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West Virginia Wildlife
Patrick McMurtry Spring Has Sprung, And So Have The Salamanders

March 21, 2012
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


The next nice day you have free, grab your kids and head out to the woods and spend an hour or two looking for salamanders. These little guys are about to come out of their hiding places after sleeping the winter away.

Karen McClure, a biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, says it's time for salamanders to appear. "In the winter they go underground, staying warm, and when it starts getting into the right temperature range, then they'll start coming out more looking for something to eat, possibly reproducing, depending on the species and time of year. So this is the time of year scientists can look for salamanders by looking under their hiding spots."

And it's a good time for you, too. Things aren't too hot, there's nothing to hunt right now, and the recent rain has little creeks and ponds full of water. Karen has a couple of tips for all of you salamander peepers out there.

"We might roll some logs over, some rocks over and see if there are any under there. What we have to remember is this is not just their home, but thousands of other species live under that rock. No matter what we find or don't find, we put it back just like we found it, and we're real careful about things like bees and centipedes." says McClure.

"Here's one! I'm not even going to touch it. I'm going to put the rock back and him right beside it so he knows right where he is and he'll just go hide under the rock." says McClure.

You want to be sure and wash your hands before heading out to the woods...salamanders breathe through their skins so any lotions or pesticides on your hands could hurt them. Here's something else you might not know...look around these woods...Karen says there are more pounds of salamanders per acre than the combined weight of all the deer living on an acre...crazy!

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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