Back when I worked in Pescadero, I discovered that there was a time of year that the salamanders wandered across the road. I'd find hundreds of them squished all over. This is them:
Cute huh? Whenever I found one alive, I'd scoop it up and stick it in the car next to me then deposit it (and his buddies) at a creek at the end of my drive. They were all out wandering, looking for mates. On an average day, I'd rescue a dozen of them.
So, today I was grabbing a container of kitty litter from the front porch and discovered a baby salamander (just like this
) had taken up residence under it. I scooped him up to bring in and show Rozz. Gregg saw him and expressed his concern, having read that California salamanders are toxic.
I was shocked.
Happily, I'm almost certain the little guy I found was a Santa Cruz Black Salamander
or a juvenile Arboreal Salamander
, and not one of the three toxic ones in our state. That said... the hundreds that I rescued in Pescadero... those were the toxic ones. The most toxic species of newt out there. They release a tetrodotoxin that is exactly the same as the toxin released by pufferfish. From what I understand, the danger really only comes from ingesting the substance they emmit and not from simply touching it, but it's nothing to mess around with.
And now I'm all nerves and jitters. Don't think I'll be picking up any creepy crawlies for a while. Ugh. And I like the creepy crawlies so much. I'm realizing just how lucky I am to have not accidentally killed myself, saving all those little guys.