Spring has sprung and that means that in British Columbia the Oregon spotted frogs are waking up from their hibernation. Here at the Fraser Valley recovery program, over 100 Oregon spotted frogs spent the winter comfortably resting at the base of large tubs at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. With the warm weather came the first calls from the males, eager to be reunited with their frog lady friends.
My official job title may be “Endangered Species Technician”, contributing to breeding and releasing these endangered amphibians, but you could call me a frog matchmaker. In order for me to work my magic and bring the star crossed lovers back together, water levels in the murky tubs must first be dropped. Unlike the Oregon spotted frog, humans haven’t quite gotten the hang of lowering our metabolism’s in order to survive underwater in a Canadian winter. So, in order to avoid full-arm numbness and much hand rubbing, we drain some water from the tubs to easier fish out our frog friends. Simple! Just let out the plug, right?
The Oregon spotted frog ranges from 2-4 inches long, making them smaller than the tub drains and expert escape artists. Enter the good old fashioned siphon method! Our tool kit includes plastic tubes and a strong set of lungs!
HOW (NOT) TO DRINK FROG WATER
Step 1: submerge one end of the tube in the water.
Step 2: SUCK! Pro tip: keep an eye on the amount of water you are sucking up the tube, going cross eyed if necessary, to avoid sucking frog water into your mouth.
Step 2.5: Some frog water inevitably ends up in my mouth (rookie!).
Step 3: With the pressure vacuum created, remove tube from mouth and let gravity do the rest!
And just like that, we were able to drain the water enough to find our sleepy females and reunite them with the males! Now, we wait. With spring comes new beginnings and a promising future for this endangered species.