Salamander Crossing Brigades

tobias spot-16 webThis beautiful spotted salamander was photographed at the Huckle Hill crossing site in Vernon by veteran crosser and photographer Tobias Gelston.

What are Salamander Crossings all About?

Each spring, a group of amphibians migrate from their forest habitat to the small wetlands where they congregate to breed. You have all heard the choruses of spring peepers, but how often have you seen one of these tiny frogs? How about a wood frog? And how often have you seen the largest salamander species in Vermont, the spotted salamander? All of these are abundant (if seldom seen) amphibians—but that will change in places where they must cross roads to reach their breeding pools. For many years, BEEC has been organizing Salamander Crossing Brigades, volunteers who help amphibians reach their breeding habitat by giving them a lift across roads.

The volunteers who help with this project not only save the lives of individual amphibians, but they help to safeguard populations of frogs and salamanders.

Find the Amphibian Forecast here.

Find out how to become a salamander crossing guard, learn more about the amphibians, and find hot tips here.

This map will help you find a crossing site near you.

Submit a crossing report here.

The Season so far. . .

With warm temperatures and rain all night on April 11, amphibians were active throughout the region, many returning to the woods after their spring fling in the vernal pools. Future rainy nights will likely usher more amphibians back to their forest haunts, but probably relatively few will be making the journey poolward.

The season got off to a record early start, with frogs were hopping in many places on March 10. A few salamanders were reported too, the earliest recorded movement since we began keeping track 13 years ago. The previous record was March 26 (just a few recorded at one of the warmer sites). Ideal salamander migration conditions are rainy, dark, and above 40°F, and, the soil must also have had a chance to defrost. Where salamanders overwinter on slopes with good sun exposure, soils may be warm enough already. Typically, amphibian migration happens in April in our area, though large migrations have happened at some sites during the last few days of March.

March 16 was a small migration night in many places, with frogs appearing in moderate numbers but just a few salamanders. The big salamander migration is still to come.

April Fools day made of fools of us— the forecast called for rain ending early, but it didn’t! There were many salamanders out. Thanks to all of you alert enough to get out to help them cross. The Hinesburg Road Team reported an estimated 200 spotted salamanders.

 See Scott’s latest skateboarding salamander video.

Become inspired to be a salamander crossing guard with the salamander breakdance.

Visit the photo gallery here .