More on the Rough-skinned Newt and the American Bullfrog and other herp news

Folks, that last video of the American Bullfrog and Rough-skinned Newt was taken out west, not in Vermont. Some further details from Kiley Briggs:

“in addition to the Rough-skinned Newt being highly toxic, American Bullfrogs are an invasive species out west where that newt resides. I doubt native frogs out there would make the mistake of eating a Rough-skinned Newt very often, but within the American Bullfrog’s native range there are no prey species toxic enough to really harm them, so it’s kind of an ecological mispairing that did not work in the frog’s favor.”

At the end of last week, Kate Kelly and I returned to Somerset once again to better document the species found in that town. Somerset is a mountain town that in 2011 had a year-round population of two humans, so we don’t get very many reports from that town. Along with Warner’s Grant in the northeast kingdom, it is one of the two towns with the fewest numbers of species reported. Since it has a minimum elevation of about 1,900 feet, it is also a cold town. I suspect that elevation accounts for the apparent absence of some species such as Eastern Milksnake. Kate and I spent all day on Thursday on or near Somerset Reservoir looking for turtles, any turtles. None have ever been reported from the entire town. We failed. We paddled over seven miles and hiked another one or two, but found no turtles. On Friday our focus switched to Pickerel Frog and Spring Salamander and I am pleased to report that after four visits over the last decade, we finally documented both species in Somerset.

So, if you are looking for a fun outdoor challenge in a beautiful, remote wilderness, I challenge you to find and photograph any species of turtle in the wild in Somerset, Vermont. I have already picked out the next waterbody in Somerset that I will need to hike into next year.


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