4 baby salamanders

Blue Crawdad & 50 Salamanders (or More!)

We’ve been clearing our seep.

Right behind and just to the side of our house, water runs out of the mountain in a good-sized and constant stream. If we hadn’t cut a channel for it when we first moved here, the entire side of the house where we park and go in and out would be a swamp. It was a swamp when we moved in; you couldn’t park at all, and you risked losing a shoe or boot if you tried to walk over there.

So we cut the channel, and it runs year round, waters our bees, and houses lots of blue crawdads, salamanders, snails, and sometimes a pretty milksnake.

Every fall we have to clear out old leaves and other detritus, and every spring and summer we have to clear out buttercups, rumex, jewelweed, black raspberries and other plants that would love to take it over.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many baby salamanders in there as I did this week, when we did our spring cleaning. I was fascinated, and crouched over the silty water counting and chatting with our new babies. I counted more than 50 of them in a very short stretch of the seep.

4 baby salamanders
4 baby salamanders

And, of course, I also happened to see one of the blue crawdads, who was also milling around in the newly-stirred up mud. I’ve heard that crawfish will eat little salamanders, but this one didn’t seem to be bothering ours.

So! Here’s the blue crawdad, who is possibly a Cambarus monongalensis. And below that, you’ll see two sets of “Salamanders in the Seep” photos, where you can see if you count as many as I did before you look at the key photo.

Blue crayfish (Cambarus monongalensis)
Blue crayfish (Cambarus monongalensis)

Baby Salamanders in the Seep Game 1

Salamanders (and blue crawdad) in the seep
Salamanders (and blue crawdad) in the seep
Salamanders (and blue crawdad) in the seep KEY
Salamanders (and blue crawdad) in the seep KEY (I found 9 sallies and one blue crawfish)

Baby Salamanders in the Seep Game 2

Baby salamanders 2
Baby salamanders 2
Baby salamanders 2 KEY
Baby salamanders 2 KEY (I found 14 sallies)

It’s good to have a nice, clean seep!

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