Despite the pressure frogs are under in modern-day Australia, there are many things we can do to protect them even in urban backyards. Backyards with a lot of vegetation will attract frogs, especially if there is a water source. However, frogs are sensitive and absorb water and chemicals that their skin comes into contact with. For this reason, it is important not to use pesticides on plants when providing a safe habitat for frogs. You can find more information on frog friendly gardens here.
Although Australian frogs are threatened by human development, they still frequent many backyards
An easy and small frog environment that can be created by almost anyone, and installed in the smallest of gardens or courtyards, is a "frog hotel". This project is ideal for parents to include their children in, and is a great introduction to the principals of conservation. Alison Begnell created this set of easy step-by-step instructions, and although she doesn't have a website she generously gave me permission to include it in this article.
Frog hotel instructions courtesy of Alison Begnell
We began our frog hotel, which we decided to name "Hop Inn", with a trip to Bunnings. Here we purchased a pot that was tall enough to deter cane toads, PVC pipe (some people choose to use bamboo, but as frogs can apparently get splinters from this we went with PVC), a variety of stones, and a pond loving plant. We already had a variety of solar lights at home in our camping gear, so we didn't purchase a new one. This small project can be a great way to recycle various old pieces of garden equipment.
When we got home we chose a shady part of the garden and plugged the hole in the bottom of the pot with rubber foam (silicone also works well for this). We then began to lay the stones. Once they filled the bottom of the pot, we added the pond-loving plant and PVC pipes, before stacking more stones up around them.
Following this, we filled the pot with water, to just above the level of the plant's soil, and installed the solar light so that our frog hotel includes a restaurant. At night we hope this light will attract insects, that will, in turn, attract hungry frogs. We then checked each pipe to ensure that water from the bottom of the pot was filling the bottom of the pipe to create the humid environment that frogs love.
Installing a solar light adds a restaurant to your frog hotel by attracting insects