Monday, June 21, 2010

Salamander Walk

Our friend, Brad, took a group of us to Devil's Bathtub at Mendon Pond for a salamander walk a couple of weeks ago. Now is the time when salamanders emerge from a pond or other small body of water and crawl underneath a rock or log to begin their terrestrial life ("because it's moist under there and they won't drown from too much water, but they also won't dry up, because they need to be moist or damp on their skin," Sy explained to me afterwards).

"Salamander" is actually the common name for over 500 species of amphibians. What we discovered the most of were efts, or immature/juvenile newts. A newt is an aquatic salamander (most salamanders are terrestrial.)

These efts will all become red-spotted newts upon maturity. The kids must have spent about 30 minutes splashing through a small pond just off of the trail, each time coming back with another eft. Some of them were quite protective of those they had found, insisting that they be put right back and not passed around too much, for fear they might not survive long away from the water.