Herp Update: migration starts, vacation – March 20, 2022

Amphibian migrations have started

Herpers, I just returned from a warm southerly vacation to find that temperatures in Vermont were just as warm, at least temporarily. So, I have been scrambling to get caught up. The warm weather at the end of last week brought out at least one Painted Turtle in West Haven that Rick A photographed and a Common Gartersnake in South Hero that Clem N photographed.

Then the warm rain yesterday triggered a significant movement of many amphibians here in the Lake Champlain Basin. I visited Morgan Road Crossing in Salisbury for only a ten minute walk through in one direction and tallied: 42 Blue-spotted Salamanders (& hybrids), 13 Wood Frogs, 10 Four-toed Salamanders, 11 Spotted Salamanders, and 5 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders.

Kate Kelly took a group out in Monkton last night and found many of the same species moving as well as Spring Peepers.

My assistant Matt Gorton and my sister Linda Andrews both have reported Eastern Newts on the move.

Looking at the weather forecast, it is possible that some of our warmer lowland areas will see movement again tonight if the rains keep the roads wet after dark. It will be getting colder as well, so conditions are not as good as they were last night.

Looking further into the future, this Thursday is forecast to have some rains, but amphibian migration will depend on the amount of moisture and warmth you get in your corner of Vermont, and the amount of exposed ground.

Some vacation herps

I have attached a couple photos of some of the herps I found last week in the area southeast of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Those that I have found are only about 1 foot long. I think the Pygmy Rattlesnake is a really pretty little snake. My wife Kris took the close up photo of its tiny rattle. The Green Treefrogs are quite striking and a variety of other frogs were calling as well.

head and main body of a Pygmy Rattlesnake on white gravel. Snake is greay with dark charcoal and brown dorsal spots and markings.

Pygmy Rattlesnake
Image copyright © James Andrews and used by permission

Tail of Pygmy Rattlesnake showing 4 "rattles". The background is white sand and gravel.

Rattle at end of tail of Pygmy Rattlesnake
Image copyright © Kris Andrews and used by permission

Green Treefrog on bark. Frog is viewed from its left. Its skin is a light green with a white side strip. It has gold eyes with a dark horizontal pupil and suction pads at the ends of its tows.

Green Treefrog
Image copyright © James Andrews and used by permission


Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. (Kenneth Boulding, 1973)


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