Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Salamander Sex, Love & Frustration on a rainy warm October night.

photo by Barry Beard, Davisburg Michigan

 A few nights ago steady rains fell across Oakland County as the mercury climbed into the low 70's. 
 In Davisburg, Michigan a creature responding to the spring-like rains and warmth emerged from
 under a log. This ancient  cryptic carnivore slowly crawled about  following primordial signals above our
 level of understanding. 
One thing was on this eastern tiger salamander's mind:
 Tiger salamanders are the largest species of terrestrial salamander found in the Great Lake region.
This one was close to eight inches long. Some are bigger.
And here is the rest of the story:
Almost a month ago tiger salamanders entered their burrows, wiggled under logs or thick layers of
leaves.   And that is where they usually stay until warm spring rains thaw the ground and send 
 them topside to trek to a vernal pond. And then it's time to engage in a water-ballet of
 seductive courting activities that make prudish humans cringe and naturalists stare with delight.
This salamander on the prowl must have felt frustrated as he explored the warm moist night in search
 of  breeding  pond and a mate. Perhaps he managed a meal of an earthworm as consolation.
  How did the story end?
 Only the salamander knows. 
 I suspect it was a lonely night of unsatisfied lust, amphibian frustration and dreams of a better night out.

(And thank you Barry Beard for sharing your great photo!)


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