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Northern California Town Bans The American Bullfrog

Santa Cruz is first in U.S. to ban the sale and possession of America's largest frog.

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The American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) , native to the eastern United States, Mexico, and Canada, and America's largest frog, has been banned in the city of Santa Cruz, CA. The bullfrog is an introduced species in the western United States. The city council approved to ban the sale and possession of live American bullfrogs at the request of the city's water department and Save the Frogs, a Santa Cruz-based advocacy group that works to protect frogs worldwide.

The city was informed that the invasive frog poses a threat to the endangered California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), and has the potential to spread the chytrid fungus. A staff report submitted to the council said several pet stores in the city that are the primary purveyors of live bullfrogs would not be substantially hurt by the ban. One pet store owner in the city said in a news report that the frog ban is not a bad thing at all because he said the frog is a problem in the city. 


According to Save the Frogs, California imports more than 3 million American bullfrogs, mostly from China and Taiwan, for use as frog legs and pets. They often escape into the wild and are invasive in at least 15 countries in which they were introduced.