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Feral Swine Damage to Salamander Habitat in Florida

The endangered reticulated flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma bishop) and frosted salamander (A. cingulatum) are threatened by the activities of invasive feral swine in Florida. Although feral swine eat salamanders, the bigger danger likely comes from the destruction of sensitive habitats where the salamanders live and breed. In 2014, NWRC, Virginia Tech and WS Operations experts monitored 28 sites comprised of long-leaf pine-wiregrass flatwoods and scattered ephemeral wetlands for feral swine damage on Eglin Air Force base in Florida. Of the sites surveyed, 68% showed signs (i.e., tracks, scat, rooting) of feral swine and 54% were damaged by feral swine rooting. Of the 11 sites known to be occupied by flatwoods salamanders in 2013-2014, 64% had been visited by feral swine and 55% had been damaged by feral swine rooting. 

Natural resources personnel at Eglin have since installed exclusion fencing in two areas that encloses 5 of the 11 known flatwoods salamander breeding sites. Feral swine trapping and removal have also occurred. 

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