Blog

Spring Amphibian Migration

Wildlife lovers, in low elevation warm spots of Vermont, frogs and salamanders have started to emerge from their wintering sites and move to their breeding ponds, pools, marshes, and swamps. The earliest amphibians move when the snow is reduced to only patches, the ground and roads are thawing and wet, and night-time temperatures are above freezing.

The wetter and warmer the better. A 50° F night with pouring rain should encourage a large migration of a variety of species, while 33° F with barely wet roads left over from an afternoon rain could still generate a migration with lower numbers and fewer species. Weather forecasts look good for amphibian migration in the lowland warm spots of Vermont this Tuesday night (3/7).

Over the next six weeks, amphibians will also begin moving in more upland, northern, colder, and snowier locations. Take a look for yourself. When conditions appear appropriate in your area, grab a bright flashlight, put on some light and reflective clothes, head out after dark, and look carefully along quiet back-roads and trails. Search locations that pass between wet breeding areas and upland hardwood forests. You could find some brown frogs with black masks (Wood Frogs), some huge black salamanders with bright yellow spots (Spotted Salamanders), or a variety of other beautiful and interesting frogs and salamanders. However, be very careful of traffic!

Photo: Flickr (Peter Paplanus)

The Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is mapping the major amphibian crossing areas, so if you find migrating frogs and salamanders, please report what you find through our online form at VtHerpAtlas.org or send an E-mail directly to jandrews@middlebury.edu. Ideally we would like one photo of each type of amphibian you find. Also please tell us the exact location of the crossing site, the date, how many amphibians you saw, and roughly how long you were at the crossing site.

I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to see some of these beautiful creatures. I look forward to hearing about your finds!

Written by Jim Andrews