Friday, March 27, 2015

Searching for Salamanders

The kids have been excited about salamanders lately. Our property has shady woods and teensy creeks, which are great places to find salamanders, pop them in a Mason jar habitat, name them, keep them for a bit, and then return them from whence they came.

All of the salamanders have S names, of course. Steve. Speed. Sally. Stuart. Sunshine.

The Hoosier Herpetological Society had an entire salamander-themed day at a local state park last weekend, and since it was also happily one of the Spring Break weekends that the children had off from extracurriculars, we all spent the entire day there, watching a presentation on amphibians and their identification, creating salamander crafts (the docent taught the children beading using Pony beads and flat cord; it was VERY intriguing...), eating a buffet dinner at the inn that mostly consisted of pie (oh, the pie!!!), and in between all that, going on hikes to search for salamanders and get lots of wet:

The children were lent deli containers to catch and examine the salamanders. One mustn't touch salamanders, because their skin is very porous and very sensitive to toxins, even ones that don't bother people and thus that we might accidentally have on our hands:
Salamander! The kids found lots of northern two-lined salamanders.

This kid and her animals...
and THIS kid! They're pretty great.
Although I do not know how this one eats. That's FOUR bottom teeth that she's missing, my little rabbit girl.
Our area was formerly under the sea, don't you know, so one must also always be on the lookout for interesting fossils--

 --and, of COURSE, heart-shaped rocks:

I haven't turned the salamander into a study beyond this, but I have checked out many salamander-related resources from the library to strew temptingly for pleasure reading and, if that doesn't take, then for future Books of the Day:

Don't tell the children, but I secretly counted this day as a school day in my planner. Salamanders are science!!!


Tina said...

One of my favorite memories as a kid was looking for salamanders and newts at my grandparents river camp. So much fun! I didn't know that about their skin, but I will never forget it. Causing harm unawares is still causing harm.

julie said...

I must admit that until the kids got into them and we therefore went to this event, I did not know what a salamander was. I mean, I knew what it was, but not that it's different from a lizard, and undergoes metamorphosis, and all that other cool stuff!

You learn something new every day...