First salamander

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One of the guys here to do some tree work last Thursday told me he had seen the largest salamander he’d ever set eyes on in my small reflecting pool. This is a spotted salamander, apparently common, but rarely seen, throughout the eastern US. When I found it the next day, it dove under water, then surfaced in the middle of the pool and just floated motionless. It’s about seven inches long.

This small reflecting pool (as seen last autumn), only about 7 by 7 feet and 8 inches deep, is its home, for how long, I don’t know. It seems very vulnerable to our many raptors and carnivorous mammals.

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I saw a baby salamander last year, about 1.5 inches long and a quarter inch wide. I’d like to think this is the one from last year, but that’s wild speculation.

I watched it again yesterday in the late afternoon, which is the time it seems most comfortable floating on the surface. It seemed to be playing, swimming upside down, bending its body this way and that, for longer than I wanted to stay and watch.

My wild style garden is proving itself to be still wild.

Here is the salamander “dancing.”

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12 thoughts on “First salamander

  1. I would have been thrilled to witness a salamander cavorting like this in person! The photos give a very good sense of what you saw. And some of the moments you captured seem so unlikely. It seems to have been having a joyous time. This ranks as exciting as my neighbor seeing the large black bear investigating his patio the other evening. Lucky you!

    1. He seems to play in the late afternoon. I purposefully left leaf litter in the pool to help protect him/her from predators. If he’s extant when I return, perhaps you’ll stop by for a salamander viewing.

  2. Gosh, if someone had built me an Olympic-sized pool surrounded by a garden full of food and shelter, I’d be cavorting in mid-afternoon, too! Long life to your spotted friend.

  3. There’s something fascinating about them, an aquatic creature that is associated with fire in mythologies. I think they are considered a sign of a healthy eco-system, that they don’t do well in contaminated environments, so it seems like a good sign that there is one in your garden. Sitting and watching them always reminds me of the Cortazar story Axolotl.

    1. BEfore I left for England, I wanted to clean the small reflecting pool, but among the debris were hundreds of salamander eggs with minute salamanders inside them. So I left in in a mess. I’m hoping they decide to stay around.

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