Amphibian Encouragement

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Spring Salamander

Maybe they won’t be quite as fast to disappear from the scene as the climate warms–according to a recent study.

Salamanders show more resistance to global warming than previously believed

As a life-long resident of the southern Appalachians, you might say that my totem creature is the salamander. No place on earth boasts the diversity and the numbers to be found in a typical, intact mountain forest. The statistics are quite eye-opening:

“No one really knows how many salamanders reside in the southern Appalachians. However, it is estimated that the salamanders inhabiting just a square mile of forest would have a combined biomass of 2,500 to 5,000 pounds–which is made even more impressive when you consider that many salamanders weigh about as much as a teaspoon of sugar.”

I took herpetology my first semester in graduate school. Ann wasn’t too keen on the snakes that stayed in the clothes hamper overnight until I could claim credit-points for them. But the frogs and salamanders in south Alabama (Auburn U) were present in amazing diversity, and it is from those warm wet nights in the forest that most of my herpetophilia was born.

When is the last time you saw a salamander? Summer is not a great time to look during the day, but on a wet night with a flashlight, you might be rewarded by a good bit of activity if you look in the right place.

We have a hard time caring about things we never see. Maybe if we looked harder and kept our eyes open, we’d care more about a lot of living things we manage to be unaware of.

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