It is 3:30am on a Friday morning. My husband and I are sleeping peacefully in our bed. I awake to a rustling of the plastic wrap of a magazine I had left on the floor next to the bed (because I’m a slob, it’s fine). I sleepily call out for Nikita, our husky, to stop messing around and go to sleep. The rustling does not stop and I wonder why Nikita is in that corner of the room anyway. If you know me at all you know that I hold sleep most precious next to cheese and my loved ones so I am NOT HAPPY. In frustration I grab my phone and illuminate the scene to find, not Nikita, but Sally the Salamander who is slowly crawling around on my bedroom floor.
Let’s back up a little because there is a logical reason that Sally is in my home, although I am still unsure of how she escaped her muddy confines. I teach science outreach programming and Sally, South Carolina’s state Amphibian, is part of my next day’s program. Consequently, Sally was our houseguest for the night. Here are some fun facts about Sally’s escape:
- Her cage was on top of a standing desk…so I’m not sure how she made it down.
- She smartly turned on the touch lamp on the desk, probably to better illuminate her way. Get it, girl.
- After her journey down from the desk she crawled under the closed door of the office and found her way into our bedroom.
- In order to enter our room she had to waddle right past our dog asleep on the floor. Girl, you are bold.
- She smartly woke me up with by crinkling the plastic wrap to avoid drying out or getting eaten. OK, maybe she didn’t do this on purpose but I shudder to think what would have happened if she hadn’t.
- In her exploration she acquired a very impressive “fur coat” because, Nikita graciously leaves her fur in literal piles on the floor. Salamanders are the texture of those sticky stretchy hand toys, so you can imagine what she looked like. Girl, you look good!
After hollering a lot and capturing that tricky amphibian, we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up again for the day. Sally, looking fabulous in her fur coat was returned to her rightful home. Where she will stay because I am a bad amphibian babysitter.
Lesson: Always put a heavy object on top of a guest amphibian cage in case it tries to make a wild dash for it.
The joy of learning. Together.
**Disclaimer: Sally is in good health. No salamanders were injured in this unfortunately true story.**