Vermont Fish and Wildlife (VTF&W) is asking drivers to slow down and be cautious when traveling at night in early spring or to take alternate routes to avoid driving near ponds and wetlands where salamanders and frogs are crossing during their breeding season.
“One of the benefits of checking out amphibian road crossings,” said VTF&W herpetologist Luke Groff, “is that you can see many individuals and species in a short period and small area, and some species may not be seen the rest of the year. The spotted and blue-spotted salamanders, for example, belong to a group called the ‘mole salamanders,’ because after breeding, they retreat underground or under logs or stumps, and are rarely seen until the next spring.”
Road crossings are also a good place to see rare or otherwise hard-to-find species, which biologists rely on for data collection. For example, the four-toed salamander is rare in Vermont, and its distribution is not well understood. This information is used by VTF&W, the Agency of Transportation and other conservation partners to assess the need for wildlife passages and barriers in road construction plans that allow all wildlife, not just frogs and salamanders, to more safely cross roadways.
Groff is encouraging Vermonters to report amphibian road crossings by sending him an email ([email protected]). If you can safely take photos of the amphibian species crossing, please include them.
Vermonters who wish to contribute to the VTF&W’s work to help frogs and salamanders can donate to the Nongame Wildlife Fund on their state income tax form or on vtfishandwildlife.com.