Moaning Frog

Heleioporus eyrei

Did You Know?

  • Males don’t have the nuptial spines found on the first or second fingers of other Heleioporus species
  • Common in and around Perth and are frequently heard calling in gardens adjacent to wetlands
  • Named after Edward John Eyre who with his Aboriginal Guide was the first white person to walk across the Nullarbor Plain in 1841
FactBox Image

The moaning frog is a burrowing frog native to south-western Western Australia. This frog is quite rotund, with a large head and bulbous eyes.

Brown or slate back with irregular yellow patches. Males have large limbs but show no distinguishing sexual features.


Densely mottled with black and gold. Have a red or gold vertebral stripe and curved lateral line.

Distinctive feature

Irregular patches of dull yellow or grey.


Males 3.3 – 6.6 cm, females 4.6 – 6.3 cm.



A long and rising slow moan. Males usually call from the breeding burrow.

Listen to the Moaning Frog call © Dale Roberts


Mostly invertebrates


Travel large distance to breeding sites and are often seen on roads following autumn rain


Clutches of 80 – 500 eggs are laid in a burrow dug at an angle to the horizontal land surface. Larvae hatch and remain in the foamy egg mass until the burrow is flooded. Tadpoles feed for several months. Metamorphosis is usually in September or October.

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What to Observe

  • Calling

  • The appearance of tadpoles

Climate Adaptations

We expect Moaning Frogs to start calling and breeding later in the year due to later autumn rains in the South West of Australia.

They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • March - August
  • Males call in response to declining temperature
  • Large choruses are most common for a month or so after the first rains in autumn in areas that flood later in winter

Where To Look

  • South West Australia, coastal and near coastal districts from Geraldton south and east to Cape Arid and inland to Marchagee, Corrigin, Jerramungup and Gobson Soak
  • Also found on Rottnest Island and Bald Island
  • Look and listen in swamps with sandy soil and often heard calling in suburban gardens.
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What Else?

Similar Species

This frog can be distinguished from other Heleioporus species by its size, call and lack of nuptial spines.