Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Rains and Night Journeys

Next Wednesday is the first day of spring, and then April showers, and May flowers. But the spring rains of March are what get the frogs, salamanders, and toads to emerge from their winter burrows to get started on their spring season.

Amphibians like the spotted salamanders, wood frogs, spring peepers, and others are ready to move to breeding pools and lay their eggs. We call those "vernal pools" because they fill with rainwater, snowmelt, and rising groundwater in early spring. These pools will be gone as spring changes to summer advances.

The pools drying out is a good thing for the amphibians because these pools cannot support fish, which are normally predators for the amphibian eggs and young.

The best conditions for the amphibians are warm (40ºF or more) nighttime rains. The journey to the pools occur under the safety of darkness and rain which helps protect from other predators like owls and raccoons.

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been partnering with NJ’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) since 2002 to protect early-spring breeding amphibians like the wood frog, spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander, and spring peeper during their annual migration.

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