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Notes From The Field Blog

Matters of Mating

Posted: 3/18/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak
Original Source: Notes from the Field

There's nothing quite like listening to the sound of chorusing frogs or watching salamanders wiggle their way across the road. Male spring peepers and wood frogs make their presence known as they call for a mate and the sound can be deafening. Unlike spotted and Jefferson salamanders, which are silent and use pheromones to entice their mate.  On rainy nights in late winter or early spring, you have the opportunity to witness this awesome mating ritual for yourself. It is a very exciting and unique experience for visitors who brave these cold, rainy nights. 

So, here is some information and guidelines to make the experience better for you and, most importantly, our amphibian friends. 

Every year, a section of Valley Parkway is closed in Brecksville Reservation on nights when conditions are optimal for amphibian migration (above 40°, dark and raining). We close the road to help protect these amphibians on their journey to reproduce. These amphibians spend most of the year out of view, either in burrows underground, well hidden in leaf litter, or in trees.  Year after year they emerge, migrate to ponds to breed and then return to their homes.  This cycle makes them vulnerable to habitat loss, disease, predators, cars and even well-intentioned humans. 

Cleveland Metroparks needs your help to protect amphibians. Here are some helpful tips when visiting the park during this time of year: 

  • Pay attention as you drive on cold, rainy nights in March and April, you may travel through other migration spots within the Park District.
  • Watch your step. These animals are small and very difficult to see in the dark; therefore easy to step on. We ask that all visitors have their own bright flashlight and watch every step they take. We also prefer that you leave strollers and pets at home.
  • Stay on the road or all purpose trail.   Diseases found in water and soil and can easily be transferred by amphibians moving to new areas or on the boots of humans.  To help stop the spread in our area, please stay on pavementBoots can become contaminated while walking around the ponds, not to mention these animals are well-camouflaged and are really hard to see in the leaf litter.
  • Do not touch or pick them up. These animals are beautiful and really cool to see, but amphibians use their skin to take in oxygen, water and electrolytes.  Handling them can lead to illness, infection or even death for the animal.

It's a lot to remember, but we want to protect these amazing amphibians. So come see (and hear) this annual migration for yourself, it is an experience that you will never forget.  

Kelly McGinnis
Brecksville Nature Center



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