Mr. Nature: The Red Salamander

One of my favorite activities, as a boy, was to go out into the woods next door and turn over rocks and logs, looking for salamanders. There were a lot of them around, but it was always a big event when I found a red salamander–Pseudotriton ruber ruber, to the salamander cognoscenti.

The young ones are a brilliant orange-red with black spots; as they age, they grow darker. They aren’t very common, so it’s always worth a “Yahoo!” when you find one. They eat bugs, like the globalists say we should. But I could never get any of mine to eat, so I always had to let them go.

These are gorgeous little animals, they don’t bite, they were twice as big as any other kind of salamander I could find, and it’s a pleasure just to see one. I’ve never found one anywhere in this neighborhood. But there was a little swamp behind the Studnickis’ house (great for ice-skating in the winter) and they seemed to like the damp environment.

My parents never understood why I wanted to bring these home,. but they didn’tc complain about it.

Mr. Nature: the Red Salamander

Jambo, backyard safari fans! Mr. Nature here, with the Red Salamander, Pseudotriton ruber ruber, a critter I haven’t seen since I was a boy.

This gorgeously-colored salamander was the crown jewel of salamander-collecting in my neighborhood. Only rarely did you find one. I remember vividly the time I rolled away a bit of telephone pole laid at the end of Maple Street to keep cars from rolling into the woods and getting stuck. And there it was: flaming red with black spots and a salmon-pink belly. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I saw one.

You can keep a Red Salamander in a terrarium with moss and leaf-litter, a bit of bark to hide under–which it will do most of the time–and plenty of nice soft grubs and caterpillars to eat. Don’t let the terrarium environment get hot or dry. Now that I’m all grown up, I recommend not capturing the salamander at all: just let him go about his business, and enjoy his handsome colors for a minute or two. They’re much larger than most of the other salamanders around here–about the size of a grown man’s finger.

Just another beautiful bit of God’s stuff.