Thursday, June 2, 2022

Phillip Elden Discusses Common Invasive Species

Phillip Elden

Oregon has thousands of unique animals, many of which have lived on the land as long as records have been kept and for many years prior. But according to conservation specialist Phillip Elden, many species have been introduced and take a toll on the natural flora and fauna. 
Q: Is the American bullfrog and Oregon native? 
Phillip Elden: While the American bullfrog is common in the United States, it is not an amphibian native to the region. Bullfrogs, which can grow to more than six inches in length and present with a brown and green pattern, are often released into the wild after being purchased as pets. While Oregon has many native frog species, the large and aggressive American bullfrog preys upon snakes, fish, small turtles, and even other frogs. 

Q: Why are Asian carp a problem in Oregon? 
Phillip Elden: Asian carp, along with silver and bighead varieties, are large and have a rapid growth rate. They can reach more than 50 pounds and have a voracious appetite. Asian carp consume algae-eating phytoplankton, which decreases water quality and may inhibit recreational opportunities throughout the state. 
Q: What do you consider the most dangerous among the invasive species? 
Phillip Elden: The first thing that comes to mind is the common snapping turtle. These large turtles, which can have a shell up to 18 inches in length, are found in the eastern United States in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi. They are freshwater predators that eat the same fish as our native turtles. Snapping turtles are dangerous to humans since, as the name suggests, they have snapping jaws that can lock into place and have been known to sever fingers and toes. 
Q: How can an individual report an invasive species? 
Phillip Elden: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife keeps track of non-native land and aquatic animal sightings. Anyone with knowledge of an invasive animal should contact them at 1-866-INVADER.