The unusual trend taking over yards
You would be forgiven for thinking it's a tad bit bizarre, but "frog hotels" are a thing and people are obsessed.
As one scroll through the Bunnings Mums Facebook page shows, DIY lovers have found a new hobby and they're not afraid to show off it off.
If you're not familiar with the idea (neither were we 24 hours ago), "frog hotels" are adorable man-made homes for our four-legged amphibian friends that are made from PVC pipes, a bowl and plants.
Basic PVC pipes start at around $9 in Bunnings, while bowl and plant costs vary depending on how luxurious you want to make it (after all, even the slimiest and croakiest of guests deserves a little pampering).
"I jumped on the frog hotel bandwagon. Pot, pipes and pebbles from Bunnings," one woman posted online.
"First guest checked in to our frog hotel. She's a good size. I hope she's come for confinement," another frog lover wrote along with a photo of her creation.
Some have kept their designs basic by sticking a few pipes into a pot while others have decorated their "hotels" with a variety of plants, a water feature and solar lights.
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While it may sound unusual, the idea is to encourage more tree frogs to visit Aussie gardens and give them a safe place to live in.
"People are used to building backyard ponds and that's a place for frogs to breed in and it's amazing, but they also need shelter," Dr Jodi Rowley, frog biologist at the Australian Museum tells news.com.au.
"Most don't live in ponds so these 'hotels' are a great place for them to feel safe and to sleep in."
Frog hotels are strictly for tree frogs (Litoria species) as they can easily climb up pipes due to the suction pads on the ends of their fingers which are called 'toe pads'.
Any other kind of frog wouldn't manage to find its way out.
However, while tree frogs are a more common species in areas such as Brisbane and Darwin, Dr Rowley said they have disappeared in places like Sydney.
"So providing these frog habitats can stop them disappearing especially on the outskirts of Sydney," she said.
In some parts of Australia, the frog habitat is declining due to the pressures of urbanisation and land clearing, according to Wildlife Queensland and in that state alone more than 30 frog species are currently listed as endangered or vulnerable to extinction.
In other words, these frog hotels are a real conservation benefit, especially for the tree frog, which means you need one in your backyard.
HOW TO MAKE A FROG HOTEL
Dr Rowley said there is various ways to make a frog hotel, from sticking it in a pot plant to building it in your pond.
"Cut several PVC pipes at about 20cm and make sure they are open at both ends. Bury it enough in the dirt so it is firm and stable," she advised.
"You can spruce it up and have several different sizes because the smaller frogs like a more snug fit but usually a cluster of the pipes work well because they can find their preferred room that way."
Don't forget to add water, Dr Rowley reminded.
She said there are no rules when it comes to design but advised Aussies to avoid toxic paint and choose a location out of the sun, in a moist area.
Originally published as Unusual Bunnings trend taking over yards