Yesterday I moved our trash bin outside, which is sitting atop some dirt on the side of the house, and I found this little fellow hiding underneath. Isn't he cute?! He's a blue-spotted salamander, and to me, he is a bearer of good tidings. You see, salamanders are very sensitive to environmental contamination, because they can absorb water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide through their thin skin. And so they can only survive in areas that are free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. And here on The Greater Green Farm, we are growing everything organically, and he is proof that it is working. Our land is healthy. Amen.
He is also an extremely beneficial addition to our little eco-system here, because he eats spiders, worms, and other insects (and, boy, do we have a lot of those!). He's good at foiling predators- he'll whip his tail around, releasing a toxin, and if necessary for escape, his tail will fall off and grow back later. Probably many of us don't know much about him, either, because salmanders are so secretive, living mostly under leaf litter and other forest debris most of the year. It is a rare event for us to find one, and I always enjoy the moment. This year I was lucky enough to get a photo, as well!
You can read more about this salamander, and other native Michigan salamanders, here.