Spring is around the corner and the annual passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration will begin soon. King Road, near the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road, continues to be closed for construction of a nearby subdivision. The base of King Road will reopen to local traffic on April 15, once the salamanders are expected to finish their annual crossing.
Since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for the salamanders which are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.
About the Jefferson Salamander
In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment.
Jefferson salamanders spend most of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rains begin, the salamanders emerge and migrate to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off, laying their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. Adults leave the ponds after breeding. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills, become air-breathing juveniles and leave the pond to head into the surrounding forests.
Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They show a strong affinity for the pond in which they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes causing them to cross busy roads.
Burlington is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and follow @CityBurlington on social media.
• The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.
• Jefferson salamanders have a grey or brown-coloured back, with lighter under-parts. Blue flecks may be present on the sides and limbs.
• Adult Jefferson salamanders are 12 to 20 cm long. The long tail makes up half this length.
• Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.