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the daily gardener blog

salamander

Old lore says that the salamander is a creature of fire. It is said to be renewing its scales in the flames and even to be nourished by them. I don’t know if this myth was born of the salamander’s habit of hide under rotting logs and jumping out of the flames when the logs were set on the fire or of its unusually bright markings which glow in the sunlight with an almost flame-like intensity.

The salamander skin was believed to provide protection from fire during the Middle Ages, that innocent and very imaginative time when the most fantastic stories were woven.

The fact that these tiny amphibians are shy and seldom seen builds up the mystery, making them into one of those creatures that belong more to the world of legend than the real one.

The real salamanders have delicate skins and are very dependent on a moist environment, they really don’t enjoy harsh sun exposure, not to mention fire, so they tend to hang out in the humid shade around the water, show themselves only after the rain and generally stay out of the sight of predators.

I’ve never actually seen a salamander, so we’ll have to stick with this one for now. I found it at the alligator farm in the Everglades.