Australian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae - Sandhill Frog (arenophryne Rotunda): Species Accounts
Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAustralian Toadlets and Water Frogs: Myobatrachidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Australian Toadlets, Water Frogs, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE
Physical characteristics: The sandhill frog, which also goes by the name of round frog, is a chubby little creature with toad-like features. It has a round, somewhat flat body with small hind legs and short, but strong front legs. The first toe on each of the unusually wide front feet is very small. The tiny head has a short, rounded snout with a hard, callous-like tip. Sandhill frogs are usually very light gray with darker gray and sometimes rust-colored speckles on the warty head, back, and legs. They also have a narrow, light-colored, sometimes hard-to-see, stripe down the middle of the back. Males and females look alike. Females grow to 1.1 to 1.3 inches (2.8 to 3.3 centimeters) long from snout to rump, and males usually reach 1 to 1.3 inches (2.6 to 3.3 centimeters) in length.
Geographic range: Sandhill frogs live along the ocean in far western Australia from Kalbarri to Shark Bay and Dirk Hartog Island.
Habitat: Sandhill frogs live in desert-like sand dunes along the ocean's coast and stay underground during the day. At night, when the air is more humid, they look for food on land. Unlike most other frogs, this unusual species does not need any ponds, streams, or even puddles of water to survive. Instead, it gets most of its moisture from the damp sand underground.
Diet: Their diet includes ants, beetles, spiders, and other arthropods.
Behavior and reproduction: A sandhill frog digs head first into the sand, making good use of its hard snout and strong front legs. It stays underground during the day, digging deep enough to reach damp sand. At night, it crawls out of the sand and starts looking for food. It does not hop, instead walking across the dunes and leaving tiny, wide-spaced footprints behind. The males call from April to July, which is late fall in Australia, but do it underground. The males and females pair up, sometimes with several pairs in the same place, and the females lay their eggs from September to December, also underground and usually about 31.5 inches (80 centimeters) deep. The young skip the tadpole stage, and froglets hatch out of the eggs.
Sandhill frogs and people: Most people only see this animal's footprints, rarely the frog.
Conservation status: This frog is quite common in the sand dunes where it lives and is not considered to be at risk. ∎
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