Amorous amphibians must dodge Pa. drivers during migration

During the next two weeks, a mass migration in the animal kingdom will be under way — and if local residents are not careful, also underfoot.

Each year, when the snows melt and the temperatures rise above freezing, male and female salamanders go looking for love in the area’s woods and wetland pools.

“You can imagine, if you're only given two or three weeks out of the year to reproduce, the pressure you would be under,” said Jim Julian, a Penn State Altoona herpetologist who studies the amphibians.

Julian also hosts ClearWater Conservancy’s vernal pool walks, education programs that guide followers through the Scotia Barrens, Pa., an area beloved by salamanders.

The nocturnal migrations can be dramatic — the right time, with the right weather conditions, can draw thousands of the critters into the open.

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