For Salamanders and thea Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, the Year of the Salamander is timely. Last fall landowners, including Wildlife Habitat Steward Doreen Olson, reported record-breaking numbers of Tiger Salamander migration and mortality. These reports go a long way in helping us understand and conserve salamanders, of whom we currently know very little.
Who is your neighbor?
We have 2 salamander species to celebrate in the Okanagan- Similkameen: provincially red-listed, or endangered, Blotched Tiger Salamanders, and provincially yellow-listed, or secure,
Long-toed Salamanders. Both species are very important to the Okanagan-Similkameen ecosystem. Salamanders form nutrient connections between land and water habitat, are prey for other threatened species such as Great Blue Herons, and are predators of insects and small mammals.
|Blotched Tiger Salamander|
Photo: Jonquil Crosby
• Up to 30 cm in length
• Chunky heads and bodies
• Markings: patchier and more olive to grey than Long-toed salamanders
Photo: Natasha Lukey
• Up to 10 cm in length
• Slender bodies
• Markings: solid down their back, mustard yellow
• Long hind 4th toes
Salamanders in my pool?
Like humans, salamanders seek refuge from the heat while they travel. Salamanders often mistakenly end up in human-made pools where they quickly become trapped, exhausted, and drown, or die after absorbing toxic chemicals through their thin skin. You can help prevent endangered salamanders and other small animals from drowning in your pool by installing a Froglog, or similar escape ramp. Froglogs are non-toxic, easy-to-grip, floating ramps that allow animals to safely exit pools.