High Variance

Salamanders and Peepers

A few weeks ago the girls and I went to the Peabody Natural History Musem and learned that salamanders and newts are very common animals in Connecticut. The reason you never see them is that they mostly hang out in places we don’t go. Reading a little further, I learned that the best chance for an encounter is near water on a rainy early spring night.

Last week R and I were reading one of our favorite poetry books (Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems) and I noticed that it said early spring nights were a great time to hear peepers—these tiny tree frogs congregate around ponds and to attract mates with their calls. I’d never heard peepers, but it sounded pretty cool.

Then yesterday evening, when the weather forecast told me it was going to be our last rainy night for at least a week, I decided R and I needed to take a quick trip to the neighborhood pond. We got our rain boots, rain coats, umbrellas, and flash lights and hopped into the car. “Are you excited?” I asked? “Oh yes, very excited!” R replied.

We arrived at the trail head and while the batteries in my big maglight were almost dead, R’s flashlight saved the day. We tromped along and quickly heard our first peepers! They got quieter as we approached the pond, so we turned off our lights and only talked in whispers. Within a minute, a peeper on the other side resumed calling. We both thought it was fantastic.

On the way back to the car we looked for salamanders and newts but came up empty. We also learned that balancing on wet logs in the rain wearing rubber boots is harder than it looks. At home we did some quick Easter egg coloring and got ready for bed. R was super excited to when Mom suggested she wear her Peeper jammies.

The whole trip lasted 30 minutes, but our memories will last a lifetime.