give an owl-like hoot call.

Breeding behaviours

During the summer, male Giant Burrowing Frogs use their powerful spade-like back legs to dig deep burrows into creek banks. From here they give an owl-like hoot to attract females, giving them their other name, the Eastern Owl Frog. After mating, the females lay eggs in a foamy nest in the burrow. The tadpoles that develop are washed into the creek during heavy rain.

Conservation status

Like many amphibians, populations of the Giant Burrowing Frog are thought to be in decline.