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Tiger Salamander Larvae
Image: LiquidShadow AF [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
It’s spring in Wyoming, and you’re walking home on a chilly, rainy night. To your surprise, on the sidewalk in front of you is a squirming black and yellow creature. What is going on here? Well, you almost stepped on a tiger salamander, Wyoming’s only native salamander species. The tiger salamander is a mole salamander, so named because they burrow into the soil with their thick legs and strong feet to hibernate underground during the winter. On rainy evenings in late winter or early spring, tiger salamanders emerge from their winter burrows and attempt to make it to nearby bodies of water where they breed and lay eggs. This can be a dangerous trip because often roads lie between hibernation sites and breeding habitat. So during nighttime rain showers in early spring, you can go to a nearby pond and look for salamanders to save from cars. If you find one, carefully pick it up and walk it across busy streets and place it closer to the body of water. Make sure you don’t have any lotions or chemicals on your hands, and wash your hands when you’re finished. With your WyoBio minute, this is Doug Eddy.