Saturday, November 13, 2010

Samuel the Salamander

So B! and I were in Pennsylvania and were out walking...

[tangent: B! is my gf, the exclamation is part of the name, not really of course just in terms of my writing, so "B" is a letter "B!" is my gf, just so that clear and you don't think the sentence is to ready "So B(end sentence) And I..." its her name so it reads similar to "So B and I..." but she is not "B" but rather as previously mentioned "B!". hopefully that straightens the issue out for everyone]

...I was taking pictures, as is the norm, when she screams SNAKE! Being a field surveyor for the Herpetological Atlas I was instantly intrigue, however slightly confused as it was a chilly overcast damp day, and the likelihood of a snake in the middle of a soccer field seemed marginal, at best. B!, due to her irrational fear of snakes, had ran to "safety" as I searched for her so called snake. As I neared the location of her initial terror I spotted a medium sized black lump. Instantly I realized this was no snake. As I closed in I realized it was a beautiful salamander, much more logical for the conditions and much more exciting a find.

Salamander's spend most of their lives underground, they come out infrequently to breed and to hunt, this being said, to find a salamander is incredibly exciting for one who hobbies in the herp realm, or for anyone for that matter as they are beautiful and peaceful creatures (peaceful in the sense they only eat small bugs and don't bite or attack us humans).

This was my first salamander find since joining the herp atlas, and, being excited, I instantly picked up the amphibian (this is not particularly harmful to the creature if you are gentle but is more of an issue of not disturbing the environment, as the motto goes "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." Well at this realization B!, now relieved that this wasn't a snake, came over to see the little guy and promptly named him Samuel. We carried Samuel to the pond that was about 10 yards away and laid him under some bark, as in his now distressed state he would be easy prey for someone.

Here are some pics of our find:

What I left out: Samuel is a Spotted Salamander (sometimes referred to as: Yellow-spotted Salamander), this species has been known to live up to 32 years, their diet consists of crickets, worms, insects, spiders, slugs, and millipedes. They are nocturnal and are generally found on warm damp spring nights. They are common and are not considered threatened, however like most amphibians their habitats are constantly under attack from human activities and they are very delicate animals that require an undisturbed environment. Because of their long life span urban sprawl affects this species greatly as they generally return to the same vernal pool (temporary pools of water. They are usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species.) each year to breed.

In conclusion, Be Nice To Herps.


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