Thursday, March 7, 2013

creature feature

It came from under the earth.
For ages it lay in leaves and rot, just waiting.
The rains came, the creeks filled.
And they came.

These little creatures have invaded local creeks and canals. They look like aliens with their smooth skin and strange yellow eyes.

just chillin'...
I'm ready for my closeup

But they are newts, specifically the Sierra Newt, which come out to mate in the water. The rest of the year they live a peaceful existence under leaves and logs, eating worms and other creatures. They are highly toxic (with the same toxin as the puffer fish), so don't snack on this little critter. (Though I did read that some garter snakes eat them, and have developed a resistance to their toxin, how cool!)

American River Canyon

On a walk last night they were out in full force, climbing around the canal, dangerously crossing our path. I rescued a few that were on the footpath, and set them carefully aside. Some were having some amorous encounters, others just looking for love, or maybe just a snack.

You lookin' at me?

so slow on the forest floor, in the water they're quite agile

We only see them about once a year, but I love it. Every year I walk along the canal like a little kid "Look, there's one! And another! Wow! Come over here!" The wonder of nature doesn't need to be majestic mountains or beautiful animals, it can be a small, slow, quiet creature, just stoically going about life. With orange accents.

catch ya next year. Later!


  1. I LOVE newts and salamanders. Great photos :)

  2. When I was a child we had a pond in our backgarden with salamanders living in it. You hardly ever saw them, but sometimes one would come up and sit on a waterlily leaf for a while. Magic moments!

    I love your photo's, especially your nature pics!

  3. that brings back alot of memories from my childhood growing up back east. Lots of salamanders in the woods and our man made pond that my dad built. I don't care for amphibians as they have a "creep" factor for me as an adult but great photos. It's always good to remember to enjoy those smaller things in nature. !

    1. That is neat that you used to just see them in the woods. We only see them when they come out to breed, otherwise they hide (too dry here probably for them to stay out). Maybe I should warn people if I'm posting photos of could-be creepy things! I love creepy things.

      The small things in nature, I like that. I guess it is good to notice/remember the small thing in all life.

  4. Ewww. These things simply creep me out. Thanks for sending me the link.