Herp Update: Recent Herp Activity, Fundraiser, Presentations – February 11, 2024

Recent Herp Activity

A few amphibians on the move

Last night with Snow Drops blooming in our front yard (see Kris Andrews photo below) temperatures at 41 F, and roads wet and muddy here in Salisbury, I headed out to check our Morgan Road crossing to see if any amphibians had been fooled by the early spring-like conditions.  It had rained early in the afternoon and almost all the snow had melted here in the Lake Champlain Basin.  I was pleased and somewhat surprised that I did not see any amphibians on the move in my walk over and back through the crossing area.

Snow drops, photo by Kris Andrews

Today though, my daughter reported single Spring Peepers calling from two wetlands in Orwell.  Spring Peepers are one of our four freeze-tolerant  frog species (along with Gray Treefrog, Wood Frog, and Boreal Chorus Frog), so hopefully they will burrow back into the leaf litter when the temperature drops again.

Paul Hilliard of Sudbury reported a young American Bullfrog (his photo below) living in his cellar in the water around his sump pump.  Spotted Salamanders frequently show up in moist basements in the winter, but frogs rarely do, and this is the first report ever of an American Bullfrog wintering in someone’s basement.  Ordinarily American Bullfrog tadpoles and adults spend the winter under the ice of a permanent water body.

Young American Bullfrog overwintering in basement, photo by Paul Hilliard

More expected is the report of two Mudpuppies caught by ice fisherman David Trinci (his photo below) on the Connecticut River in Springfield.  Mudpuppies in the Connecticut River were introduced from the mid-west.  The Mudpuppies in Lake Champlain and its major tributaries are native.  In fact, the Lake Champlain Basin is where Mudpuppies were first discovered.  Unlike all other Vermont amphibians, Mudpuppies are more active at this time of year (under the ice) than they are during the summer.

Mudpuppy on ice, photo by David Trinci

Our Annual Fundraiser Continues

So far, we have received about $14,500 toward our goal of $20,000 in our annual fundraiser.  We also became aware of grants from two of our regular grant sources, the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative and the Lintilhac Foundation.  In addition, two more grant requests have recently been sent out to our established funding sources.  So, if we bring in another $4,500 from contributors, and those two additional grants, we will be ready for this coming year’s herptile conservation efforts.

To learn more or to contribute, visit:


Two New Herp Videos Now Available

We have been busy giving presentations this winter.  Two recent presentations were recorded and are now available.

Vernal Pool Reptiles and Amphibians in Vermont (for the Vermont Association of Wetland Scientists)

The Snakes of Vermont (for Otter Creek Audubon Society)


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