Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Ambystoma gracile’

Salamander Hole Revisited

It has been raining a lot the past few days. In fact, we have measured 3.64″ in the last two days. Since the conditions were very similar to the day I met our resident monster salamander (see Alien Invasion) I went to check on my elusive friend. Quite a few days had passed from the time I last saw her…but actually, let me back track a moment.

A couple of days after my initial “first contact” with the alien invader, I ventured back to her little hide-out. We had a couple of days of dryer weather, and I wondered if she was okay. She was laying in the hole, looking kind of dead actually. I decided to try a little water, so with bucket and water in hand, I poured it down the sides of the hole so that it wouldn’t be a direct hit on top of her. She moved!! Being really excited now, it seemed that a little more water would be a better idea. My next move was to try and think like a salamander…hhhhmmm…I think I’d like to have an earthworm or two. There was a shovel, and there was a patch of very moist soil…worms!!

Yeah, kind of gross, but it will feed the salamander. The flecks of blue are lint from my pocket.

Yeah, kind of gross, but it will feed the salamander. The flecks of blue are lint from my pocket.

There was a surprise at the bottom of that salamander hole, of which, I couldn’t see until I looked at the picture…. Can you see it?? Hint: In case you don’t remember, that original salamander alien encounter was with a very large, black, slimy critter…

A hidden item in this photo.

A hidden item in this photo.

You found it!!! All of a sudden there were two amphibians at the bottom of that hole!! After a couple of days, the duo disappeared slowly into the access hole at the bottom of the deep hole. Well, the last couple of days of heavy rain did fill the hole back up with water until this afternoon during a break in the rain, it was slowly absorbed. Okay…bring us to about 5:15 p.m. today…..all that I can say is there is something very strange going on at the bottom of that post hole. I don’t know what’s going on!! You need to click on the picture, and then zoom it up to get the full effect.

That's no salamander...that's a rat!

That’s no salamander…that’s a rat!

Yes, that’s a rat…the other stuff lying around it….is anybody’s guess. In fact, what do you think it is? Did the rat eat the salamander?? Gross!!

Alien Invasion

Although we are living smack-dab in the middle of Sasquatch country….

Bigfoot Country

….which by the way looks oddly familiar if you grew up with Star Wars….

Notice the resemblance.

Notice the resemblance.

…..I think the farm has been invaded by aliens!!

Walking along the backside of the shop, I happened to appear into a deep post-hole dug out this past fall. Since Tony and I (mostly Tony) do our the majority of our own construction on different projects around the farm, things are ordered in priority based on several things…weather, (although we’ve learned, if you don’t work in the rain…you don’t work) materials, funding, and manpower (mainly the availability of our son, Will.) But anyway…back to the alien…

…..peering into the deeply dug hole, I had to stop, and look again. “Wait..what is that?”

Is this a huge bug or something??

Is this a huge bug or something??

Gathering up my courage….I looked more closely down the deep hole…

IT'S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what's that thing next to it??

IT’S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what’s that thing next to it??

Let me just mention this… I grew up hunting for earthworms, tracking down gopher snakes in an attempt to hold them, collecting tadpoles (though my parents wouldn’t let me keep them, “Hi Mom” :o), slogging through the muddy muck of salt water lagoons in an attempt to find something…anything alive within the water or mud. I still do this stuff! So, to say I was a bit…well I wouldn’t say frightened, but….frightened of this big, little critter is a testament to how “creepily huge” this salamander had grown. It seemed to stare at me, watching my every move. If I moved…it moved it’s head in my direction. My attention was drawn to the other dark “thing” sitting on the other side of the hole. Was it a decaying conifer cone…or was it an egg sack?? In my head, I heard a familiar tune….”Duh, Duh, Dummmmm!!”

With a little (very little) research, I think I have narrowed down the options of amphibians to this one, the Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile). Take a look at this simple webpage http://pages.uoregon.edu/titus/herp/gracile.html It even shows a photo of the egg sack, which I now totally believe is the other item within that hole. My main concern now for our little alien is that we aren’t supposed to get more rain for another two days…I’m afraid she and her egg sack might dry out. I may add a little water to the bottom of the hole today after I check on the little alien family. We’ll see how that goes!!!

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