From: Town Mouse
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 9:03 AM
Yesterday, during a short sojourn outside, I saw something very white on the decomposed granite. First I thought it was a slug, but it was a salamander that had tumbled down the retaining wall. I picked it up and it was still moving, so I put it in the redwood sorrel. Strangely, it's still there, has changed position a bit and moves its legs a bit when it notices something approaching.
So, do you know what it could be? Seems like the slender salamander is most common, but my salamander's legs are much bigger compared to the body. Maybe a juvenile? Maybe something else? We're both baffled. Steven's Creek is two freeways away... Still, how exciting to have such a visitor.
From: Town Mouse
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 9:23 AM
Subject: Sick Salamander?
Two days ago, I found a salamander in my garden, its white belly facing up. I picked it up, and it was moving so I put it under the redwood sorrel and left it alone. It stayed there, but about a day later, I found it belly up again. Its problem seems to be that it's forgotten how to walk straight, it curls and walks over itself, eventually landing on its belly in the process.
Is there anything I can do? I fear my neighbor's gardeners may have used some pesticides in the garden and that it's sick. Should I rinse it with water? Dig a hole? Or just leave it alone? I was so excited about having a salamander, but now that it seems sick, I am, of course, heartbroken. BTW, I don't know which kind. It's brown on top, white belly, and has very distinct legs (so I don't think it's a Slender Salamander).
Hope you can help
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:19 AM
To: Town Mouse
Subject: Re: Sick Salamander?
Hi Town Mouse,
Please call right away at 650 494 7283, or bring it directly to PHS. it needs emergency care and timing is very critical.
From: Town Mouse
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:23 AM
Subject: Salamander Rescue Society
Here's an update on the salamander. Just came back from Wildlife Rescue. I was not thrilled to go, but being a freelance worker, I could not refuse this call to duty. I left work to drive home, placed salamander (let's call him Sal) in a box as instructed, then drove to the Wildlife Rescue office.
The young man at the office took Sal out of the box. He said he thought it was an Arboreal Salamander, and, back home, I find that the photos on the Californiaherps site do show pictures of potential twins of Sal. After posing for 1 photo -- not usually allowed, but I pleaded -- Sal was left in the care of wildlife rescue, where he'll be put in an incubator and get some nourishment. They'll also try to find out how to help him, flopping onto one's back once a day is just a deadly habit to be in if one is a white-bellied salamander.
I have permission to call again in a few days to find out what happens. I'm taking some comfort in the fact that while this could have become the salamander with the largest carbon footprint on the planet, things aren't actually so bad because Mr. Mouse left the plug-in hybrid at home, and all that driving was done on electricity.
And now we're all saying: Get well soon, Sal! (and Town Mouse will finally get back to work...)