Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a salamander lover and a salamander loser.  In my Stratford Hills neighborhood, we care about these goofy spotted salamanders that live in ponds here and are fairly rare. The yellow-spotted salamander is even the mascot of the Friends of James River Park and you’ll see a cute one on our stickers. friends.htm 

In late February and into March our yellow-spotted salamander friends come out of hibernation and try to get lucky in the slimy salamander way.  Eggs and muck and yuck. Rainy nights turn them on, and it’s supposed to be something to see, so twice now when I should have been in bed, I’ve gone out to the nearby pool in the rain with a flashlight to try to see what everyone else who has seen it thinks is pretty cool.  The first night was a bust–nothing and nobody doing anything except freaking out the neighbors who live up on the hill and likely wondered who the hell was messing about on such a night with flashlights.

This past Saturday I got the call I had been waiting for, from my salamander tip-line. I was feeling lazy, so didn’t immediately jump at the chance, and let this be a lesson to all–I did not seize the salamander. I didn’t go when summoned, so this is what I missed.

I'm still waiting for my salamander soul mate

After seeing this pix message, I jumped in the car and went down, but I missed all the action. All the salamander action that is. I didn’t see one thing that looked remotely salamanderesque but the frogs were making more noise than I’ve ever heard, so that was almost worth the second failed attempt at being a salamander voyeur. Will the third time be the charm? Hard to say, but time is running out. And methinks I will be a salamander loser no matter how this eventually turns out. But at least I now know that salamanders were once thought to be impervious to fire. Perhaps because they live in wet muck.