Salamanders are looking for love this time of year, not snow | NJ.com
The following is a very nice article in NJ.com about the annual salamander protection efforts provided by East Brunswick. Makes me proud to live in such an Environmentally responsible town!
EAST BRUNSWICK — It’s the time of year when salamanders and other amphibians exit the forest and make their way to vernal pools to find their mates.
This year, the weather is not cooperating.
"They will get there eventually," said David Moskowitz, the president of the Friends of East Brunswick Environmental Commission.
Moskowitz writes a blog about the salamanders’ journey. "They wait until the conditions are right and then they move," he said.
Moskowitz said Beekman Road in East Brunswick was closed the night of March 14 when the temperature and rain made for perfect conditions — and the migration began.
"They came out and walked a long the snow," he said. "Most of the pool was frozen, but there was enough open on the edge for them to slide in."
RELATED: A rite of spring, salamanders cross the road en masse to find a mate
He said the spotted salamanders and spring peepers made it into the pools, along with about a dozen wood frogs.
But there are many more to come, including most of the females, and they are still in the forest until the conditions improve.
"For us, it’s pulling teeth until conditions are right," Moskowitz said. "They (the amphibians) are much better at monitoring the conditions than we are."
Migrations begin when there is a rainfall with the temperature about 40 degrees or higher
— conditions that have been lacking this year.
The annual migration has become a community event in East Brunswick with hundreds of families and residents from all over Central Jersey coming out to watch nature take its course. Streets are closed to keep the amphibians safe.
Salamanders are only about 3-inches long, so crossing a street can be life threatening. For 13 years now East Brunswick, in cooperation with South Brunswick, has closed Beekman Road, between Church Lane in East Brunswick and Davidson’s Mill Road in South Brunswick.
"Its usually rainy and raw," Moskowitz said. "But, what makes me as happy to see our success with the salamanders is seeing the families and kids experiencing the migration. That’s equally as important as preserving the amphibians."
Salamanders, along with spring peepers, wood frogs and other amphibians, spend most of the year in forests, but they must find standing water to mate and hatch eggs after the first warm spring rains begin.
After their time in the pool, the amphibians cross back into the forest. But Moskowitz said the journey back isn’t as perilous because they go back individually, not all at once.
It takes the eggs a month to two months to hatch and another month before the babies grow into adults and go into the forest.