They are ugly but they are protected. As we move closer to the arrival of spring, a section of King Road will be closed to allow for the annual passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration. Starting on Thursday, March 16, King Road, from North Service Road to Mountain Brow Road, will be closed so the salamanders can cross the road safely. Local traffic for all properties between North Service Road and the escarpment will be maintained. King Road will reopen for through traffic on Wednesday, April 12, 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 to cross. They are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.
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.
The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.
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