Herping in the southeast.

warrior

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I went herping this morning looking for caudates mainly the eastern newts that are supposedly local.I have never seen an eastern newt or many other native salamanders since I moved out east.I haven't been herping much though.I found a place that has many wetlands and forested areas and a nice pond.....but there's nothing in the pond or in the temporary pools and creeks that came from the rain we have had in the past few days.It is perfect habitat for caudates,but even looking under the wood or small logs had nothing but bugs.It was over 80 yesterday and today was in the 60's.I think it is perfect caudate weather today but searching for them came up empty?I know i'm looking in the right places but still confused as to where all the amphibians are?Is mid 60's weather too cold for them?I would think not after reading my field guides.Any tips on what i'm doing wrong?Any tips on what habitat I should be looking for them in that I havent covered?I'm just dissapointed I can't find any caudates on my herping trips.I really want to see eastern newts in the wild!
 

Kaysie

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It's more that 80F is too hot.

I've found that the southeast is really hit or miss. I found very few caudates when I got anywhere near the ocean. Inland (50+ miles) has to be practically pristine habitat, undisturbed, etc.
 

warrior

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Yeah the mid 80's would be hard to find caudates,but that was the other day.Yesterday it was mid 60's...a quick change in the weather and it was raining.I thought I read on here and in books that some eastern newts do stay in the water year round.This area I herped was undisturbed where I hardly see anyone.It has very rough hiking trails and is in the country with a nice pond.I guess I'll look again and maybe head out to the smoky mountains which is only about 45 minutes away,but wanted to see them locally.
 

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Even if it's undisturbed now, if it was disturbed in the past (logged, dredged, whatever), it could have damaged the population to where there are none present.

The best way to find easterns is to look for efts on cool rainy days in the woods. Go out on a day when it's in the mid 60s and lightly drizzling, and you should run across them. Efts are bold since they're so poisonous, and will be out strolling during the day.
 

John

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Eddie, I must apologize for not seeing this thread before. I've spent much of the last 1.5 months in Eastern TN and Western NC photographing salamanders. Had I seen your post I would gladly have taken you on an excursion or two.

For the newts, the adults will be hard to come by now unless you're at altitude (I was catching net-fulls of breeding newts in the Blue Ridge mountains of TN/NC at one point). The larvae may be catchable in a dipnet, but you need the right location. Not all ponds are created equal and you'll have the best luck in ponds without fish.

If you're looking for other species of salamander, send me a PM and I may be able to point you in the right direction, depending on where you live.
 

warrior

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John,thanks for that,I had just seen this post today.I may be wrong but your talking about the great smokey mountains or close by?I have been there but hadn't had much time to look.I have been looking in a few ponds for newts in knoxville TN and nearby where I live.I believe next time I go herping I will take a dip net,cause I know they are here.I do searches on the internet and have the field guide.Thanks again John if you do happen this way again let me know,I may have to see how you do so good on your herping trips.
 

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I'll second what John said, I've had the same experiences here in VA. The Shenandoah Mountains are absolutely crawling with caudates, but in the low-altitude northern VA area (my backyard borders on untouched parkland) redbacks (P. cinereus) are the only specie I can find on a regular basis. Only other species I've seen here were- 2 red efts, 2 marbled & 1 spotted salamander, and that includes my childhood... you could easily find more in an hour on the right day in the mountains.
 
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