Stocking bullfrogs | Living the Country Life

Stocking bullfrogs

Find a fish farmer with tadpoles
Photo courtesy of University of Vermont

I love listening to the chorus of bullfrogs especially when we go camping. The male's call is deep and distinctive. It's designed to attract a mate and let other bullfrogs know where its territory is. They tend to live in vegetation along the edges of slow moving bodies of fresh water. When I was a kid, I loved trying to catch them with my bare hands. You have to be quicker than the frogs to catch them – which isn't easy!  

Ken Semmens is an aquaculture specialist at West Virginia University. He says most bullfrogs live near the place they were hatched, and some will hop on over to the nearest stream or pond. Fish farmers collect the tadpoles and sell them to folks who want the large amphibians.

"I've seen tadpoles for sale and you can imagine a pond fish producer. Let's say he has a pond where he's growing fingerlings whether it's catfish, or bluegill, or something. In the spring the bullfrogs will lay their eggs in there, and he'll harvest them up and he'll bring them in to his vats, and he can separate them out," says Semmens.

A female bullfrog can lay thousands of eggs. When they hatch into tadpoles, some may take two seasons to develop into frogs – as long as they don't get munched beforehand.

"If you have bass in the pond, you don't have much in the way of bullfrogs," says Semmens. "The bass and the bullfrogs are somewhat antagonistic. The bass will eat them. So, I've seen bullfrogs more prominent in ponds that don't have that predator. So if you have someone who says I want a frog pond, I would recommend that they consider having a pond that had, like minnows in it.  That would be a food for the frogs, but you wouldn't have a predator that would be munching on the frogs."

Bullfrogs eat whatever they can swallow including insects, crawfish, and minnows.  

Learn more:

All about the bullfrog

How one young boy mastered the art of catching bullfrogs

Listen here to the radio mp3

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