My husband and I took Sport out for a long urban walk today, on one of our favorite routes. We start out on Willamette Park along the river, head south through a old, tiny riverfront neighborhood and past a small butterfly park, then turn back and go north, sometimes all the way to downtown Portland or often only to the new South Waterfront Development.
On the south route Sport sniffed at some creature that Mark thought was dead. But the creature seemed to be in a stride pose to me, and did move a bit when I picked it up. It’s hard for me to resist picking up a critter, or offering it a finger to sniff. Turns out he/she is a Pacific Giant Salamander (Dicomptodon ensatus) and must not have felt too good. I’ve since discovered they can bark like a dog when disturbed and can thrash about and deliver a slashing bite. I took her (the salamander was large, probably 10 inches long, and the females tend to be larger than the male) off path very near to a running stream, and hand-poured a little water over her skin. Don’t know if she’ll make it, but at least she will end life closer to where she should, and not be run over by a bike or mauled by a dog. I’ve also learned the older they are, the fewer the pattern markings. I think this gal is old. They are not a species of concern, other than habitat destruction (ooph — they probably will be a “concern” soon enough) and are considered common. First I’ve seen of them.
A few photos, with regrets for the poor focus in the first — it’s difficult to get good photos of reflective objects.