Salamander Rescue Society

A Drama in email Exchanges

From: Town Mouse
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 9:03 AM
Subject: Salamander!

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.

Town Mouse

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
To:Country Mouse
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...)


steph said…
Poor Sal! But I'm sure he's in good hands now. Will he come back to your home when he's better? Or will they release him back into the wild elsewhere?

The Mander family that lives at my house are the Slender variety and I'm always excited and pleased to see them.
Emily said…
Fingers crossed for the little guy!
Sending best wishes to Sal and those who care for him/her. Good work, Town Mouse!
Dreamybee said…
Aww! Good luck, Sal! I never knew salamanders lived in trees until I read The Wild Trees by Richard Preston.
Country Mouse said…
Poor lil guy! I hope he or she pulls through. Funny looking - I haven't seen any with legs a different color like that up around here. I'll have to go look em up.
Town Mouse said…
I expect Sal will just be released somewhere close to one of the volunteers' home, I'm certainly not expecting him back. Besides, I'm still worried it might have been pesticides and that he has some neurological damage. Or he might have a broken leg. We'll find out, I hope. Thanks for all the good wishes.
Anonymous said…
Wow, what a story. I believe Tiger salamanders are either on or are being considered for the endangered species list, so I imagine others may be too. Is that partly why they were so responsive?

Kudos on the heroic efforts you went to help your unlucky garden guest out.
Town Mouse said…
The Arboreal Salamander is not endangered or threatened (yet) but there's a lot of concern that salamanders are in trouble because of climate change. I think Wildlife Rescue felt it was a now or never thing, the little guy had already been going in circles (or lying on its back) for almost 2 days...
Genevieve said…
Wow. I can't believe they were willing to help a humble salamander! Kudos to you.

I have a soft spot for them - whenever I find them in the garden they are always close by to a partner and at least one child. That's a sweet animal right there.
Michelle said…
Good job! I think you're wonderful for helping that little critter. There are lovely salamanders that hang out around here, often under pots, so I'm always very careful when I move one.
OMG-what a tale!(pun intended!)

Poor Sal:( But it's thrilling to think how fortunate he is to have you! You are a life saver. It's so nice that you care so much.

I hope Sal will be alright. I'll be checking back. What a story TM!!