Thursday, January 16, 2014


Kids found two different kinds of salamanders in the park this week.

Arboreal Salamander:

Slender Salamander:
The text of a handout for young salamander collectors:

"These are California Slender Salamanders. They are amphibians. They have no lungs and breathe through their skin. They eat small spiders, beetles, crickets, pill bugs, and snails. They catch their prey by flicking out their sticky tongue. They live in moist places, but NOT in water. Slender Salamanders are common on the coast of California. You can probably find one living in your backyard. Look under logs, rocks, and piles of leaves. They protect themselves by running away or excreting a sticky liquid. If their tail falls off, or is bitten off by a predator, it will grow back."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tortoise Enclosure

Sala wanted a pet reptile. He had $40, a dozen reptile care fact sheets, and an obsession to own a reptile.
Sala's mother would not let him purchase a reptile until he had a viable home for his pet. He spent a week or so searching the workshop in vain for plexiglass sheets to glue together into a makeshift tank for the ball python of his dreams. No luck. He schemed to make a box out of hardboard and hardware cloth for an iguana. He soon realized that he did not have space in his bedroom for a 6 foot lizard.

Then, in a pile of junk dumped on the street near an empty lot he found this:
And carried it, almost exclusively by himself, three quarters of a mile and over a pretty impressive hill to the Center.
Sala's route carrying the table.

There was a pretty heated discussion among some of the kids about what this table had been used for. Sala and I think it is a toy train activity table.

He had seen pictures of tortoise tables on the internet. With the table in the workshop Sala set to work transforming the table into an enclosure for a tortoise.
cleaning the table
 After securing the top to the frame, an 8 inch fence of hardware cloth braced by 2x2s makes a safe place for a small tortoise.
just add a hutch, substrate, and heat lamp