As more and more people become active ‘froggers’, it is important that we all maintain good practice whilst out in the field frogging around. There are several considerations to take seriously that I for one, as do most other people I know keep in high regard.
The first is practicing good hygiene protocols. I’m not talking about a shower before you go out, but rather making the effort to clean your gear (i.e. gumboots, dip-nets and any other gear that comes into contact with frogs and water at a site) to try and prevent the possible spread of amphibian disease between sites. Chytridiomycosis, or simply chytrid is one such a deadly disease and it is imperative that it is not spread between sites. This document by the Department of Environment and Climate Change in NSW is a good place to start for a more thorough understanding of frog-friendly protocols.
The second is the good ol’ ‘look but don’t touch’ policy. Whilst for identification purposes frog handling may be required, this is usually carried out by someone appropriately qualified to handle frogs – and even then powder-free gloves are usually required. I and most other people I know out frogging are simply out to observe and sometimes document our natural native beauty, therefore we are not interested in collecting specimens for a personal collection or breeding purposes etc. These activities are illegal without the appropriate licenses, but even then it is far better to leave native animals than keep them in captivity.
The third good practice is a personal preference rather than found in legislation concerning frogs. Although once I was certainly guilty of doing so, I try and keep photographs of each individual to a minimum. I’ll explain; you may have seen photos where the pupils of a frog become constricted… (see photo, right).
This occurs as the frog reduces the amount of bright light entering its eye (like you do when your bedroom light is turned on in the middle of the night). There are but a few studies into the affect this has on frogs; none of which suggest it can be a good thing for them, short-term at least.There is usually more than one individual of the same species around anyway so I’ll find another if I haven’t yet achieved the shot I’m happy with. I think it makes for a poorer photo with constricted pupils, too.