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Saturday, April 22, 2006


Spring rains are spreading across much of the East today and tomorrow. 'Tis the time for many amphibians to emerge from their winter hiding places and migrate to vernal ponds to breed.
When the air temperature remains above 40 degrees and rain begins in the afternoon and goes through the evening, Spotted Salamanders migrate at nightfall to ponds to breed and lay eggs. Sometimes hundreds, or even thousands, migrate in the course of one night. Go out with raincoats, binoculars, and flashlights and look for them crossing roads, marching down hillsides, and at the edges of the ponds.

The Bullfrog, above, took up residence in our cistern fountain last summer. Bullfrogs are found in ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. They are active year round in the South and from March to November in the North. Listen for the male's "jug-o-rum" call. For complete information on these and other amphibians nationwide see Stokes Guide To Amphibians and Reptiles by Tomas F. Tyning.

Amphibians need vernal ponds and water areas protected for their continued survival. So think of them when you celebrate Earth Day today.

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