Mid-Summer Garden Guest

A fairly common sight in early spring, the Spotted Salamander is a member of the family Ambystomatidae, the mole salamanders. Warm, rainy spring nights bring them out of their forest burrows in search of vernal pools to mate, usually in late March - April.
Spotted Salamanders are nocturnal and spend most days under leaves, rotting wood, or in underground burrows.  The mole salamanders are carnivorous and have a varied diet of earthworms, slugs,spiders, snails, millipedes,  beetles and larval beetles.  
I found this handsome specimen while harvesting potatoes in my garden.  It was under the thick, moist straw bed- hopefully feasting on slugs and other critters I don't want in the garden. After our photo shoot, I tucked her near the stone wall in the shady forest of my backyard and wished her the best. 

N.Pizzo/ AMC Senior Naturalist