Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson

'Frogarium' hopping to Coffs

‘FROGARIUM’ is a word that cannot be found in the dictionary... yet. Peter Johnson hopes it will soon become a very familiar term for Coffs Coast residents

Peter’s Frogarium Coffs Harbour boast's 23 species of frogs – including three that are highly endangered – and it will open to the public at Boambee’s Garden Mania Nursery from 10am to 4pm on Easter Monday, April 5.

Visitors to the Frogarium will be able to see the Giant Barred frog and the Coffs Coast’s own endangered frog, the Green and Golden Bell frog that so famously disrupted construction of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games village after its discovery in a quarry on the site.

Peter also has two other bell frogs from Western Australia and many other less-threatened species.

And his froggie claim to fame? Peter is the only person who has ever managed to breed the Giant Barred frog in captivity. 

The Giant Barred frog sprays its eggs on the roofs of caves, where they cannot touch water until the tadpole forms.

The bell frogs are aquatic frogs which also sunbake like a lizard and Mr Johnson, who has been breeding frogs since 1985, was one of the first to notice and report the disappearance of the now-famous Green and Golden bell frogs in the early 1980s.

He has since successfully bred the frogs at Coffs Harbour and reintroduced their offspring to Pambula on the NSW South Coast, where they had been extinct for 25 years.

The Frogarium is housed in an attractive conservatory-style structure designed and built by Garden Mania joint owner Peter Young.

Garden Mania co-owner Prue Young said the frog project, with one of Australia’s most highly regarded frog breeders, was a world first.

There will be a ‘reasonable’ charge for Frogarium entry and visitors will have to walk through a foot-bath to keep any dangerous chytrid fungus out of the facility.

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