Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's a good thing I'm not easily freaked out.

...



I was ripping apart the rotting plywood that covers one of the walls along the edge of our yard. The wood was coming apart like brittle paper, and I was wearing long suede gauntlets, to protect my skin, and keep the spiders at bay. (And whoo boy, were there a lot of spiders!)

As I pulled the plywood away I started seeing what I though were worms, squirming around.

Then I noticed...


the worms had eyes.


I grabbed one, and ran into the house, yelling for Robb to get me some sort of dish. The slimy slithery creature was writhing all over my glove, and I was afraid I would drop it, before I got a photograph.

This, my friends, is a California Slender Salamander. I know this is a crappy photograph, but will you look at those teeny-tiny toes?

Over the course of the afternoon, I relocated ten or eleven of these strange little creatures. I was worried that they would get crushed under the demolition, so I moved them to a new home in our moss-encrusted wood pile.




That's the thing about having a house whose back yard is filled with decaying lumber. There's plenty to look at. Anyone know anything about mushrooms?



Oh how cool is this? My friend Ken-Ichi tells me that this is probably a slime mold, known commonly at wolf's milk or toothpaste slime.

9 comments:

slowe said...

I found one of those salamanders once...after it had Passed.

I took it to work and got a jewelry buddy to cast it in silver. Not a totally successful casting, but you could see the toes.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to join me in agreeing that we have one very unique and amazing friend in Lisa?

~~Doublesaj~~

Gabrielle said...

i love this!!!!

Anonymous said...

Those things look like piglet testicles to me!

Either way, please don't eat them- nor the salamanders... jeeze, even MORE critters to get xmas gifts for this year!

Annalisa

LunaSea said...

Awww... what an adorable little guy you found! And I think he's one of the 'safe' ones. Here's my story: For years, I worked at a lavender farm in Pescadero. For almost two months of the year, during their mating season, the California Newts would go roaming. Many of them cruised across a small, one lane road on my drive to work, where hundreds of them would meet their doom under car tires. I hated this, so whenever I was driving and spotted one of them on the road, I'd stop, jump out, grab it and deposit him in a bowl I kept on my front seat for just that purpose. I'd average about five a day... hundreds over the years. At the end of the road, I'd stop and walk the bowl down an embankment to a nice little spot away from danger to set the little guys free.
So, about six months ago, I learned that the little guys I had been handling so nonchalantly are toxic. From their skin, the secrete the same tetrodotoxin that is found in pufferfish. Lethal in very small amounts:
http://people.uwec.edu/piercech/animals/newt.htm

My desire to save the little creatures (yet again) almost got me killed. I don't expect I'll ever learn though.
LunaSea

MommaWriter said...

We've got those salamanders in our yard. I thought they were worms the first time I saw them too! They're very cool. http://ryderwrong.blogspot.com/2009/02/backyard-wildlife.html

Stacey

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

LunaSea -- I love your story SO MUCH!

It really sounds like something that I would do.

Save the 'manders! And don't worry about that pesky skin-absorbed poison...

Anonymous said...

Newts don't poison people who help them.

They told me so, right before I would lick them.

Annalisa

Martha said...

It's kind of cute in a really icky way. I thought you were going to say it was a baby snake. I didn't notice the feet at first.

Martha

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