Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finding newts

Today Kelton and I went to "Slugfest" at Foothills Park where we learned about banana slugs then saw some specimens the ranger had collected, which also included some newts and salamanders. Halfway through the hike portion of the event we slipped away to have our own fun and search for newts and salamanders using what we learned. Before long we found a great big Californa Newt crawling through some wet fallen branches!

They're gentle but active and Kelton adored him, and held him for quite a while. He had a very hard time putting him back when it was time to go. These critters have tetrodotoxin in their skin -- same stuff as in pufferfish -- so we made sure we didn't lick our fingers for the rest of our hike. Later Kelton found some slender salamanders that Daddy missed, using his eagle eyes. Someday we'll have to set up a terrarium at home like I did as a kid.

What a wonderful way to spend a cool sunny Saturday morning. I'd been way overdue for a day of exploration in the woods and Kelton loves it as much as I do.