I can’t say that I like salamanders but I have an affection for them. My summer job at age 13 was feeding strips of beef liver to their cousins, Mexican axolotls, in the Figge lab.
This is the season when the salamanders cross the Beekman Road in East Brunswick. (No chicken jokes, please) And they need protection. Locals have organized to keep them being run over in the middle of the night, as described in this Packet story by Vashti Harris.
I went once, armed with a flashlight, and I did see one spotted salamander cross the road. It was exciting. What I mostly remember is the choral din of the spring peepers.
When to go? When the salamanders decide it’s time, on a warm night. Here’s how to plan your trip. Take the family but give each child a flashlight so they DON’T step on one.
Here’s what they look like — nothing like their Mexican cousins, which reach adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis. They never develop lungs, never walk on land — they keep their gills.
Axolotl photo from Wikipedia. Spotted Salamander photo from Friends of the East Burnswick Environmental Commission.