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Salamander Night [Video]

Spotted Salamander Crossing the Road

Spotted Salamander Crossing the Road

Many know that one of my favorite activities to participate in is the migration of the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). This happens in the spring with the first warm rain of the season! Hundreds and I mean hundreds of salamanders come out of the woods to migrate to the vernal pools that they had probably been born in! But many have some obstacles to avoid before reaching the breeding pools.

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Video of the Spotted Salamanders crossing the road.

Raccoons, Skunks and other predators use these vulnerable times for gorging on the mass numbers of salamanders moving towards the fishless pools. The Spotted Salamander on occasion needs to cross busy roads and avoid oncoming vehicle tires! Lucky the location that we visited last night wasn’t as busy as it normally is for a Friday night. We tried to let the Salamanders cross the roads on there own (they do move fast for salamanders) but if we saw a vehicle coming . . . . we would quickly grab them and place them off to the side of the road. I am sad to report that we couldn’t help a few individuals that we (or the salamanders) didn’t move fast enough!

Spotted Salamander in the Water

Spotted Salamander looking out of the water!

Later in the evening, Grace (Ninehtotoo5) and I headed down to check the breeding pool. We didn’t find any salamanders doing their “thing” but we did find many Spotted Salamanders in the pools. The book The Amphibians and Reptiles of New York State say “The males generally arrive at the ponds several days to over a week before the females”. I looked again in the pool before heading home and was only able to find two locations where a few salamanders had left some spermatophores. It is my assumption that a few females arrived in the pools but we might have another good Salamander night in the future (when more females arrive).

Spotted Salamander under water

Spotted Salamander in shallow water!

Tomorrows post will be with a video and a few photos of the frogs that we found last night!


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26 responses

  1. So, the question is answered then . . . why did the salamander cross the road?

    To get lucky with the ladies?

    Those spotties are so cute!

    5 April 2008 at 8:17 pm

  2. Love those little spotted dudes! 🙂

    5 April 2008 at 8:56 pm

  3. Very interesting. It is too bad the road crosses their territory. There is a local road that is crossed by toads for a similar purpose. When people notice the toads starting to move, they close that section of road. Of course that cannot work everywhere.

    5 April 2008 at 9:43 pm

  4. Lisa at Greenbow

    Incridible video and photos Mon@rch. Is that a tiny leach on the Salamander that is out of water? Poor little things have a lot of obstacles to overcome just to get to their breeding grounds.

    5 April 2008 at 9:49 pm

  5. Tom

    Tom, fantastic, glad you guys had a great night up in NY! I love the video, you really captured their migration wonderfully.

    Tom

    5 April 2008 at 9:52 pm

  6. Ruth,

    I am astounded by your comment! I live in an old town that routes streets around giant live oaks (Quercus virginianus), for which I am proud, but to read that a road is closed for toads crossing is over the top. You live in very good company, I must say. Good for you and your neighbors! Good, good, good!

    Buford

    5 April 2008 at 9:56 pm

  7. Lisa, yes, that is indeed a leech, and the spring peepers audio is a very nice touch, Tom. Kudos!

    Buford

    5 April 2008 at 10:00 pm

  8. Cestoady

    Given the great numbers of salamanders,and the location of their migration route(across a road) ,plus the location of the event (in a park ?), has any thought been given to installing a large culvert UNDER the road for the sallies to safely pass through — or is the road (or park) closed at night so that there is no danger to the sallies (and frogs too)??

    I have heard of one community that has made asafe pass way under a road just for the sallies and frogs . The road was of the sort that could not be closed.

    5 April 2008 at 10:22 pm

  9. NatureShutterbug

    Another educational post – and video – and even the comments are eye-opening.

    5 April 2008 at 10:40 pm

  10. I really loved the video… the salamander looked so dark and mysterious – you expected him to offer to sell you a watch. 🙂 Just kidding. Very cool flick Tom… I’ll watch that beauty over american idol any day of the week.

    5 April 2008 at 10:56 pm

  11. @ Liza – I didn’t think about that!! Thanks 🙂
    @ Rurality – thanks and they are cute!
    @ Ruth – the earth has become too fragmented! Interesting that they close the roads for the toads! Put a smile on my face, wish I could do it for these guys!
    @ Lisa – thanks and that is a leach on the Salamander! We see them on them all the time!
    @ Tom – thanks and glad you enjoyed the video! It was fun capturing!
    @ Buford – I have to agree and thanks twice!
    @ Cestoady – not sure if a culvert would work for the amount of areas that these guys are crossing! Maybe a few high movement spots but they are crossing over a large area! Not sure if it would be as effective as it is in other areas! Great idea though!
    @ NatureShutterbug – thanks and sometimes I think the comments are more the post than the original content!
    @ Aullori – thanks and when you see a hundred or two salamanders, I always seem to pick the best ones to photograph (those being the most yellow biggest spotted)!

    5 April 2008 at 11:04 pm

  12. Another fascinating nature lesson! Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s video. Loved the sound of the peepers. I heard them all around my house tonight, too. It’s a comforting sound to me…

    6 April 2008 at 12:15 am

  13. What an experience that would have been. Thank you so much for the video and the great pictures. How else would most of us ever see that? Those little spots make them just too cute!

    6 April 2008 at 1:19 am

  14. This is so awesomely cool Tom!!! Yay!!! I love your video. Very cool that you help these guys cross to road! The book you mention is on my soon to buy list!

    6 April 2008 at 7:24 am

  15. Marg

    Aw they are so cute-glad you got to help them-and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them!

    6 April 2008 at 7:28 am

  16. I never cease to grin when I see a salamander! What is it about them that makes them so darn CUTE!
    I’m probably thinking too much about this and possibly risk spoiling the “magic,” but their body and head proportions remind me of chubby youngsters (the human kind)!
    Large head, big brown eyes, chunky short arms, grasping fingers…that innocent look captivates me EVERY time.

    (Now, why is it so hard to get people to care enough to want to protect their world?!)

    6 April 2008 at 8:03 am

  17. Love those pretty yellow spots! I love how they look like they have a goofy grin on their faces.

    6 April 2008 at 8:56 am

  18. Dear Tom,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Wonderful video! I have never seen the spotted Salamander. I can only imagine how fantastic seeing this migration would be.
    I agree with Nina. More people need to care. Your videos and photos bring awareness of the beautiful natural world that is all around us.
    Thank you again.
    Sherry

    6 April 2008 at 10:45 am

  19. Mel

    Hi Tom!
    I love the video, it is sooo cool!!

    6 April 2008 at 11:39 am

  20. I haven’t seen the spotted salamander but maybe I will get out sometime this week to look for them (whenever we might get a warm night). Great video–thanks for sharing.

    6 April 2008 at 12:40 pm

  21. p.s. I had hubby watch your video last night and told him about my watch comment – he laughed and said, “nah… it looks like the lizard is going to strike up and eat the camera man!” too many horror movies for that fella!! 😉

    6 April 2008 at 1:51 pm

  22. Wow…very cool! Awesome video!

    6 April 2008 at 8:00 pm

  23. @ Rondi – glad you enjoyed! Hope you liked the video that I posted today and I could just listen to it over and over again!
    @ Linda – Glad you enjoyed and very cute for sure!
    @ Nature Woman – I know you always love my videos! It is a great book for sure!
    @ Marg – thanks and I do also!
    @ Nina – I know exactly how you feel! LOL at the Chubby Youngsters! LOL Some people just don’t understand!
    @ Jayne – they do have that goofy grin!
    @ Sherry – Glad you enjoyed this! Thanks and I am just trying one day at a time to get more out to enjoy nature!
    @ Mel – thanks!
    @ Joan – Do get out and look ! Thanks and glad you enjoyed!
    @ Aullori – glad and that video does look like a huge animal! Macro photography!
    @ Lana – thanks and glad you enjoyed!

    6 April 2008 at 10:29 pm

  24. I loved seeing those salamanders and hearing the frogs. Thanks Mon@rch for sharing that very cool video.

    7 April 2008 at 9:35 pm

  25. Grace

    I will be posting the pictures I took to Flickr soon. One is of you photographing a salamander. You can blog it so these folks can see how you do it.

    10 April 2008 at 11:09 pm

  26. cool

    5 May 2009 at 5:19 pm

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