Friday, October 31, 2008

Major Herp sighting: Coast giant salamander , Dicamptodon tenebrosus

Look at that handsome Fella!

I was so excited when a mushroom picking friend spotted this "little dude" when we were in the woods. I had just walked past it, in fact. At first, I thought it was a Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei), but on closer inspection I do believe it was a Coast giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus). Make sure to click on the thumbnail photos to get a better look at this handsome dude(ette).

I call this a major herp sighting -- but that only applies to me and my excitement level. These guys aren't rare, but they can be rare to spot due to their reclusiveness and camouflage. "Real" herp experts in this region probably see them on a regular basis.

As amphibians go here in the NW, this guy definitely is a giant. Check out the size compared to my friend's hand. He was a good 10 - 12" long, and hefty. He didn't move a whit when we were surrounding him and talking and pointing and snapping photos. It was quite a sighting, I was very excited.

So, technically this is a "little dudes" post, but a Big Little Dudes one. If I weren't mushroom picking at the time, I'd tell you where I spotted him. As it is, you will have to pry the information from my cold, dead fingers.

Enjoy unusual wildlife sightings in our beautiful Pacific N.W. rainforests,


[photos by the lovely Alethea]


Dale said...

By krikey ain't she a beauty! Check out that coloration! She's gorgeous!

Seriously I love finding wild herps and their relative scarcity in these parts is one of the only things I don't like about the NW. I wonder how many of these I've walked by? I'll be looking more closely from here on out.

Bpaul said...

I tell you what, you won't find them through movement. This guy was absolutely immobile the whole time we hung out with it.

A friend just emailed me and said he's seen them in the coast range, two of them in fact. So they're out there.

you from the South? That's ground zero for herps, apparently (amphibious ones, that is).


Alan Cordle said...

What a cool find and photos.

Dale said...

Yup, I grew up in Oklahoma. I routinely found snakes and lizards, sometimes even box turtles and toads, without even leaving my yard, certainly without leaving the neighborhood and vicinity. And when I visited granny's place out deeper in the sticks and further south, yowza! Reptiles and amphibians everywhere.

I came across 'water mocassins' -- nasty foul-tempered beasts, those, but exciting -- a few times but never saw a live rattlesnake in the wild.

There's something about lifting a big rock and finding a live reptile (or two) underneath that continues to excite me as nothing else does.

Cascadia needs more herps!

I should be careful what I ask for -- climate change might just bring them.

You can bet I'll be watching for these salamanders. Thanks for posting this!

matt_stansberry said...

Nice herp dude! I'd love to see one of them in the wild.

Marianna said...

hey, it's my salamander friend! I'm so glad you got these photos.

...let's go visit again sometime.