Voracious feeders and breeders: Bullfrogs flourishing with Greater Victoria’s weather

An American bullfrog in Thetis Lake park on Sept. 18. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)An American bullfrog in Thetis Lake park on Sept. 18. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)
Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Musuem holds a big American bullfrog on a research trip in California. (Courtesy of Gavin Hanke)
American bullfrogs lurk underwater in Thetis Lake Park on Sept. 18. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)American bullfrogs lurk underwater in Thetis Lake Park on Sept. 18. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)
American bullfrogs are invasive and were introduced to the province when farming operations started raising the amphibians for frog leg meat. Pictured is an American bullfrog sitting on a log in a pond near Mill Hill in Langford. (Courtesy of Gavin Hanke)
Currently, the CRD’s focus is on stopping American Bullfrogs from spreading further westward into the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area via Humpback Reservoir. Pictured is an American Bullfrog floating in a pond near Mill Hill in Langford. (Courtesy of Gavin Hanke)

Recent warmer days may have caused some to sweat, but the current climate is set to be a boon for invasive American bullfrogs this year.

Greater Victoria’s weather over the past couple of years has more closely resembled the natural range of the invasive amphibian, which normally lives in eastern North America, mainly the U.S. but some southern portions of Ontario and Quebec.

This means the frogs may be more abundant than usual, according to Capital Regional District spokesperson Andy Orr.

“As a result, the bullfrogs thrive, their breeding calls are louder and more noticeable and they can have higher than usual breeding success,” Orr said in an email.

A map published by Vancouver Island University shows where American bullfrogs have been spotted in the area, with the frogs spreading to a large proportion of the CRD’s parks in Greater Victoria.

Currently, the CRD’s focus is on stopping American Bullfrogs from spreading further westward into the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area via Humpback Reservoir. If frogs did spread to the area, they could prey on native species and impact the water supply.

The CRD doesn’t have any other management plans in place for American Bullfrogs in CRD parks, like Thetis Lake Regional Park, but there is a volunteer invasive species removal program that aims to target other priority invasive species.

Orr added anyone who spots American Bullfrogs in wetland areas can log sightings in the Provincial Report Invasives mobile app that is available for download on Android and iOS devices.

Bullfrogs were originally introduced to B.C. to be farmed for food – the frogs grow to a large size and are commonly eaten in the southern United States. Farming for food has seen the species spread to parts of South America, Asia and Western Europe. The animals can grow up to 20 centimetres long and are voracious feeders and breeders.

READ MORE: Small crews battle ravenous invasive bullfrogs that gobble up native species

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