An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Determined Spotted Salamanders

4-17-14  spotted salamander in snow117It’s rare to get a glimpse of a Spotted Salamander – these secretive amphibians spend most of their lives hidden under rocks or logs or in the burrows of other forest animals, emerging only at night to feed and during spring mating. In central Vermont, the annual mass migration of Spotted Salamanders to their ancestral breeding pools began two nights ago, when the rain-soaked earth and rising temperatures signaled that it was time to emerge from hibernation. Unfortunately for the salamanders (and frogs) that answered the calling, temperatures dropped relatively early in the evening, and the rain turned to snow. Undaunted, these stout salamanders continued their trek through the woods, plowing their way through new-fallen snow, all in the name of procreation.

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10 responses

  1. dellwvt

    Oh, my goodness. I find it painfully disturbing to imagine this stalwart fellow (or could it be a female – do they look the same?) in this challenging situation. Is it likely that spotted salamanders caught out in the snow and freezing conditions will succeed in finding refuge somewhere that they can survive till warmer temperatures return?

    April 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    • I like to think that they all reached the pond, which was still open, and once there, were fine. They also could have taken refuge in the leaf litter until warmer temperatures arrived. I share your concern!

      April 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    what a wonderful photo! There are times when being cold-blooded is the greatest. Good luck, salamanders.

    April 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm

  3. Brave souls! Let’s hope they made it!

    April 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm

  4. Marilyn

    Protective coloration wasn’t much help in the snow.

    April 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

  5. had one literally on our doorstep, about 11:30PM, and a spring peeper too.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm

  6. Barbara Deal

    Hi Mary, Your photo of the spotted salamander in the snow touched me,probably in part because I have been involved in the Monkton crossing site and now in the effort to raise the final $ to build 2 wildlife culverts. We have only ten days left. Would you allow me to put the website under the comment section of this photo? I was so sorry to miss meeting you at the Lewis Creek annual meeting. Either way on this is fine. Barbara Deal

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    April 18, 2014 at 9:22 am

    • By all means, Barbara. I would love to help you spread the word. The culverts are such a good idea, and I hear you’re doing well – you’ve gotten a lot of publicity throughout the state and if my site helps you even a little, that’s wonderful.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:28 am

  7. Congrats on your capture of this unusual event. I didn’t know they could/would march across snow when migrating. Wish i could have seen and photographed it!

    April 19, 2014 at 1:10 am

  8. Jean Harrison

    An amazing photo. I hope it survives and even reproduces.

    April 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm

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