Wednesday, September 24, 2008
They are usually brown in color with brilliant yellow stripes or blotches over the length of their bodies. Their base color, however, can also be greenish or gray and their markings can be yellow dots or brown splotches. Some have no markings at all.
Thick-bodied amphibians with short snouts, sturdy legs, and long tails, tigers are the largest land-dwelling salamander on Earth. They can grow to 14 inches (35 centimeters) in length, but the average size is more like 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 centimeters).
They are also the most wide-ranging salamander species in North America, living throughout most of the United States, southern Canada, and eastern Mexico. They live in deep burrows, up to two feet (60 centimeters) below the surface, near ponds, lakes, or slow-moving streams and are one of few salamanders able to survive in the arid climate of the North America interior.
Highly voracious predators, they emerge from their burrows at night to feed on worms, insects, frogs, and even other salamanders.
Their population is healthy throughout their range, but deforestation, pollution, and rising acidity levels in their breeding pools is affecting their distribution. Many are even killed by cars as they cross roads in the spring en route to or from their breeding sites.
Tiger salamanders are long-lived, averaging 10 to 16 years in the wild.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I ask Deb if she could pull out the skimmer basket and dump out what ever junk is in there.
Deb says that she hates reaching down into the dark hole to find the basket handle because "You never know what might be in there." I, worn out by scrubbing am less than sympathetic to her fears, and I badger her into doing it anyway.
The lid comes off, her hand reaches slowly into the hole, and then the screaming begins.
"Lizard!" "There's a yellow lizard in there and it's big!"
I pull myself over the edge, look into the basket... and it is empty. I look into the skimmer... and it is empty. There is NO lizard.
Deb continues to tell the lizard story and I finally agree to go to the secondary basket filter back in the mechanical area and see if the mythical lizard is there. As I make the journey, I am sure there will be no lizard.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Arrived home last night to record rainfall in the Boise area. We received 1.1 inches of rain yesterday here at the house! I know, for you in Portland this is not a major feat, but here in Idaho this is big! Downtown Boise received 0.9 inches. This breaks the old record of 0.49 set back in 1984. The last time rain fell here at the house was 55 days ago.
Mishra has not left my side since I have returned... but I figure that she's gotta eat sometime.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Look up, look down, look out, look around.
— Yes, "It Can Happen"
Good advice from the 70s progressive band. Look around you. Unless you’re one of the Apollo astronauts, you’ve lived your entire life within a few hundred kilometers of the surface of the Earth. There’s a whole planet beneath your feet, 6.6 sextillion tons of it, one trillion cubic kilometers of it. But how well do you know it.