Herp Update: Amphibian Migration Last Night and Expected Tomorrow – April 11, 2024

Lots of Herp Activity

Amphibian Migration Last Night

Reports of amphibians on the move are pouring in.  Most of them are from last night and they come from as far north as Cabot and as far south as Putney.  Most of the reports are of the expected early season migrants: Wood Frogs, Spotted Salamanders, Blue-spotted Salamanders, and Spring Peepers, but we also received a report of a Gray Treefrog and an American Toad.  Both of these last two species are heat lovers and don’t usually move until the nighttime temps are 50 F or more.  In Middlebury the temperature was 54 F at 9 PM last night.

Other reports include Common Gartersnake, Eastern Milksnake, Red-bellied Snake, Green Frogs, and Eastern Newts.

Kate Kelly and I ran a training workshop for Natural Resource Conservation Service employees yesterday at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center in West Brattleboro.  We found hundreds of Wood Frog egg-masses and over 30 Jefferson Salamander egg masses.  We did not find any Spotted Salamander egg masses, but that was expected.  Wood Frogs and Jefferson Salamanders often move to breeding ponds before Spotted Salamanders do.  Also, as is often the case, many of the Jefferson Salamander eggs were nonviable (white and moldy).  If the embryos die, a water mold (Saprolegnia) quickly moves in and starts growing on the embryos.  We also a handful of dead Wood Frogs that appear to have been chewed on by the Wood Ducks we scared out of the pond.  A few Eastern Newts and living Wood Frogs were also active in a large vernal pool that we visited.

Activity Expected Tomorrow Night

The forecast looks excellent for amphibian migration tomorrow (Friday) night.  The temperatures here are forecast to be in the mid-50’s F.  If the roads are wet, and there are at least patches of open ground exposed in your area after the sun goes down tomorrow, it will be worth visiting your nearest amphibian crossing area.


Our part-time employee and full-time associate Erin Talmage sent the top photo showing the Wood Frogs found at Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington. The photo was taken by Hans Nedde, an intern at the Museum. Notice how much lighter and redder in color the female is. That is usually the case. Erin says at one point the female had five males hanging on to her.

Jed Merrow sent the photo of the Eastern Coral Snake.  He found the snake in Florida yesterday.  Jed is a good friend and colleague that often shares herp photos from his travels, but we do get out-of-state reports regularly from others as well.  If the reports are from locations near our border, we add them to our database.  Earlier this week I received a report of Red-bellied Snake from Missouri.  I provided some distribution information for the person who reported the snake, but we did not keep the report.  We forwarded his report to some knowledgable Missouri herpers.


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  1. […] an earlier Herp Update, the wonderful photo of Wood Frogs was taken by Hans Nedde, an intern at the Birds of Vermont […]