Volunteers can help fill reptile data gaps

CONCORD – While you’re spending time in New Hampshire’s woods and wetlands this year, help the Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program by reporting your wildlife sightings.

Your efforts help biologists fill in gaps in the data for several seldom-seen reptiles and amphibians, including the Fowler’s toad, Eastern hognose snake, blue-spotted salamanders, and several species of salamanders, frogs, turtles and snakes. New Hampshire Fish and Game collects information on these sightings to help monitor the state’s reptile and amphibian populations.

Information and reporting forms are available at www.wildnh.com/nongame/reptiles-amphibians.html.

"The Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program has been a very useful tool for gathering species information in New Hampshire," Fish and Game biologist Michael Marchand said. "Every year, we learn more about these fascinating creatures and where they occur."

Since the beginning of the program, more than 500 volunteers have submitted more than 10,000 wildlife records.

Although reptiles and amphibians are often the focus of reporting at this time of year when they’re coming out of hibernation and moving into wetlands, biologists also encourage your reports of vernal pools. These are often small, isolated wetlands that are full of water for only part of the year, making them easily overlooked.

The publication "Identification and Documentation of Vernal Pools in New Hampshire" and the Vernal Pool Reporting Form are available at www.wildnh.com/nongame/vernal-pools.html.

Biologists want your reports on other wildlife species, as well. To report additional wildlife species, such as certain birds and mammals, use the Wildlife Sightings reporting webpage at nhwildlifesightings.unh.edu. Mapping tools allow observers to easily pinpoint the location of their wildlife observation, and digital photographs can be uploaded as part of your submissions.

For more information about New Hampshire’s wildlife, visit www.wildnh.com/wildlife/profiles.html, where you will find resources to help you identify the frogs, salamanders, snakes and turtles that exist in the state, and the important habitats that many of em rely upon. This continually expanding resource includes photographs, descriptions and habitat information about the state’s 40 native reptiles and amphibians.

Fish and Game works to protect more than 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates in New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.wildnh.com/nongame.