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Big Night

What is Big Night?

The Rush to Reproduce   

It begins with a warm, rainy night in late winter, early spring. That's when an amazing yearly procession of amphibians gets underway. It's called Big Night.

From the safe cover of the forest floor, a parade of wood frogs and salamanders make their way to vernal pools and wetland areas where they reproduce to continue their species.

Amphibians can travel up to a quarter mile or more as they migrate through fragmented spaces and cross dangerous backroads to reach their destination.

This is a leading cause of amphibian mortalities.  It's also the reason why 
Conservation Partners of the Pomperaug are taking actionable steps to help. 


This year, CPOP partners including Southbury Land Trust, Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust, Steep Rock Association, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Bent of the River Audubon Center, Roxbury Land Trust, Bethlehem Land Trust, and Watertown Land Trust are joining together to make the journey safer for amphibians at key locations.

Group members will do this by posting Big Night Crossing signs at select locations. We'll also work with our members and volunteers to assist at areas with high instances of amphibian crossings.

Big Night kicks off this short breeding season. Additional migrations can, however, continue for a few weeks. 

And when does Big Night occur
 each year? No one really knows. It is not an exact science. Just know that if enough snow has melted in the woods, and temperatures stay relatively warm, and it is raining, there's a good chance Big Night is getting underway.  

For more details on Amphibian Crossing Groups
Harris Center for Conservation Education
NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation

Vernal Pool Listserv at

For more information on Amphibians
Dennis Quinn, CTHerpetology
Salamanders of CT
Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Photo credit: 
Wood Frog- Joy VanderLek, Southbury Land Trust
Spotted Salamander - Luke Groff, PhD, CWB | Herpetologist
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources | Vermo
nt Fish & Wildlife Department

Spotted Salamander_Clarendon VT_Luke Groff_04.13.2020_Big Night.jpg


  • Be on the lookout when late winter temperatures reach 40 degrees, and rain is forecast.

  • Drive slowly or avoid areas of amphibian crossings altogether.

  • Treat vernal pools with care. They are critical habitat for amphibian reproduction.   

  • Volunteer with local Crossing Brigades.

  • Educate others about this annual event. 

Do you have a Big Night Sighting to report?  Tell us here!

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