A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mud Puppies

As regular readers will know we try and maintain our 33 acres of grey county mixed bush in a sustainable manner and operate under a “Managed Forest Plan”, we keep lists of forest flowers, ferns, trees, shrubs, birds and animals we see on our property and try to learn a little about each new species we see. It is possible to know all that we have on this diverse hideaway, we do not list the butterfly’s, beetles and insect 'pests' that some years stress our variety of trees, the pine budworm, the forest tent caterpillar, the pine sawyer, etc etc. Nor do we track the snakes, frogs and other reptiles on our property, this does not mean that we do not take note of such encounters. Each and every new 'find' is exciting and important to us!

This week we are pleased to have our grandaughter visiting and along with her mother (our nature loving daughter) she was exploring around our small (6 x 8) man made pond in our visitor woodland 'gardens'. This is simply a semi- wild area close to the house to give folks who are unable or unwilling to take a hike a glimpse of what can be seen if you walk the extensive trails back in the bush area, but hardly a 'wild' area. We were really please to have our granddaughter come back with half a dozen newly hatched Mud Puppy’s scooped from said pond. My regime of letting the leaves from the trees that shadow the entire area accumulate in the pond each fall and rot down each winter seems to have paid off. Sure we do have to scoop a few wheelbarrows full off the bottom each spring or it would soon become totally full, but we always leave a good layer of sediment on the bottom for the frogs that help keep the mosquito larva in control.

The confirmation of this came when in looking up details on 'mud puppies' we learned that they do not normally travel more than a few hundred feet from water and take 3 or 4 tears to 'mature' (and will eventually grow to 12 or 14 inches) but will then lay several hundred eggs. It seems that despite the little pond being a 1000' feet or more from the next closest water somehow a mature Salamander (Mud puppies are a particular species of Salamanders who only exist in this small area of north America it seems) has found its way here and found my man made pond to its liking. The pond does not look particularly 'pretty' to those who want a 'manicured look' but obviously it looks OK to natures creatures ...... and that to us is far more important to us than an urban humans 'approval'!

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