Salamanders Get Help Crossing the Road
To mate! With some help from human friends
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2009 3:38 PM CDT
A spotted salamander is seen in New Haven, Vt., Sunday, March 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)
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(Newser) – Salamanders are getting an assist this mating season from volunteers who shepherd them across dangerous highways, the AP reports. Hundreds try to cross between forests and vernal pools this time of year, and human escorts—also known as bucket brigades—have popped up along the East Coast to keep them from being flattened. One Vermont crew spotted 589 amphibians in two hours—not counting 96 that were run over.

Critters given an assist included wood frogs, peepers, and blue-spotted, red-backed and four-toed salamanders. "It's pretty much the one time of year where you get to see a lot of salamanders in abundance and it's just really cool," says one 20-year-old volunteer. Conservation biologists have encouraged Vermont to install tunnels to help the salamanders, but with a possible $350,000 price tag, the critters might be on their own.