Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

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Noah M
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Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Noah M »

I've long heard of salamander migrations. I've experienced it in Indiana and remember it fondly. I've tried finding migrant salamanders here in Florida and come up empty handed more often than not.

Oct 27th I drove to Wakulla and Leon County in hopes of catching something on a road. Light rain and wet roads produced nothing.

Last night I drove 2.5 hours to Leon county. The rains came, and I was along what looked to be a good road 20 minutes after dark during the rain. After 3 hours of cruising with off and on showers, I had seen no salamanders. I did see dozens of frogs and a few snakes though.

Salamander cruising seems to be not just about location, but also timing. I always seem to be in the wrong location at the right time or the right location at the wrong time.

The other option I've considered is that they are present, and for some reason I'm not seeing them, but I kinda figure even a small opacum or grobmani would stand out on a road.

Most of peninsular Florida has yet to have a good hard rain this month, so I'm hoping I haven't missed any movement here yet. There may still be movement in the panhandle, though I feel like with each successive rain event the likelihood decreases. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe any rain event is what gets them moving.

My target species is anything really. I can always go back and flip logs to find stuff. What I really want to see is a migration. The last one I witnessed was 2007. Part of my frustration, apart from driving for hours to seemingly perfect conditions and habitat and coming up empty is that I feel like it shouldn't be this hard to witness. A number of species in the panhandle in particular are not exactly rare. Truthfully, it doesn't even have to be in Florida. Parts of south Georgia are actually closer. Maybe I should look there.

Does anybody have any tips, tricks, or advice? Am I doing something wrong? How do you tell what the best conditions are for movement? The wife is losing patience with me. I can only leave randomly in the late afternoon and have our single, shared car for the entire night so many times :lol:

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Josh Holbrook »

I'm not a NFL native, so take it with a grain of salt, but the problem may be the fact that you aren't targeting a specific species. My suggestion would be to target a specific species/group (Ambystomatids would be a good place to start) so that you can narrow down your cruising to a truncated habitat type (i.e. areas with fishless ponds.)

Or just pop a energy drink and come up to central/northern GA during any rain...

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Josh Young
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Josh Young »

It's still kinda early for Ambystomids in Florida, couple weeks will be when they kick off. I've only seen random marbleds and moles move here, as well as the ever present dwarfs. The weekend before Thanksgiving last year is when tigers started moving where I live so I imagine it will be around the same time for the majority of Florida as well, granted rains happen and pools are full.

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Noah M
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Noah M »

Thanks guys. I will wait patiently for the next time rain and my free time overlap. I will also try to target a species; I've been mostly looking for roads that pass through habitat with cypress domes hoping for either a mole or marbled.

simus343
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by simus343 »

Pretty much exactly what Josh Young said.

Another pond type that seems to be good is old cattle ponds. A co-worker lives right next to an abandoned farm that has a few fishless cattle ponds and has spotlighted mole salamander larvae in them and flipped some adults under road-side debris.

Also your wife's impatience with you is why I recommend waiting a few more months, in part, haha. I know tiger salamanders can be found in the location I recommended under those rainy winter conditions, so if she's only giving you "a few more" trips, that's why I suggested you wait until more optimal conditions :lol:.

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Noah M
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Noah M »

Or just pop a energy drink and come up to central/northern GA during any rain...
I have no clue where I would go. If I were to drive far enough north I would probably just hit the mountains and flip stuff. No need to wait for the rains.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Help with Salamander Migrations in Florida

Post by Josh Holbrook »

Noah M wrote:
Or just pop a energy drink and come up to central/northern GA during any rain...
I have no clue where I would go. If I were to drive far enough north I would probably just hit the mountains and flip stuff. No need to wait for the rains.

Any of the national forests... Especially roads running along creeks and rivers.

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