Monday, May 2, 2016
Ellen was riding Ranger on the loop this weekend, and I was walking next to them to keep them company. Our loop has a drainage ditch on 2 sides of it. as we were walking, I looked down and saw something funny looking on the ground. Ranger was heading straight for it. I tried to tell Ellen to move him away, but I was so distracted by what I saw that my words came out in a jumble.
At the very moment I was able to say to watch out, Ranger stepped on it. I watched as he missed it with his back hoof. It was the first time I ever saw a spotted salamander, and now it was squished. It was black and slimy with yellow spots. I figured it must have crawled out of the ditch where it probably was laying eggs. So much for that.
I figured I would at least get a good look at it on the next lap—and then I couldn’t find it anywhere. There was not trace--no tail or leg--nothing. (They can lose an appendage and still survive to grow a new one.) Apparently, Ranger didn’t kill it, after all. It was muddy, and either he just pushed it in the mud or the salamander was within the concave part of his hoof when he stepped on it. Maybe it was a combination of both. Anyway, I wasn’t able to get a good look at it, but at least it was still alive.
When I told Kevin about it, he was all excited. Turns out, in his whole life, he has never, ever seen one, either—and he loves anything reptilian or amphibian. He would have loved to see it, but he was glad it survived.
Funny, all the time we spend in the local parks riding and hiking, and we end up seeing a salamander at the barn by a drainage ditch.