In search of the SalamandersHard-to-find critters scooting regularly across Trace

Published 11:45 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

CLINTON — On cold, dreary winter nights, tall flashing caution lights along a rocky stretch of the Natchez Trace Parkway will warn drivers to brake for salamanders.

On cool nights when the rain is pouring, salamanders emerge from the ground where they live most of the year and begin to cross from small patches on one side of a two-mile stretch of road looking for breeding ponds on the other, said herpetologist Tom Mann, who leads a group of volunteers who count, identify and escort the salamanders across the busy parkway.

The volunteer group is dedicated to expanding the knowledge of three species — Webster’s salamander, the spotted salamander and the marbled salamander — that live between mileposts 85 and 87, just south of Interstate 20 on the Natchez Trace.

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