Can you hear frogs in your local areas? There’s a chance that you've heard the call of the endangered Growling Grass Frog.

Many people are surprised to discover that our neighbourhoods still provide important habitat for many threatened species. Growling Grass Frogs, fondly known as ‘Growlers’, were once widespread, but have become less common since the 1990s. In 2002, they were declared endangered in Victoria as their numbers continued to decline.

We’re calling on all Melbournians to help our researchers by recording frog calls in their local waterways.

Growling Grass Frogs are a bright to olive-green colour, with a warty back. Adults also have brown blotches. While they may be seen basking in the sun, you’re more likely to hear the males’ distinctive growling call after rain between September and March.

Image of a growling grass frog on a stick

Image of a cellphone with a frog on the screen

Growling Grass Frog example call. Call attribution: Ed McNabb (Ninox Pursuits)

Get involved

Getting involved is easy, fun, and importantly helps scientists gather information to protect this iconic species. All you need is a smartphone and the Melbourne Water Frog Census app [Android/iPhone] to start recording frog calls. A frog ecologist will listen to every recording you submit on the Frog Census app and notify you if you have recorded a Growling Grass Frog.

Anyone can contribute, whether it’s a single recording or dozens, as you listen in for Growlers around your local waterways. We’ve created an interactive site map to help you find publicly accessible sites to get you started. Every recording helps, even if you don’t record Growlers! For extra merit points, you can help by sharing your involvement with friends and family. And if they ask where you’re going, remember to say you’ve ‘Gone Growling’ (for social media use #GoneGrowling and tag @delwp_vic).

This project is led by researchers at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, in partnership with Melbourne Water and DELWP’s Melbourne Strategic Assessment team. Our researchers are surveying several sites, with a focus on the Merri Creek and Darebin Creek areas. Your observations will complement expert surveys to help us understand if our actions to protect the species are successful. The Victorian Government is currently protecting natural habitats, building new wetlands and removing barriers to frog movements to support the species.

Through this program we hope to build awareness of the Growling Grass Frog, encourage locals to value threatened species that live nearby and build knowledge to protect the species future.

The results are in!

The 2021-22 survey season results are in. Check out where our citizens scientists and researchers recorded Growlers across greater Melbourne. To find out when the next survey season starts, subscribe the Gone Growling Newsletter.

Gone Growling Newsletter

For updates on this project, you can register for the Gone Growling Newsletter. You can find past editions of the newsletter in the resources section below.

Reminder: Good habitat for frogs can also be great for other species such as snakes and lizards. Please be alert and stay on the path for both your own and wildlife’s safety. It’s also safer to take a buddy if you’re heading out at night and telling someone where you are going and when you will get back.

COVID Safety – Before you go, consult the Victorian coronavirus (COVID-19) website and the VicEmergency website or app for the latest information. Make sure you’re up to date.


Page last updated: 22/08/22