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Nature Notebook – Baby Salamanders

April showers may bring May flowers, but March showers bring baby salamanders.

Most Michigan salamander species hang out in damp forests. Their permeable skin must stay moist so they usually occupy old burrows made by other small animals under logs or rocks. In the fall they deepen these burrows for their winter hibernation.

The lengthening hours of sunlight in the spring trigger a salamander’s need to create offspring. However, being an amphibian, it must migrate to a pond to accomplish this task. The delicate salamander skin would not do well on a dry, overland trip so it waits for the March spring rains to finish melting the snow and saturate the ground.

Males move a bit faster than the females. They arrive at the ponds first and stake out their territory. When a female arrives, she uses her cloaca (located at the base of the tail) pick up the spermatophore packets deposited by her chosen mate then lays eggs a few days later.