Hochstetter's frog

Surviving... but only just!

Of the four surviving species, the Hochstetter’s frog is the most common but it’s still in trouble. With the support of the Native Frog Recover Group, Hamilton Zoo has set up a captive group to study and try to improve the captive breeding success rate.

Did you know?

Frog identifier

Our native frogs are very different from the introduced frogs. They have no external eardrum or vocal sacs, so they don’t croak regularly like most frogs. Instead they let out a high pitched squeak when hurt or distressed. Hochstetter’s frogs are the only semi-aquatic native frog and they have a tadpole stage.

Enclosures at Hamilton Zoo

The enclosure at Hamilton Zoo replicates the Hochstetter’s frog’s natural environmental. We have four separate areas set up to house frogs. Each enclosure is made up of pebbles, clay and plants collected from Maungatautari, a known Hochstetter’s habitat. A rainwater collecting system provides a rainstorm effect within the enclosure during wet periods which triggers breeding activity. Water goes through chillers to manage the temperature.

Frog monitoring and breeding

There is daily monitoring of the enclosures and every two months the enclosures are checked and the frogs measurements and weights taken. We have had small successes. After a spell of wet weather in April 2009, the frogs laid some eggs, but sadly they were infertile. In March 2010 40 eggs with 25% fertility were laid, and 9-10 tadpoles resulted.

Where we live

New Zealand’s native frogs are not swamp or pond dwellers. Three of the species live in shady, moist, undisturbed forests, while the Hochstetter’s frog lives a semi-aquatic life on stream edges.

Finding me

Native frogs are small, well-camouflaged and nocturnal, and very hard to find. Hochstetter’s sit very still so their predators cannot see them. They shelter by day in wet crevices or under stones or logs close to the water’s edge in shaded streams.

Help me survive

There are three introduced Australian species of frog in NZ. Green and gold bell and southern bell frogs and the Brown tree frog. These frogs could spread the amphibian chytrid fungus disease and people are encouraged not to move these frogs between ponds, lakes or wetlands.

Hochstetter's frog

Around 1000 years ago, before people arrived in NZ, there were at least seven species of native frogs.