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Frogs have often received a bad rap in the past through their associations with low lying swampy ground alongside urban areas.

Typically these were the places that became the open cesspit of all the untreated effluent draining into them and remarkably species like the striped marsh frog were still able to survive there.

Its distinctive call is a loud 'tok' or 'whuck', which sounds very much like a tennis ball being struck. When associated with the appalling stench that surrounded urban swamps in the 1800s, this meant frogs were commonly left with something of an image problem.

Today however frogs are making a comeback in the public mind. Frogs eat insects. Overall they account for the vast daily consumption of pest species like mosquitoes. They also eat other small invertebrates and play an important role in maintaining the balance of nature.

But something is happening to the environment, both within Australia and internationally, that is alien to frogs. In the 21st century frog populations have declined dramatically, even in supposedly uncontaminated environments such as national parks. Something in the environment is killing the world's frogs.

Frog decline gives us a warning that environmental changes are taking place and that it is in our own interests to take heed of this potential tragedy.


Natural insect control

One of the most important things we can do to help protect our local waterways is to reduce the use of chemicals around our domestic spaces.

The power of working in with natural solutions to deliver pest control was strikingly outlined in this newspaper article from 1925 recalling the benefits of keeping pet frogs around the home.

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We note the increase of that cordially hated and most ancient insect the cockroach. All that harassed householders need to do is to keep a half a dozen pet frogs, any one of which will go nearer to eating 20 cockroaches in one night than in a week. Not long ago I lived in the far north and in my kitchen were cockroaches - not numerous - but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. They were huge and exceedingly clever and difficult to manage. But one wet season a large green frog when he was not engaged in the adjacent lagoon choir singing “Got war-ter” used to come in and sit on the edge of the sink, patient, motionless and exceedingly stupid looking. Then along would come a cockroach, and hey presto! Mr frog would simply flash across the space between them and with admirable dexterity and precision scoop the roach down his capacious mouth down which with many unavailing kicks it would disappear never to be seen again. As far as I can learn the frog wears no stain on his character. ON the other hand the whole hearted joyfulness of the combined efforts of their musical unions when they let themselves go on a wet day is enough to cheer and enhearten all the pessimists in the municipality into optimists and everyone knows there is nothing like a cheerful mind to make and keep folks well so let Brisbane keep frogs and take courage!

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