Warming spring days trigger amphibians like Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders to migrate to vernal pools to breed, often in great numbers, on the night of the first soaking rain above 45°F—a phenomenon known as “Big Night.”
Vernal pools are temporary, isolated ponds that form when spring rain and meltwater from ice and snow flood into woodland hollows and low meadows. These pools provide critical breeding habitat for certain amphibian and invertebrate species—since most vernal pools eventually dry up, they are inaccessible and inhospitable to predatory fish.
Wood Frogs are one of several species that rely on vernal pools to breed and reproduce. As you approach a vernal pool in early spring, you can hear a chorus of wood frogs “quacking” their breeding calls.
Learn more about vernal pools and their unique inhabitants—including a list of sanctuaries with vernal pools that you can visit—on our website and enjoy these five photos of wonderful Wood Frogs.
We’ve given snakes some love on this blog before, but they’re just so cool it seemed like time for a redux. This time of year, as young people everywhere are heading back to school or leaving home for college, the young of many species of snakes are also setting out on their own in the world.
Some species, like Ringneck, Milk, and Eastern Hognose snakes, lay eggs during the summer that hatch in August or September while others, such as Copperheads and Northern Red-bellied Snakes, give birth to live young anywhere from mid-July through September, even into October in the case of Eastern Garter Snakes and Northern Watersnakes.
Massachusetts’s 14 species of native snakes can be found everywhere from wetlands to woodlands, from rocky hillsides to stone walls, and from forests to fields. You might even find an Eastern Garter Snake or Eastern Milk Snake hanging out in your basement, generously helping to remedy any rodent problems you might be having!