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The Stuttering Frog (Mixophyes balbus) has a call like a kookaburra in a hurry: ‘kook kook kook kra-a-ak… kruk… kruk’.  Quite a chunky frog (up to 8cm in length), it is also known as the Southern Barred Frog because of the stripes on its arms and legs.  

Stuttering Frogs live near fast-flowing streams in the wet forests along the east coast of Australia, from north-eastern Victoria to southern Queensland.  They are found at a range of altitudes, from 20m to more than 1400m above sea level.  Stuttering Frogs have only been found in Victoria on three occasions, and may now be extinct in this state.

Many populations of Stuttering Frogs have disappeared.  Possible causes include:

  • Changes in habitat due to logging, grazing and land clearing

  • Chytridiomycosis – an infectious disease caused by chytrid fungus fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) which infects the skin of frogs and other amphibians.  Chytrid fungus has been linked with declines and extinctions of frogs worldwide.  Once a population is infected, there is no effective way of controlling this disease

  • Introduced fish, which prey on Stuttering Frog eggs and tadpoles

Saving the Stuttering Frog

Zoos Victoria is working to change the fate of threatened species and is committed to Fighting Extinction – we will ensure that no more Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species become extinct.

Recent genetic studies indicate that there are two distinct forms of Stuttering Frog. Zoos Victoria is focusing on the southern form and will continue to breed this form in captivity to maintain an insurance population.  We are also developing a plan to collect more tadpoles to increase the genetic diversity of the captive population. 

How can you help?

  • Wash for Wildlife – Buy phosphate-free laundry detergent, dish-washing detergent and surface cleaner.  Excessive phosphates from our drainage affect frog habitat by reducing water clarity, oxygen levels and increasing algal blooms.  Your phosphate-free purchase will help improve the health of our waterways, making them a better place for frogs and other wildlife.
  • Visit one of our three zoos - Zoos Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation - we rely on the support of our visitors and members. By visiting Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo or Werribee Open Range Zoo, you will be supporting our work to fight extinction
  • Act Wild - Join the growing number of Wild Activists taking action for local wildlife. You can get grubby, get creative and find out about local conservation events.

Plans and publications

M. balbus
Found in 
East coast of Australia from the northern tip of Victoria to southern Queensland
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