Although you may still hear the odd croak from an amorous Northern Pacific Treefrog, they’ve slowed down after singing their hearts out nearly every night from late February to mid June. Males call to attract females and defend their place in
the pond, and they expend a lot of energy doing so. Research scientists have shown that some frogs expend 10 to 20 times more energy singing than resting. Weighing less than 5 grams and keeping the airwaves filled with “ribbet ribbet” for three and a half months is quite a feat. It’s time for a well-deserved rest! Many of you may agree – some folks don’t enjoy the “racket” caused by frogs over the course of the spring months… others love it.
I venture that true West Coasters are well accustomed to loud ambient noises like the foghorns of Amphitrite Point and Lennard Island, California Sealion barking, the cries of Bald Eagles, and now the “whoo whoo whoo” of Collared Eurasian Doves outside our windows.
Anyways, as the cacophony from our native frog diminishes, it is time to keep an ear open for a potential invader of the west coast -the introduced American Bullfrog. It sounds like a fog horn – a moaning deep bellow that has been likened to “jug-o-rum” or “brrruu-rummm”. We do not expect to hear them – none have been positively detected west of Sproat Lake to-date, and we hope they don’t arrive. They were introduced to BC over 50 years ago for meat farming and then escaped/released into the wild. Once they become established in a pond, they consume large numbers of crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, turtles, birds and even small mammals. A bullfrog, recently caught in Port Alberni, weighed 3 pounds and stretched over 2 feet from snout to toe tips – imagine how much native wildlife it would consume each day! The best way to prevent bullfrogs from becoming established is to convince people (especially children) NOT to move tadpoles or frogs from one pond to another. We also want to train people to keep an eye/ear out so that they can report the first arrivals to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org We would humanely catch and remove the first arrivals after making sure that they are not our native species of Red-legged Frogs or Western Toads.
For more information, check out the Bullfrog Project website at UVic -http://web.uvic.ca/bullfrogs/or contact your local wetland stewardship group at email@example.com.
Biologist Barb Beasley is looking for frog surveillance help.
If you are interested in volunteering to help with surveillance, please attend the Bullfrog Workshop, Monday June 30th at 7:00 pm at the Ucluelet Community Centre. The workshop is sponsored by the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.