Trip Details

Location: Linn county, Iowa

Weather: 82 degrees, humid, cloudy

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Herpers: Laura and Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

A friend and neighbor of ours is building a vineyard not far from where we live. He dug post holes to put up the supports for his vines a while back, and when he was doing some work at the vineyard, he noticed that there were frogs and salamnders trapped in many of the holes. He mentioned it to me, and of course I volunteered that Laura and I would go and pull them out before he put the posts in. We made a trip out that same evening. Long story short, we found a bunch of amphibians. I only took pictures of salamanders, but we found 36 Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum), twenty-some leopard frogs, and between five and ten each of american toads, gray treefrogs and green frogs.

We popped the salamanders into a bucket with a bit of water in so they could hydrate a bit. For the most part they all looked to be in good shape, considering they had been in those holes for up to three weeks.

We let them go in the field and in a nearby ditch that borders a prairie. I'm sure a few will find their way back into the post holes. We will make another visit just prior to when the posts are going to go in to clear them out one more time.

I have to say that I was amazed at the number of salamanders we found. This site is just under a mile from the wetland where we observed adults this spring as they were leaving the breeding pools. It really puts into perspective just how many baby salamanders wander out of that area each summer!

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