I stumbled upon a few kids’ books featuring spotted salamanders and thought the information might be useful for some of our readers. They look to be a nice mix of science education and fun/engaging stories. I’ve not read them all but it looks like they receive very positive reviews. I vaguely remember reading “The Salamander Room,” featuring what looks like a red salamander, and on a few occasions (unsuccessfully) attempted to create amphibian habitats in my bedroom.
Salamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini
Big Night for Salamanders by Sarah Marwil Lamstein
A Salamander’s Life by John Himmelman
The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
We’ll have a salamander walk tonight (Monday April 14). Meet across from Bath Elementary at 8:45p. See here for additional details. The night will start off warm, but may drop down around 40 by the time we’re done. After that…1-3 inches of snow! So, we’ll try to retrieve animals from buckets before they get snowed on.
the story below from The New York Times helps put our salamander study
We ended up capturing 45 salamanders on Monday night, putting us over 100 for the year.
The animals in the video (sorry for the zoom, I underestimated the quality of the non-zoomed picture) below got to breeding shortly after I released them. All of the individuals are actually males here, but females soon joined the action and a decent swarm formed eventually. Notice the individual who stops and shuffles his hips back in forth; these behaviors are not well-studied, but he may be searching for spermatophores from other males to cover with his own. Also notice the tail-waving, this may be to disperse his scent through the water.
There should be eggs in there pretty soon!
Wrong species dude. He was really holding on- it took some effort to pry him off.
Looks like up to an inch of rain is coming our way tomorrow, so let’s do a walk. If for some reason this changes, I will cancel by 5pm. See here for logistical details.
We had a small group of salamanders come to the pond last night before it got cold (it was actually snowing out there this morning!), and I also noticed that the first group of salamanders already left some signs of breeding. So, let’s do a walk tonight to release the new guys and see if we can observe any breeding activity. Same deal as normal- meet across from the Bath Elementary School parking lot at 8:45.
Thanks to everyone for the great turnout for the salamander walk last night. We were able to see a good bit of activity breeding by several critters, including spotted salamanders. For me though, the first sign of activity was actually from turkeys! My presence scared the pair in the video below up into a tree, and I was a bit confused by the clumsy flapping when there were no waterfowl in sight. Then I got close enough to realize these two were above my head!
tom in the center and hen in upper right at the beginning of the video
For the walk, we had 30 people and saw many salamanders and frogs. The final tally for salamander captures last night was around 60 individuals.
There were lots of good signs for the health of Bath’s spotted salamander population outside of Windhover Pond too, including a good showing for spotted salamanders at Windhover Bog, which has been a rarity in recent years. I counted several different sites with breeding in them, and found the juvenile below moving through the woods. If all goes well for her, she will add another generation to the breeding population in the next few years.
breeding activity in a nearby pond.
Juvenile spotted salamander