When the Rains Come

Slimy Salamander, so-called for the copious sticky mucus secreted by its skin–an adaptation to retain moisture, but also to make it less tasty to a would-be predator. I’m certainly not tempted!

I suppose technically we are not in a drought. Parts of the county have gotten more from recent storms than we have gotten on Goose Creek.

So I’m glad the creek still flows, even if just barely enough to keep the “minnows” alive. There frantic rushing from ripples to calm waters and back again has more to do, I think, with mating hormones than fear of drying up.

And the woods are so dry that even the usually-terrestrial salamanders, like this “slimey” variety, are taking to the beaches.

It’s rare to spot a salamander fully exposed in full daylight. This one was cooperative enough I could get pretty close with the iPhone.

But I’m hoping that one of these days soon–now that the garden has taken it on the chin and only the greens can be saved–that the creeks will rise again and the amphibians can stay wet without venturing out into the dangerous open spaces.


About fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

3 comments:

  1. Wish I could send you some rain, Fred, this is one of the soggiest summers here in recent history.
    At least our trees have a chance of recovering from last summer’s drought.

  2. I hope that salamanders, like some species of frogs, are not on the endangered list. These small creatures must be confused at having to constantly adapt to our rapidly changing climatic conditions!

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