Monday, March 28, 2011
Helping little young amphibians
The classic good deed used to be helping little old ladies cross the street. But these days you read more about helping romantic young salamanders get to the other side of the road.
Yes, salamanders and frogs are the amphibians in need – and in jeopardy -- on today’s highways, already too often filled with road kill.
Reminiscent of the seashore turtles who each summer must also cross congested roads to lay their eggs, frogs and salamanders emerge from hibernation about now. Then, crossing roads in the dark to reach vernal pools where they can lay their eggs – females carry 200-2,000 – they’re easily and often killed by motorists.
They don't travel on just any night, but only when temperatures reach a certain point and it’s rainy.
On such spring nights, volunteers in North Jersey go out to help them, picking up the creatures in their hands and carrying them across the road to safety. In so doing, they’re helping “preserve future generations of spotted and Jefferson salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers” (see March 9 post) a story in yesterday's Trenton Times reports.
“Amphibians are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and its food chain,” one participant says. “Like everything in nature, they eat and are eaten. As adults, they feed on all kinds of insects and help to keep pests in check. It’s definitely worth it.”
The Amphibian Crossing Project is jointly sponsored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, the NJ Audubon Society and the state’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.