Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Crooky Salamander

     One day about the middle of October, I was feeding the horses and when I bent down to pick up a feed bowl, lo and behold there was a salamander. In October! He looked dead, all crooked, skinny, and not moving. I picked him up and he twitched just a bit, so I immedietely cupped my hands aorund him and started blowing warm air on him. It was way way to cold to be a salamander outside, I'm amazed that alone didn't kill him.

     My boyfriend puts it as "instead of doing a normal thing like giving it a fling into the cornfield", I set up a little aquarium, heated some dirt with hot water, turned a light on it, and set the little fellow in a 'salamander heater'. By that time he had warmed in my hands enough to be up and around.

     He was starving, his tail was a string behind him. He's blind in one eye and crooked. His spine has a permanent bend. When he gets scared he runs in circles or flips over. It's sad. But I set him up in a 10 gallon aquarium with a heat light, and he eats like a pig now.

     He is really getting quite fat as you can tell.

     He's not huge yet, and he quite likes me now. We've been working on conditioning him to a clicker, which he understood in 5 crickets over the coarse of two day. Pretty damn smart for a little crooked salamander! Eventually I want to teach him a few tricks, just to be able to say I have.

     A bit blurry, but look at that smile! How could anyone resist that face! Next step I'm working on setting him up in a 40 gal. salamander paradise in my office. That will give him enough room to walk sideways and run circles to his hearts content. He's no longer scared of me, now he peeks his head out of the dirt and gives me the one-eyed, "Give me crickets" command. He's training me much faster then I'm training him. 

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