By Don Ford

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — A road in the Berkeley hills has been shut down to allow thousands of newts to get down and dirty.

The slimy little creatures are making a long journey to a pond near UC Berkeley’s botanical garden for mating season.

“These little guys will walk a mile,” Botanical Garden Supervisor Joel Dahl said.

Dogs and bikes are still allowed on South Park Drive, and even though the newt is not an endangered or threatened species, closing the road down helps prevent a massacre.

“You’d see hundreds, if not thousands over the course of the year of dead newts on that road,” Dahl said.

The newt is part of the salamander family, measuring about six inches long, and they’ve been around since dinosaurs roamed the planet.

The best time to see them crossing the road is when it’s raining.

South Park Drive will remain closed until the end of March.