I Brake for Frogs: Spring-time Frog Migration

Spring is in the air, and amphibians are on the move. After a long, cold winter, frogs, toads, newts and salamanders prepare themselves for the annual migration to mate and lay their eggs. Mother Nature has to have all the right ingredients to get them up and moving. Typically, a warm, rainy evening when clouds obscure the moon is enough to start a mad rush. The first evening the weather is right, the migration is on. they will even venture across patches of snow if all other conditions are right. These migrations involve hundreds and even thousands of individual animals. The ultimate goal is to reach a nearby pond or vernal pool, usually returning to the same body of water year after year.

Many of these migration routes cross roads. Country road or highway, these obstacles don’t deter them. A large number of amphibians never make it to the other side, and thousands are killed by automobiles during their journey. But many crawl and hop safely to the other side and reach their destination. Once there, it is yet another mad dash to mate and lay eggs for the next generation.

If you are wondering what the big deal is about a few squished frogs, just remember that frogs, toads and salamanders eat a lot of bugs! Flies, ants, mosquitoes, worms, grubs, larvae and other pests are on the menu. Also, tadpoles and adult amphibians are an important food source for many other creatures. Without them, the entire ecosystem would suffer.

Unlike larger road killed animals, dozens of amphibians can be killed by a single car, without the driver even noticing. With the increase in traffic and new roads being built in or near forests and wetlands, the migration becomes more perilous every year. Populations can be severely damaged when migrations take thousands of amphibians across busy roads. Some areas of the country have countered this by building tunnels. These tunnels run under the road and amphibians and other small animals can use them to cross safely.

Being more aware while driving during amphibian migrations is one way to help some reach their destination. Another more involved way is by joining a local group that actively goes out during migrations to transport them across the road. One important point if you would like to help out is to be safe! Wandering around on a dark, rainy road without taking proper safety precautions could very well make you road kill! Wear reflective and light clothing, carry a good flashlight, and use a bucket to collect and move the animals. The buddy system is a good way to go also, so joining up with a local group is a better idea than going at it alone.

The next time you see frogs, toads, newts or salamanders making their way across the road, take note and slow down a bit. If you can, you may even want to forgo traveling in your car that one evening to make it just a little easier for our local amphibians to make it to their breeding grounds. And if you are really interested in helping out, contact your local college, museum or environmental agency and ask about joining a group and volunteering.

Original article published 2011 © Associated Content

Published by Lily M. Plasse

Virtual Assisting, Small Business Services, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, Writing, Editing and Proofreading.

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