Friday, September 18, 2009

Ambystoma tigrinum

I went out today to empty the pool skimmer and saw a large lizard looking thing in the bottom of the deep end. It didn't look like a proper lizard, though, its corners were too rounded. I thought one of the next door neighborhood kids had thrown a rubber reptile over the fence to try to freak me out. Their mother, after all, had instructed them at an early age not only to throw any pinecones our trees dropped back over the fence, but to aim for the swimming pool. (No joke, I heard her telling them, "Throw it farther so you'll hit the pool.") I got the pool scoop out and swished the thing into the shallow end where I could more easily lift it out.

Immediately upon dumping it on the cement, I knew it was a salamander. A dang big, very dead salamander. How the heck did that thing get into my swimming pool?

A little Internet research told me that it's probably a melanistic tiger salamander -- tiger salamanders being the only species indigenous to Utah, and not uncommon.

Even though both cats thought it was totally gross, its bloated carcass grieved me. I like salamanders. I like the thought of them marching on their splayed out little legs around my yard. If only they'd stay away from the chlorinated swimming pool.


KC said...

I have always wanted to see one. Too bad about the pool mishap.

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