Monday, March 23, 2009

Salamanders on Riverside Place

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, March 23, 2009. Slender Salamanders found on Riverside Place, near Red Car Canyon. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

This past weekend, Jonathan Vandiveer found two 5-inch long salamanders under pots in his Riverside Place garden. One was either hibernating or dead. After Jonathan shot some photos (with his work glove in the background for scale), he set them free in his garden. You may remember Jonathan's MOTHRA! discovery from last summer.

From a search of, we narrowed it down to being a Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps), possibly a non-native to Los Angeles, California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus), who hitched a ride in from a nursery. However, it's more likely to be the native, Garden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major major).

There are 19 species of Slender Salamander on the California Herps website. Few are native to LA County. Both candidates seem suited to damp environmental conditions of Red Car Canyon near Riverside Place.

In January 2001, a neighbor's son showed me two smaller (likely juvenile) salamanders, just like the one in the photo above. He set them free where he found them in the damp, shady part of "the Meadow" on the Red Car Property.

Send us photos of your urban wildlife encounters in the Corralitas Red Car Neighborhood. Include your name, date and approximate time of photo and what the animal was doing at the time of observation: