Fly agaric mushrooms may look cute, but can be dangerous. (Pixabay)

Fly agaric mushrooms may look cute, but can be dangerous. (Pixabay)

‘Cartoony’ mushrooms popping up across Vancouver Island are poisonous

Fly Agaric mushrooms can cause hallucinations and gastrointestinal pain

An influx of cute and familiar mushrooms on Vancouver Island comes with a warning.

Fly Agaric mushrooms, also known as Amanita muscaria are the classic red toadstool with white warts seen in cartoons. The species grows in borreal forests during the fall across Canada and the United States, and are very common, but very poisonous.

“The Amanita family contains some of the most deadly mushrooms we know of,” said Brian Starzomski, director of the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Starzomski added some of the Fly Agaric’s relatives include Amanita phalloides, better known as the Death Cap mushroom, and Aminita ocreata, the Destroying Angel.

READ MORE: Island Health issues warning after death cap mushrooms found in Greater Victoria

While Fly Agarics aren’t always deadly, they can have devastating affects on people and pets, including hallucinations, sleepiness and severe gastrointestinal problems.

Surprisingly, unlike on TV the white warts on the mushrooms are not attached and can move around if prompted, which can be especially dangerous after a heavy rain could wash them off.

ALSO READ: Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

“Another edible species looks quite similar, especially when the warts are gone,” he said.

If seen, Starzomski said to avoid removing them unless they’re a direct danger to your pet or child, as they have a short life cycle and are an important part of the ecosystem.

Most importantly of all, he said, if you don’t know what a mushroom is, don’t touch it.

“There are so many species of mushrooms, and many of them are poisonous,” he said. “Always ask an expert when you’re not 100 per cent sure.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP investigation continues into grisly discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs near Whiskey Creek

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
Errington man dies in ATV crash southwest of Parksville

Incident happened on Northwest Bay Logging Road on Saturday afternoon

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Most Read