May 20, 2007

Encounter with a Salamander

Tiger salamander. Photo by Heather Bjornebo.
Embolded by yesterday's conjunction of the Moon and Venus or some other esoteric factor, M. and I decided to plant an apple tree in a former flower bed at our guest cabin.

She was digging the hole while I went to fetch something, and when I came back, she said, "Look who I dug up!"

It was a tiger salamander. I had not seen one for years. Perhaps it had crawled down into a gopher burrow--they spend days underground in other animals' burrows--and spent the winter there.

Had I been thinking about blogging, I would have run for the camera. But we had an apple tree to plant. So the photo comes from a site on salamanders as pets.

Not wanting to make it a pet, I placed the salamander in the thick moist grass underneath a nearby juniper tree in the yard. When we came back a few hours later, it had disappeared. It had warmed up and was off to hunt insects--or find a new hideout--or so we hope.

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