Jefferson Salamander and his need to mate closes King Road until April 15th

By Pepper Parr

March 10th, 2022



Is this a love story – or just a story about a bunch of randy creatures looking for some action?

It’s Salamander mating season and they are migrating across King Road

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

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.

Expect to see this guy crossing King Road late at night – road is closed to protect him

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.

The Jefferson Salamander was the largest part of the decision to not permit an expansion of the quarry in 2012

In the years the Gazette has been covering the story of the Jefferson Salamander – they were a critical part of the decision in 2012 to not permit an expansion of the Nelson Quarry – one would have thought they would get more recognition and respect.

Someone should begin a movement to have the Jefferson Salamander the official mascot of the city – heck they deserve hero status for what they have achieved.

Quick Facts
• 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.

Burlington Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith does his bit to protect the Salamander explaining that: “Not only do the residents of Ward 1 do their part to protect the Jefferson Salamander every spring, the whole community embraces this road closure to help preserve this endangered species. Over the past decade, these conservation efforts have helped to ensure the Jefferson Salamander population is given a chance to survive and thrive in the years to come. Thank you to everyone who takes this short inconvenience in stride to protect our beloved ‘Jeffy’.”

Hassaan Basit, President and CEO, Conservation Halton who is perhaps best seen as God Father to the creatures add that ““The decade-long partnership between Conservation Halton and the City of Burlington has resulted in the preservation of the Jefferson Salamander population. We are pleased to share that since the first King Road closure in 2012, we have observed no Jefferson Salamander road mortality in that area during the migration period.”

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2 comments to Jefferson Salamander and his need to mate closes King Road until April 15th

  • Alfred

    Pretend there is a problem. Then pretend to solve it. You look like you are a hero even though you have accomplished absolutely nothing. Very similar to our tree by-law

  • Philip Waggett

    I applaud this effort but is there any scientific data to prove that it’s working?