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Vernal Pool Wildlife

The animals found in Vernal Pools have amazing adaptations that allow them to survive in these temporary habitats.

Some of these animals can only breed in Vernal Pools.  This is because there are no fish in pools and fish would eat all of the young if they were there.

The animals that can only breed in Vernal Pools are:

Spotted Salamanders

These salamanders are pretty big and are covered in yellow spots.  They live underground most of the year but travel to Vernal Pools to breed in spring.  After they breed they return to the forest and their underground homes.

Their eggs are laid in groups of 100 and are about the size of a baseball.  Once they hatch, the larvae (babies) live in the pond (they have gills) until they grow large enough to leave the pond and enter the forest.

For more information on spotted salamanders go here.

Wood Frogs

Like spotted salamanders, wood frogs live in the forest and visit the pools in early spring to lay their eggs. Also like the salamanders the eggs hatch into young which are called tadpoles which remain in the pond until they grow big enough to turn into frogs. 

To learn more about wood frogs go here.

Fairy Shrimp

Fairy shrimp are small invertebrates (animals that do not have backbones).  They spend their entire lives (only a few weeks!) in the pools. The eggs can dry out completely, overwinter, and hatch the next year when the pool fills with water again.

More information on fairy shrimp can be found here.

There are many, many other animals that use vernal pools as a source of water and for food.  This includes turtles, snakes, raccoons, deer, and many insects.

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