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Keep eye out for reptiles, amphibians in Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Sun,
April 16 2016

Warmer weather is starting to bring out local wildlife of the reptilian variety.

A few reptiles and amphibians have already been spotted in Simcoe County this spring, and on a leisurely shoreline stroll you may spot a wood frog or a snapping turtle. If you turn over a log, you may find a milksnake or even a red-spotted newt.

The onset of spring is an exciting time of year for outdoor enthusiasts as the veil of winter’s slumber is lifted from our wetlands, forests and meadows. The awakening of reptiles and amphibians is happening right at our feet.

“Spring is one of my favorite times of year and is distinctively marked by the unique calls of different species of frogs and toads. The early season calls of wood and chorus frogs as well as spring peepers bring the night alive with sound,” said Emma Horrigan, Ontario Nature’s Citizen Science Coordinator.

There are, however, global declines of reptiles and amphibians , and in Ontario, 75 per cent of reptiles and 22 per cent of amphibians are listed as at-risk provincially. These turtles, snakes, lizards, salamanders, frogs and toads have unique, specialized and fascinating life histories, but can suffer from habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, persecution and pollution.

You can help by enlisting as a citizen scientist for the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, which has been led by Ontario Nature since 2009. The data submitted by people of all skill levels is used to map the whereabouts of some of the province’s most enigmatic creatures. Ontario Nature’s spring is to fill in key data gaps where there are no recent sightings. While you’re enjoying the nice weather this week, keep an eye out for reptiles and amphibians. They have fascinating traits and adaptations, and you can help their plight simply by reporting your sightings.

For more information, go to Ontarionature.org.