- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - Marbled tree frogs and Asian glass lizards would be welcomed in Oregon, but two subspecies of river otters wouldn’t be allowed under rules that protect native wildlife.

A three-year review by a state board concluded that the frogs, lizards and four other reptiles could be sold as pets because they “have a low risk of competing and surviving in Oregon if they escape,” said Rick Boatner, coordinator of the state’s Wildlife Integrity Program.

But the review ruled out the eastern subspecies of the North American river otter and the Asian small-clawed otter that an unidentified Junction City man wanted for study purposes, the Medford Mail Tribune (https://bit.ly/1fEwqdj) reported.

The panel consists of state and federal biologists, a retired Oregon Zoo employee, and a member of the public who exhibits reptiles. Its recommendations are eventually sent to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission. It’s to meet Friday to pass judgment on the recommendations.

The panel determines whether a species has an invasive history, whether it could survive in Oregon, whether it would prey on or pass diseases to native wildlife and whether it could interbreed with natives.

The eastern subspecies of the North American river otter was labeled a high risk for surviving in Oregon if released, likely to prey on native wildlife, interbreed with Oregon otters and out-compete them for food and habitat.

The Asian small-clawed otter was considered to pose similar risks, except that it wouldn’t be a threat to interbreed or hybridize with native otters, the panel concluded.

The owner of the House of Reptiles in Tigard, Tim Creswell, petitioned for the reptiles, generally not household names. They include the Tonkin bug-eyed frog and three lizards - the splendid japaure, the Somali strange and Taylor’s strange agama.

“They’re not considered a risk, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be sold as pets,” said Creswell.

But the panel deemed three others too high a risk to be offered for sale as pets: the Spanish ribbed newt, Pixie frog and Bumblebee toad.

The Pixie frog is a bullfrog that “could probably live here in Oregon and they pretty much eat everything they can grab,” Boatner said.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/


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