Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frogless in Bella Coola

So the Bella Coola Valley is nearly a perfect place, it has a pleasant climate, four distinct seasons, good gardening weather, fishing, hunting and winter and summer activities, great people and a simple lifestyle.  There is one thing that the Bella Coola Valley is lacking that most of the rest of the Province of BC has that we don't and that would be frogs.  I'm referring to the springtime croaking chorus of mating frogs that are so pleasant to listen to on a spring evening.  I've looked in nearly every suspicious pond and asked other people for years- why are there no frogs in Bella Coola?  I get the same response, eyes averted, head down, and the sad answer, "there are no frogs that croak in the Bella Coola Valley".  It's a sad thing considering everything else we have.  There is one tiny exception to this observation and that is a reclusive, almost never seen frog that only lives in steep cold, clear streams above where fish can get to (fish eat them) called the Tailed Frog - but it's not a frog of beauty of spring nights and splashing in ponds, few people have ever seen one.

The lack of frogs isn't a recent phenomenon like other areas where frogs have decreased in numbers, but it appears that they just aren't here - I've found references to some of the early 1900's papers on the natural history of the area and they mention the lack of frogs in the Bella Coola Valley.

It's quit peculiar because you can drive an hour east, to the top of the hill on Highway 20 and the roadside ditches and ponds have abundant frogs.  It's not like the climate is too cold or heaven forbid to wet...they thrive in other areas under these conditions.

So because we lack frogs - the best we can do and be content with is the good old Northwestern Toad or Bufo boreas. These guys are relatively abundant in the valley and this guy in the photo is one of my residents that hangs around my place.  If I dig a hole and leave it for a few days I often find them hiding out in the cool moist bottom of the hole.  He's rather large and friendly, but he doesn't croak.  Frogless in Bella Coola - A real shame.  Grizzly

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