Monday

The Spotted Salamander



Look who we found when we were stacking winter firewood a couple days ago. 
The bottom layers of the woodpile had sat on the ground for the past year and it had to be re-stacked... When I lifted a fairly big piece, there he was all curled up under a concave section of it.  It was damp and cool there,  just what he liked.



He was very well fed too from the look of him.
  There were so many earthworms, grubs and slugs hiding under there, it was a Salamander's paradise.
They can live up to 20 years.



His skin seemed very thin and delicate, bluish-black and moist.. with two stripes of asymmetrically placed vibrant yellow spots. 
 His eyes were big... better to see in the dark.



He had 4 little toes on his feet and was about 7"-8" long from nose to tip of his tail, which he  kept slightly curled. 
 He was such a gentle little thing.




We didn't keep him out of his moist environment for very long... just time enough to take these pictures... 
then sat him down by the woodpile again, out behind the house...he quickly climbed back into a new hiding spot.  

He was really quite striking.
and we felt very lucky to see him up close and hold him in our hands.




...Max Ackerson took all the photographs.... That's me in the work gloves....
 from up on the bluff at Desideratum Art Studios overlooking St. Martins and the Bay of Fundy.

23 comments:

VioletSky said...

oooh, he looks so adorable.
and I am not usually drawn to such creatures.
20 years is a long time.

rachel said...

What a wonderful creature! All we seem to get in our woodpile is a slug or two (hundred) and the occasional frog hiding from the cats.....

Steven Cain said...

Holy cow! He looks pregnant!

Valerianna said...

I have quite a few of those beauties in the forest here, but I hardly ever see them. When I do, its a great gift. Amazingly, when the excavator was here digging the post holes for the new studio, one of the crew yelled to stop... then ran into the middle of the area where they had been digging for over an hour, pulled a yellow-spotted salamander safely out of harms way, and relocated it elsewhere. I was quite pleased... and awed that it was completely unharmed in the middle of the construction zone!

Guillaume said...

Oh cool! Funny that salamanders live in moist environments: In ancient times they had the reputation to be born from the fire, as they were getting off the logs that were thrown in the fireplace.

Susan said...

He (or she) is gorgeous ! thank you for the lovely introduction, who knew a sweet salamander could live for 20 years. xo S + gang

Owen said...

Incredible ! And glad to hear there was so much he/she might find edible near by.

Who could have imagined such a spotted creature ??? Adorable !

Linda H said...

Such a handsome little critter! And photogenic too! :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks so much everybody. he even had little tiny nostrils.. i know he should have some but they were just so darn cute!
When first looking at him? or her?( can't really tell, he just seemed manly, ha ha) we thought he was really fat but Max read that they swallow their food whole, so he could have a few big fat juicy slugs all in there together.
There are also more species of Salamanders in North America than anywhere else in the world.... something for the book of Guiness.
... Wow jumping out of a rotten burning log.. I can see that. great way for a legend to start!

yvette said...

so beautiful

Carol Steel 5050 said...

He looks almost like he had a smile on his face. How kind of you to photgraph him and share with us. I haven't seen one for years. Thanks for this reminder of stacking wood from my childhood.

ArtPropelled said...

He IS striking! .... and looks sluggish.... maybe in more ways than one. Interesting that he will eat slugs whole.

Marie Alton said...

What a cute little thing! Amazing colour ... perfect yellow dots.
Nature paints things so pretty!
Hugs ... Marie

pRiyA said...

First time I've seen a real one. Such a stunning creature. I hope it may inspire a painting by you Gwen :)

Seth said...

Now that is what I call a found object! Is it just me or does he look like he is smiling in the first picture :)

rivergardenstudio said...

What a gorgeous little creature, your salamander is, I love the photo of him on the worn side of the glove... and in your last post, the rocks on the shore of the bay... I will check into your facebook!
roxanne

Cuidado said...

I used to find one of these every spring in my basement. I would always gently take it outside but wondered how it got in in the first place.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Everyone! ...don't you think he looks like he has a little clown suit on...

Emi ♥ said...

So adorable ^^

Love Emi

http://emi-doll.blogspot.co.uk/

Sharmon Davidson said...

what an interesting little guy. We have salamanders similar to him in Kentucky, but I've never seen one so big!

Gwen Buchanan said...

He is cute, isn't he Emi-doll!

Sharmon, he is the biggest one I have ever found too... I had heard before that sometimes they will rip their tail off when caught to get away.. so I made sure not to hold onto it.

Katie said...

You are lucky, indeed! What a beautiful fellow. Did you give him a name?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Katie, He wouldn't tell me his name... maybe he tried but I didn't understand Salamander. I was amazed how big he was ... made me think more of all the little creatures that live all around us that we don't always think about cause they keep undercover.