It's migration season for mole salamanders and wood frogs in the Adirondacks and the Northeast at large! Migration starts first in the southern part of the region, but as the weather warms up here in the Adirondacks amphibians begin to migrate.
Unfortunately, many of these little creatures don't make it to their destination - here's why and how you can help out.
Spotted salamander, photo credit: Laura Heady
Mole salamanders - a group of salamanders referred to as such because of their underground habitats - and wood frogs are frequently seen crossing roads as they migrate to woodland pools in the forests; these vernal pools are small, temporary wetlands. The amphibians migrate by the hundreds to the woodland pools for breeding every year, often on the same nights, dubbed "Big Nights."
These small animals travel distances ranging from a few hundred feet to more than a quarter of a mile. Unfortunately, because these paths often go over various roads or streets, the salamanders and frogs can often meet their demise on their way to the woodland pools.
Wood frog, photo credit: Laura Heady
How You Can Help
The Woodland Pool Project of the New York State DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program needs your help documenting these migrations! Our observations can help them determine where the migrations are happening, and where and when these animals might be vulnerable and need assistance. Groups of volunteers might be used for "crossing guard" programs.
Check out their Woodland Pool Conservation Fact Sheet, and the Volunteer Guidance and Data Form. Consider printing these out and keeping them in your car or hiking backpack if you're going to be out and about in the Adirondacks.
If you happen to see a migration happening over the next few weeks you can document details like the temperature and weather conditions and send the information in - the address and email address are right on the form. Don't forget to take photos too!
Forms need to be sent in by April 15th.
About Mole Salamanders and Wood Frogs
Mole salamanders are referred to as such because they're often found hiding under rocks or forest vegetation. The spotted salamander, the Jefferson salamander, the blue-spotted salamander, and the marbled salamander are collectively called mole salamanders; although, the marbled salamander actually breeds in the fall instead of the spring. These amphibians enjoy eating insects, earthworms, and snails.
Wood frogs have a similar diet to the mole salamanders, and also spend much of their time in terrestrial habitats. Both animals come out to breed in the spring in the woodland pools. Certain species of turtles, toads, and a few other animals can be found in these woodland pools as well.
Discover more animals that live in the Adirondacks in our wildlife guide >>
- DEC: Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings