Sunday, February 21, 2010

arboreal salamander ~ 02/21/10 ~ Pacific Grove

arboreal salamander
Aneides lugubris
more information

My husband came home from an evening walk and announced he saw what might have been a dead lizard, newt, or salamander on the corner. I tossed on my shoes and ran back out with him to see what he found in the dark.

I was happy to discover this live salamander! My pictures were a bit fuzzy, so I brought him home to take a closer look. The salamander was surprisingly quick and agile.

I'm not 100% positive about my ID here, especially considering that before we looked it up online, I was trying to remember back to my basic biology class in college - something about 4 or 5 toes (lizards, btw!) and what was the difference between newts and salamanders. Haha! I did find this great herp site and from a fellow Pacific Grove resident to boot!

I fell in love with his sets of four moist toes and briefly considered keeping him as a pet. After repeatedly exclaiming how cute he was, even with his missing eye, we let him loose in the park below our balcony by the big oak tree instead of back on the street corner. I likened it to being picked up by a giant and plopped down in Nevada, but I figured he'd be much safer away from cars and evening dog walkers.

May you live long, my cute, one-eyed arboreal salamander!

ps 03/30/14 - After looking at my pictures of another arboreal salamander, I think the toe count is supposed to be 4 in the front and 5 in the back.  This individual is missing more than an eye, as its toe count is off.  I believe the slender salamanders (Batrachoseps spp.) are the only group with a max of 4 toes in the back.  Right?

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