California giant salamander larvae
Dicamptodon ensatus larvae
Dicamptodontidae (formerly Ambystomatidae)
If I had grown up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, you probably would not have been able to get me out of the creek. As it was, my mother would express disgust at how muddy I got when playing in our irrigation ditch looking for crawdads and toads. Hey, I'm thrilled to learn of the CA giant salamander. For better pictures of this individual, check out randomtruth's flickr here and here. This larvae is good sized and very comparable to the size of most adult newts that I've found. They can be quite quick in the creek (say that fast 3 times). Ken told me he had one bark at him. Although, to me this recording from CA Herps sounds more like a fart than anything fearsome. Read all about Ken's first-hand encounters with full-on beasties at Nature of a Man. They're not named "giant" for nothing. Lastly, as a comparison, Blue Jay Barrens has a recent post of a fatty salamander in his Ohio backyard.