Giant Pacific Salamander Spotted

giant-pacific-salIn the ivy’d undergrowth at Toad Hall, Mill Valley. It was one of those windy days where the perfume of the bay laurel flowers is stirred all around.

A smell-o-gram catches you by surprise.

A memory rushes in, and your heart soars without warning.

It’s spring…you’re ten again.

And there is an animal at your feet.

I was just writhing along” (sez surprised amphibian) “…and the next thing you know, I’m on my  back…“. Note to neophycyclists: JRA is “just riding along” acronym…famous in bicycle shops.  A “JRA” is a bike that has been wrecked for no apparent reason. Like non-maintenance, or ignoring loud rattle just before something vital falls off…

Gospel truth.

Reader/rider, there are very few of these beasties about. This one was about seven inches long, very dark brown-black, mottled with red. I have seen ONE in my life prior to this. Boy, was he strong.

Put ‘im in a clay pot, because I didn’t want to have to squeeze too tight. I HAD to show her to Carol, Mistress of the Haul (serious shopper, and also oversees Toad Hall).

“Oh, there it IS!” Carol (82 yr old grand dame) cried, “I haven’t seen him in fifteen years! He used to live under the front step.”

“I think maybe it was this one’s grandamander…cos they can’t live fifteen years, can they?”

There was no growl…this kind is capable of a noise when disturbed, but it just stalked slowly under the boards where I first found it.

Healthy habitat, that.

~ by jacquiephelan on April 10, 2008.

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