An Odd Visitor,
a Long-toed Salamander

Long-Toed Salamander
Long-Toed Salamander, October 21, 2002

This little guy (or gal) wandered into our downstairs. We were watching a movie when my younger daughter spotted it crawling in front of the TV stand on the floor. How did it get inside? Then I remembered when we moved into our house years ago, we found the dried up remains of one downstairs. I had thought it was someone's pet that had escaped. But now I know better, how sad.

We quickly got out the smaller plastic fish tank, which was unoccupied at the time, and put moist dirt and moss from a rock outside and a small shallow bowl of water into it. In the moss were all kinds of small bugs to feed this guy (or gal) and the moisture from the dirt and moss was needed to replenish the moisture in its skin.

It seemed to be doing well, but we knew we had to get it back outside so it could find a place to hibernate. My daughter knew a place nearby that had a stream running through it and wonderful natural foliage all around. We walked there after school to check it out. The stream was almost gone, but will return when the rain starts. Right now, it is still moist enough. Our neighbors said they have seen larger salamanders there, so the habitat is good for this little guy/gal.

We drove home and got it in the car and went back. There is moss for a food supply of small insects and protection as well as moisture for the salamander. It is next to the bank of the stream so this area will remain moist.

We still wonder how it got inside. It doesn't look like it was inside for very long as it wasn't dried out. I have found them before outside near the wood pile in our backyard. It always remains moist there from all the shade of the trees. But there is no pond or stream. Curious.

This picture is of it in the area we released it to. Notice it is next to a seed from a maple tree (a helicopter as kids call them). This will show you how small it is.

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