Russ Pym

Invading bullfrog finding a home in Rithet’s Bog

Rithet’s Bog has its invaders, the usual suspects – blackberry bushes, reed canarygrass and broom.

Rithet’s Bog has its invaders, the usual suspects – blackberry bushes, reed canarygrass and broom.

A frustratingly aggressive variety of invasive cattail can grow three metres tall, and has spread like weeds through part of the wetlands to choke out waterfowl and native plants alike.

The 28 hectare conservation area in Saanich is even home to a band of feral cats, which tend to menace the ground-nesting birds. But what is making a group of volunteer conservationists nervous is the periodic croak of an American bullfrog, one of the most dreaded of all invasive species.

Rithet’s Bog Conservation Society president Russ Pym said he and other volunteers have heard the call of the bullfrog over the past few years, and a few have been captured. It’s likely they’ve migrated from Elk and Beaver lakes.

A saving grace for the bog is its tendency to dry up in the summer. Bullfrogs, known for being voracious eaters of anything they can get their mouths around, need year-round water bodies for tadpoles to hatch and grow.

“I would expect except for (the dry season), we would have a breeding population of bullfrogs,” Pym said. “If we have a couple wet years and open water that doesn’t dry up, that might change. There’s no reason they can’t breed there.”

American bullfrogs have gained a foothold in Elk and Beaver Lake and a number of lakes on the West Shore. In response, over the past eight years, the Capital Regional District and partner municipalities have hired biologist Stan Orchard to eradicate the frogs from regional water bodies. He uses his invention called the “electro-frogger” to zap and stun the animals.

Rithet’s bog isn’t there yet in terms of hiring frog hunters, but Pym said if bullfrogs manage to have a breeding season in the bog, they would be difficult to eradicate. “The best you can hope is for controlling the population,” he said.

Rithet’s bog is held up as the last significant peat bog in the lower Island, but Pym notes there isn’t much peat left at all – he calls it a bog-forest. But it is home to native amphibians such as red legged frogs and Pacific chorus frogs, and scores of birds, all which could be hopping, squawking meals to invading bullfrogs.

“The bullfrogs are definitely a concern to us,” he said. “It’s a problem we definitely need to keep an eye on.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

Art and fashion collide for a cause at the Union Club of Victoria

May 26 event benefits Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibitions and educational programs

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Most Read