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By Jen Mannas, PAWS Naturalist

Most of the patients at PAWS Wildlife Center are either feathered or furred, but every once in a while we get a patient of the amphibian persuasion.

On March 16, a Northwestern Salamander was brought to PAWS for care. He was found lying on AstroTurf, away from any suitable habitat, and appeared to be limping.

This isn’t surprising considering all of the rain we'd had the weekend before. Although Northwestern Salamanders spend the majority of their time underground, they're most active above ground after heavy rains.

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Northwestern Salamanders are medium sized and dark colored with a short, rounded head. Very common in western Washington and found in moist habitats, they're breeding during this time of year which makes them more active.

They lay clusters of eggs on underwater plants and grass. It can take at least 12 to 14 months for larvae to transform into metamorphosed adults and emerge from the water. However, some never fully transform and spend their entire life in the water.

Larvae and adults are mildly poisonous and can emit a sticky poison to keep predators away. Adults will even lash their tail to spread the poison around.

Lucky for us, our salamander patient never displayed this behavior!

An examination by our expert wildlife rehabilitators determined that he didn't have any injuries and was walking normally. And so, after just two days in our care, he was released in a moist area near where he was found.

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