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htabbas 12-04-2012 05:46 AM

Help! What the hell is this creature? Found many in backyard
 
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:mad: In my backyard I found these gross-looking creatures. They are like skinless lizzards. This photo is showing a small one but I had just seen two big ones (4" long). They mostly hid beind bricks or wood. They don't move at all. Like half dead. Really creepy. My house is no where near any creek or ponds.

What the hell are these things? what do they eat? what are they up to? thanks!

nanuk 12-04-2012 06:13 AM

It is a salamander, an amphibian with a prominent tail.
Cute, harmless and as ancient as the dinosaurs.

htabbas 12-04-2012 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nanuk (Post 1065981)
It is a salamander, an amphibian with a prominent tail.
Cute, harmless and as ancient as the dinosaurs.


Thanks! Found the name for it. Just read about it. I think I read about it somewhere many many years ago but forgot.

OK. I am afraid of this thing. I don't think it cute either. How to get these things away from my yard? I might not be very nice if I just kill them.

nanuk 12-04-2012 07:04 AM

Salamanders have been fascinating people since antiquity. Plato wrote about them. They are the subject of intense biomedical research for their ability to regenerate body parts. They can control their developmental stage at will. Most are already extinct.

They have been around a good 150 million years before us,
yet you don't think they deserve a little place in your California back yard, and you want to kill them.

I don't think anyone can help you...

oh'mike 12-04-2012 07:13 AM

They are a good thing to have in your garden----Learn to accept them and don't cause them harm---

Absolutely harmless----

retired guy 60 12-04-2012 07:45 AM

As you have been correctly advised, salamanders do no harm to your garden, family or pets. They hide from predators that include birds, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads. They eat small insects. Please leave them alone. It is actually unusual to see them out and about and you might not see another one for several months. Sometimes a heavy rain will encourage them to leave their shelters. We have them in the forest nearby but I would be delighted if they lived in my garden or yard. Probably more info than you wanted.

joecaption 12-04-2012 08:26 AM

Kill them and there will be more insects. They also eat mosquisto larve.

nanuk 12-04-2012 08:54 AM

retired guy 60 is right. They are a rare sight, and if you see them often, you are blessed!
I wish you could ship them to me. I'll pay any associated cost :)

TheBobmanNH 12-04-2012 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nanuk (Post 1065994)
Salamanders have been fascinating people since antiquity. Plato wrote about them. They are the subject of intense biomedical research for their ability to regenerate body parts. They can control their developmental stage at will. Most are already extinct.

They have been around a good 150 million years before us,
yet you don't think they deserve a little place in your California back yard, and you want to kill them.

I don't think anyone can help you...

I see nothing in the OP about killing them. Stop putting words in people's mouths.

nanuk 12-04-2012 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheBobmanNH (Post 1066082)
I see nothing in the OP about killing them. Stop putting words in people's mouths.

"I am afraid of this thing. I don't think it cute either. How to get these things away from my yard? I might not be very nice if I just kill them"

retired guy 60 12-04-2012 12:15 PM

httbas,
I understand how you feel. A salamander is not exactly a warm, cuddly kitten. Maybe if you learned more about them you would be less fearful. I know that some people are even afraid of beautiful butterflies. They can't control how they feel. But we can all control how we behave. As I wrote, you may not see another salamander for many months. Perhaps you have a son, husband or brother who can place the salamander in the woods. The best spot is near damp rotting wood such as a fallen tree. The last time I made a suggestion like this regarding a gopher I really stirred up a hornet's nest from two gentleman who favored execution to relocation. As I read their posts I kept hearing Duelling Banjos from the movie Deliverance.
Seriously, you can, I am hopeful, overcome your fear.
When I was a child we had an enormous roach problem stemming from living in a New York City housing project right over the laundry room where the roaches bred. At night, they would crawl over me as I slept. Sounds pretty bad, right? Later when I became a teenager I became fascinated with tarantulas, black widow spiders, cobras, rattlesnakes and other often disliked creatures. My bedroom became a zoo, filled with fishtanks and cages housing my pets. And I had no fear of any of those creatures despite my hatred of roaches which I still dislike but no longer fear.
To make a long story short, humans are remarkable creatures capable of overcoming all sorts of things, if the motivation is there.
Thank you all for reading this long and possibly boring disseration.

TheBobmanNH 12-04-2012 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nanuk (Post 1066096)
"I am afraid of this thing. I don't think it cute either. How to get these things away from my yard? I might not be very nice if I just kill them"

Ooops. Didn't see the followup.

htabbas 12-04-2012 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nanuk (Post 1066096)
"I am afraid of this thing. I don't think it cute either. How to get these things away from my yard? I might not be very nice if I just kill them"

Dude, I meant that I kinda feel bad if I kill them so I didn't end up doing it. There were two big ones (~4" long) who lived under a board. When I turn over the board they were standing still. Not even move a bit. I nudge them a bit, no reaction either. That's how I got the creepy feeling. I returned the next morning and they are gone.

I didn't know salamanda is that rare. So all of a sudden this thing doesn't look that disgusting any more. I will keep an eye on them.

htabbas 12-04-2012 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by retired guy 60 (Post 1066175)
httbas,
I understand how you feel. A salamander is not exactly a warm, cuddly kitten. Maybe if you learned more about them you would be less fearful. I know that some people are even afraid of beautiful butterflies. They can't control how they feel. But we can all control how we behave. As I wrote, you may not see another salamander for many months. Perhaps you have a son, husband or brother who can place the salamander in the woods. The best spot is near damp rotting wood such as a fallen tree. The last time I made a suggestion like this regarding a gopher I really stirred up a hornet's nest from two gentleman who favored execution to relocation. As I read their posts I kept hearing Duelling Banjos from the movie Deliverance.
Seriously, you can, I am hopeful, overcome your fear.
When I was a child we had an enormous roach problem stemming from living in a New York City housing project right over the laundry room where the roaches bred. At night, they would crawl over me as I slept. Sounds pretty bad, right? Later when I became a teenager I became fascinated with tarantulas, black widow spiders, cobras, rattlesnakes and other often disliked creatures. My bedroom became a zoo, filled with fishtanks and cages housing my pets. And I had no fear of any of those creatures despite my hatred of roaches which I still dislike but no longer fear.
To make a long story short, humans are remarkable creatures capable of overcoming all sorts of things, if the motivation is there.
Thank you all for reading this long and possibly boring disseration.

Thanks for your sharing. I somehow could never get over the fear on snakes, lizzards and all sorts of amphibians. I am fine with most other creatures. Fear is a very strange thing. Take the salamander for example, after a couple of hours reading about these things, I am kinda OK for them to live around but I would definately not get anywhere close to them.

Thanks everybody to chime in.

user1007 12-04-2012 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by htabbas (Post 1065975)
:mad: In my backyard I found these gross-looking creatures. They are like skinless lizzards. This photo is showing a small one but I had just seen two big ones (4" long). They mostly hid beind bricks or wood. They don't move at all. Like half dead. Really creepy. My house is no where near any creek or ponds.

What the hell are these things? what do they eat? what are they up to? thanks!

When I moved to N California with parents, as a kid, we lived near a creek in the East Foothills of San Jose---the armpit of the Bay. It snowed orchard blossoms in the Spring. There were all kinds of things like you show in the picture but many became extinct as the orchards gave way to tacky track homes and the environment was dangerously compressed. Birds that used to eat snails and slugs went away and blue belly lizzard that ate bugs in wood piles too. We had giant king snakes that looked like rattlers that kept field mouse populations under control but they all went away. Nice to see you have some creatures and I assure you they will cause you no harm.

Our yard also had all kinds of fossilized remains of creatures in rocks and as you got closer to places like Alviso you saw more and more. Ancestors of that little salamander clan have been in the Bay Area longer than you.

Just where in the Bay Area are you? Salamanders still live in moist environment leak in the leaves of the redwoods off Highway 9 and of course the giant banana slug can be found there. It is the official mascot of the University of California-Santa Cruz. None of these creatures will cause you any harm although some are sensitive to the slime of the giant slugs. Of course European snails that snuck into the environment raise havoc with plants and I fully support squashing them with your bare feet.

I hope you can come to admire those that share your environment. As for what they are up to in your yard? They are amphibians and can live on land or in and out of water. I suspect your sprinkler system and so forth is providing them with the moisture they need.


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