On my way into the apartment on Tuesday, before I got to the door of our building, I stopped dead in my tracks. My mouth was agape, and I stood there for an awkwardly long amount of time.
Ahead of me on the sidewalk was some sort of lizard- of a size I thought only existed in tropical climes and pet stores. I know for a fact we aren't a tropical climate, so my conclusion was that I was looking at a pet that someone freed- that I was sure wouldn't survive long in the dropping temperatures that Fall is now bring us. What did I do? Anyone remember the last critter in peril that I came across?
Yeah, I pretty much did the same thing, except I didn't touch it. I put it in a box and took it up to my apartment, and put it under a warm desk lamp until I figured out what it was. If it was someone's pet, I would either keep it (not likely, with my husband not preferring creepy-crawly pets) or find a pet store or rescue to return it to. If it was an indigenous species, I'd release it near the pond behind our apartments- probably where it came from. With Ashley's help, we determined it is a Tiger Salamander (hence, Sally.) Apparently this is a local wild species- though I certainly had never come across one before! The only wild lizard-like things I've encountered were geckos and anoles in Hawaii.(To be clear- I say lizard-like because salamanders are amphibians, not reptiles, like lizards. They just happen to be the same shape.)
Wikipedia says "Eastern tiger salamanders are large, with a typical length of 6-8 inches." and this guy was on the upper end of that- definitely closer to 8 inches long and about an inch and a half wide. Wikipedia also says "Adults are rarely seen in the open"- which explains why I've never come across one of these, even after living in Indiana for 10 years. I was feeling pretty silly about not knowing about this piece of native wildlife.
So, Sally Mander is now free! Who knows if I'll come across one again.