This afternoon when I opened the door there was a salamander waiting at the steps! I don't know for sure what possessed him to cross the great expanse of patio pavers to the steps, but I suspected he was looking for a good place to hunker down for the winter.
About 15 years ago when Sara was in 2nd grade, a boy in her class found a big tiger salamander and brought it to school in a bucket. Sara convinced him to give it to her and brought it home . She named it Sally and we kept her in a terrarium all winter, then let her go the next summer. We were all very fond of Sally.
I really wanted to take this salamander in for the winter. I decided if I found a nice terrarium at a thrift store for not very much money, it was destined to be. I put him in a large bucket with garden soil in the bottom while I went to town to do my errands. At Savers I found the perfect terrarium for $ 7! I also found a funky shallow, green dish for a little pool.
When I stopped at the library for resources about keeping a pet salamander there was precious little information on the topic, but both books stated that tiger salamanders adapt well to captivity and enjoy being hand-fed.
I've decided to keep his terrarium (or, more properly, "vivarium") on my desk so I can monitor whether he seems to be settling in or I need to let him go. I'm calling him "Meander." He's pretty small, about 7 inches from head to tip of tail and perhaps an inch in diameter at his thickest part. He's got that goofy salmander grin.
Just now I looked up the symbolism of the salamander. Some of the salamander's symbolic attributes include Vision, Energy, Growth, Renewal, Transition, Awareness and Resourcefulness -- an auspicious animal for starting a farm!