Sunday, September 26, 2021

Seen too late

 I swept this little guy, dead and dried and covered with dust, out from under a kitchen cart.

A newt? He's 7 cm. long, curled as he is.

The head, under my little microscope. Spotty.

I think he may be a rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa; they have been seen near here. He's about the right size, the only colour he has left is a bit of orange on the underside, his feet are webbed, and there seems to be a ridge along his tail. Hard to be sure, he's so dried and shrivelled.

I welcome corrections!

UPDATE: He's a Wandering Salamander, Aneides vagrans. Identified by the shape of the foot.
One short toe, 4 long, blunt ends.

I don't know how it was that he managed to get all the way into my kitchen, from the only entrance available to him; it's a long, dry walk for a thirsty critter!


Esta pobre criatura apareció, muerta, debajo de un mueble en mi cocina. Mide 7 cm. de largo, así doblada como está, tal vez casi 10 si la enderezara. Pero está bien seca, y dura.

La segunda foto es la cabeza, tomada con mi microscopio estudiantil. Parece que tiene lunares o pecas.

Creo que es una salamandra de piel rugosa, las que se ven por aquí. El tamaño es correcto, y tiene todavía, aun muerta, un poco de color anaranjado en la parte inferior. Sus patas son palmeadas, y parece tener una pequeña cresta a lo largo de la cola. Es difícil estar segura, pues está tan seca, tan achicharrada.

CORRECCION: es una salamandra vagante, Aneides vagrans. Se pudo identificar por la forma de la pata. Subí una foto. Tiene un dedo corto, y 4 largos, y las puntas de los dedos están como cortados en linea recta.

No me imagino como es que llegó a mi cocina, tan lejos de su única puerta de entrada, ¡un camino largo y arduo para una criatura sedienta!


  1. I've rehydrated dessicated frogs before...if you ever get stumped at identifying by a dried amphibian again, you may be impressed at how well rehydration restores their appearance.

  2. I was wondering about that. And then I dreamt last night that I was soaking the salamander in water, and he started to move. A bit spooky, in the dream, although I have done that many times with insects, and it often works. I've got little salamander soaking now in filtered water. Hope he doesn't get up and run away!

  3. When I was a kid, I had a bunch of pacific tree frogs (or maybe their tadpoles...I don't remember) in an ice cream bucket that I forgot to move out of the sun, so they dried up. It rained a few days later, and at least one came back to life. I couldn't believe it, though it apparently does happen.

    1. So I soaked it. Two things happened: a bunch of dust that I hadn't been able to remove before floated off, and the toes that were all shrivelled up spread out. It does look better, but I've re-soaked it in alcohol to remove the water, and it's drying out again.

      But I discovered that on the front feet it only has 4 toes; on the back there are 5. I took photos, will post them once I process them.


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