This little linked photo shows what I believe to be a spotted salamander (I don't claim to be an expert in such things, so if you know for sure one way or another please comment). As you can probably tell from the picture it's black with yellow spots; what you probably can't tell is that it's probably around six and a half to seven inches long (the oak leaf to the far right of the picture is a little misleading and actually makes the salamander look bigger than it really is, IMO).
I took this picture in the Golden Hills region, not too far from Spring Pond (a.k.a. the Third Lake). I discovered the salamander while wandering around collecting firewood (with permission, of course) in an area that had been freshly cleared by a local developer. The salamander was hiding under a pretty big oak log.
I'm a little late in posting this. In fact, I'm so late you're probably going to laugh. My recent schedule with work on the new Saugus book, the Newton book reader, and other miscellaneous projects has been keeping me more than busy. Anyhow, do you remember the unseasonably early snow squall we had this past October? This picture was taken on that very day, a little bit before the snow started. After getting a few photos I replaced the log and left the salamander alone. I checked again the next day to see how he'd held up to the snow, but he'd left.
I figured I'd post this because in all my years in Saugus I'd never before spotted such a large salamander. I see plenty of turkeys, foxes, deer, and other animals that many are surprised to learn still inhabit Saugus, but this was a first. Anyone else have any interesting Saugus animal stories or photographs?
On a completely different unrelated note, the discussions on the Saugus political forum have been pretty interesting lately. There have been comments from parents, Town Meeting members, and other interested parties; I'm surprised that none of the teachers have gotten involved yet.