New York motorists are likely to see another kind of commuter on upcoming drives: amphibians. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is warning that frogs and salamanders are likely to start their breeding migrations soon due to warm weather, putting them in danger of being squashed by passing cars, as the Rochester, New York-based Democrat & Chronicle reports.
The amphibians normally hibernate until the ground thaws in late March or early April, waiting until nighttime temperatures exceed 40°F. A perfect confluence of warm, rainy weather can lead to mass migrations across roads as amphibians move from their winter retreats in forests to the ponds and pools where they breed. They travel at night and have a tendency to get hit by cars even on roads that would seem pretty safe by human standards.
"Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season," the Department of Environmental Conservation warned in a news release. "Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads."
In the Hudson Valley, volunteers with the Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project observe road crossings during the season to document how many frogs, salamanders, and toads they see, and to help them cross safely.
Since not all frogs are lucky enough to have crossing guards, be sure to keep an eye out for our road-weary amphibian friends.
[h/t Democrat & Chronicle]