The rain is coaxing amphibians in Vancouver, says UBC teacher.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Watch out for frogs on roads and driveways after heavy rains, says a UBC professor who specializes in amphibians.
John Richardson of the Department of Forestry and Conservation Sciences says frogs, toads, salamanders and many more venture out of their hiding places under logs and rocks to soak up the wet weather.
“It’s fun to imagine frogs going out and doing happy dances in the rain, but the reality is that amphibians are quite sensitive to dryness. [conditions], and we’ve had pretty dry weather for the last six months, ”he says.
The wetlands are also drier than usual after a hot summer which saw a vicious forest fire season. This is a problem for amphibians, which breathe through the skin.
“They really like wet, cool conditions, so you don’t really see frogs sitting in the open when it’s dry and hot,” he says. “That’s why people might start to see them more often. “
There are only about 20 species of amphibians in the entire province of British Columbia, most commonly the western tree frog, red-legged frog and Oregon spotted frog. The latter is very threatened in the Lower Mainland.
Bullfrogs are an invasive species, which Trovato calls “a problem” for the movement of native species. Major amphibian species in British Columbia also include green frogs and four types of salamanders.
The most problematic time of year for frogs and toads is spring, when adults return to ponds, he says. They leave later in the summer, when many are killed by motorists.
To ensure their safety, there are places near Chilliwack where they close the roads every year to allow millions of toads to cross the roads on their migratory routes. Some people have even built amphibian tunnels to help them on their way.
“After a rain like this, it is possible that there are more amphibians on the roads,” says Trovato.
It’s illegal to touch and move wild animals like frogs in Canada, so if you see them, it’s best to leave them alone.
With files from Charlie Carey.