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January Herping

nvherpetology

New member
Joined
Dec 25, 2021
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Location
North Carolina
Hey all! I just joined this site about a month ago and am super excited to share my herping as well as see what everyone else is finding. Here is what I’ve been up to in the first week of 2022.

On January 3rd, a big front came through my area, dumping several inches of rain from around 11pm to 4am. The timing couldn’t have been better as I was just getting off work and decided to hit the roads around my neighborhood to look for Spotted Salamanders. The unseasonably warm temperatures combined with the rain brought out a decent number of them, including this aberrant individual with no spotting at all.

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At the end of the night, I had helped six males and one female off the road. Along with Spotted Salamanders, I also moved a Marbled Salamander, several American Toads, a juvenile Bullfrog, and the first Southern Leopard Frog I’ve seen in my home county. Having never targeted Spotteds during their migration before, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Two days later I made the two hour drive to the Sandhills region to see if I could turn up a few lifer species to ring in the new year. Upon arriving, I soon realized the heavy rain from previous days meant that the majority of the locations I had been looking to herp were flooded and submerged, leaving me with less options than I had originally planned. Luck was still on my side, however, as the only good looking leaf pack in an overflowing blackwater stream produced my lifer Dwarf Waterdog in only two scoops of the dipnet!

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A few more scoops produced one more waterdog, so I decided to head off to my next location for mud salamanders. The first two spots proved fruitless, as the higher waters had flooded the logs and moss I had hoped to search. With that, I cut my losses and headed off to my final spot with lowered expectations. After hiking habitat for a few hours, I came across a muddy seepage on a slight incline with a handful of smaller logs to flip. To my surprise, the first log I flipped had a stunning Northern Red Salamander underneath it; my second lifer of the day! Even though the conditions weren’t perfect, I was still more than happy with the outcomes of this day trip to a new ecoregion.

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To end the week, I met up with a PhD student I began volunteering for in 2021 to continue helping with his ongoing survey of the Neuse River Waterdog. With temperatures in the high forties, the conditions were right to see some. Out of the sixty traps we brought in, five of them contained waterdogs. Once captured, each animal was weighed, measured, marked with a visible implant elastomer, and then released. As of writing this, I have seen Neuse River Waterdogs in six counties in NC, and couldn't be happier to give my time to a project looking to learn more about and conserve this species.

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With such a busy week to kick off 2022, I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings. Thanks for stopping by and giving my post a read!
 
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Hey, my yellow spotted salamander has gotten a bit fat, he doesnt wanna move too much, and I notice he lays with his back legs flat out in front of him, but keeps his chest off the ground with his front legs. He CAN use his back legs to move around, but Im a little concerned about his back legs being flat out like that, and Im wondering snce he doesnt do a whole lot, will he lose function of his back legs? Kinda like a human would if they never used them? Also what is a slamander poop suppsoed to look like? I was told to spot clean poops and pees but after 4 months of feeding him and having him I havent ever seen a single thing I can identify s a poop...
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  • FragileCorpse:
    ...other than these little oblong shaped bits of dirt thats compacted together, I figure those must be poops because how else is the dirt getting compacted into an oblong shape like that? And he tends to roll those to his front entryway of his rock cave for me to move them away from the entrance. Are those poops? Mine will ONLY eat sal bugs. otherwise known as potato bugs, roly polys, etc. Hes never struck at anything else ive given him. Are the roly polys even enough nutrients for him? Ive captured like 400 of them for the winter months.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    When i lay a roly poly a bit far away from him, he WILLuse his back legs to come out, so he IS using them sometimes, its just concerning to see him with his legs flat out like that. Is that just normal for them?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    *also actually unsure of his sex, if the sex of the salamander means anything in this instance, I as told females are bigger and fatter, so I assume it might be a female tbh.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Please let me know if amyone knows amything, as I can not get adequate info anywhere else.
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  • SamAxolotl:
    @FragileCorpse, the chat room is a good way to get some basic answers. if you're looking for more detailed answers, go to caudata.org home page and then scroll down to newt and salamander help. I think you might be able to get some more answers from there from people with experience with newts/ salamanders specifically. you could probably also contact a breeder and see if they have advice for you. Some vets also have info on exotic animals as well. local wildlife centers/ rehab facilities/ rescues may also be a good resource to look into. hope your little guy feels better soon!
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  • FragileCorpse:
    I cant contact the vet or facilities because they keep trying to take my salamander and fine me cuz i dont have a permit. however i foudn him outside dying and nursed him back to health. So I need to be discreet about getting info. However, if anything actually becomes wrong with him, in order to save him I will have to surrender him to a vet. But thanks for the info I appreciate that
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  • FragileCorpse:
    We are about to be slammed by a category 4 hurricane. I need you guys to tell me how to saf ely transport my salamander. What kind of mobile go-terrarium can I make for him??? Can it be a plastic tote full of eco earth (cocount husk) and maybe his hidey rock and I can keep a spray bottle to keep him moist??? wtf do I do???? I have a bunch of his bugs in plastic containers thankfully so I can bring them with us. But he hates vibrations, trying to bring him out in a car or something is gonna be scary. Can these guys die of fright like a guinea pig can kind of deal???
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Maybe I should just go literally buy a smaller more mobile terrarium? Hes in a giant glass beast right now.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Man I wish I had more than one day to plan!!! My house wont even survive this!
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  • SamAxolotl:
    @FragileCorpse, I think a plastic tub would be fine along with a spray bottle to keep it humid (I've seen a lot of people keep reptiles etc in plastic tubs their whole lives happily) Not sure about the fear/ shock aspect, but maybe bring a towel or blanket to put over the tote (if it's a clear tote, that is) as well to keep it dark for him so he doesn't get spooked by so much movement that will be going on. I've used that for other animals and it seems to be effective for keeping them calm. See if you can get your hands on some earthworms for food. they're nutritionally dense and it looks like that's one of the main things your salamander would be fed in captivity. Crickets were another suggestion for food as well. praying you all stay safe!
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    SamAxolotl: @FragileCorpse, I think a plastic tub would be fine along with a spray bottle to keep it humid... +1
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