Spotted Salamander Surprise

Audrey M. profile photo

This week’s blog was written by Audrey M., a Gobblers alumni. Audrey loves wildlife and would like to make their passion for the outdoors into a career one day! WLA has been a great opportunity for furthering their portfolio. The program has taught them more creative ways to teach others and help the environment. Audrey has started to incorporate wildlife into their art, which brings another part of their personality to their work.

Right before Halloween, my mother brought home a surprise. She found a spotted salamander in the lobby of  where she works. She brought it home assuming that I, her teenager, would know what to do. Thankfully my FFA advisor, and Envirothon teacher taught a whole section on amphibians, which included salamanders. My family and I marveled over the little creature for a while, but then I took it to the woods and placed it under the leaf cover.

Spotted salamander with yellow spots

The little fellow was, as I said , a spotted salamander and is native to Pennsylvania. Where I live, they are very common to find on farms. I’ve heard many stories of kids finding them in manure piles and under buckets. They eat a diet of invertebrates like worms and beetles that live in similar habitats as them. They can be found in cool and wet places, and hibernate under mud and thick mast. As amphibians they are tied to places that have standing water to lay their eggs. They must keep their skin damp and their bodies warm by external means like basking. 

With that said, don’t move wildlife unless it needs to be and you can safely do so. In this case my mother knew it was safe to handle the salamander, and it would have been stepped on if she had left it where it was.

The photo used in this blog belongs to the author.