The Lair of the Tiger salamander

I hope that my readers with forgive my long absence from the CFZ bloggo.

However, I honestly have had nothing worth writing. I have had my eye to the woods, waters and papers but nothing worthwhile had turned up. There was a report of a mountain lion near the town of Henry, Illinois where other such reports have come from in the past but because of its location on private property I was unable to get access. It's such a pity that The CFZ in civilized countries has it much harder. At least if I was Richard Freeman bushwhacking around a third world country I could bribe a local warlord and be home free other than the fact that he might decide to kill me later on in the expedition.

However, I have nothing to report on the large predator front other than that. No news has come to me. It will be fall soon and the hunters will be taking to the woods (as will I) and stories will be coming out of fresh sightings. These animals do not move very much in the summer and also the corn and foliage are so tall and thick that they can move very easily without being noticed. They are, after all, stealth killers. I have also acquired a new Glock pistol model G22 in 40 caliber that will accompany any expeditions that might eventually happen; that is if the current administration of my country does not take it from my cold dead hands. I apologize for the trampling of the rest of the worlds rights to bear arms and we are fighting for our lives to keep our rights even as I write. But Politics aside....
Now for something completely different.

I do have some small discoveries: a western hognose snake was farther east than it had been reported in my state; as well as a tiger salamander.

It is amazing what turns up when you are not looking for it. My father and I were working on the family farm's well shaft, which had a broken pipe, and I saw this salamander that looked larger than any I had ever seen. So I collected it for identification. It measured 11 inches. Also what makes this discovery of mine unique is that according to the University of Illinois there has never been a tiger salamander captured, photographed or documented in away way in my county or 3 other counties in my area and 1 county to the west of mine so 5 counties in total. The max. growth of the tiger salamander is 13 inches. I must say that I find a lot of irony in that I found this beautiful creature in a well shaft much like Sir John Lampton and his famous Worm!

However, I doubt that this tiger salamander could milk a dozen cows. If I may divert a bit, I would posit that the Lampton worm was most likely a large snake that was brought to England and that Lampton got from a trader when he was a boy and just as people today do when they get large predatory snakes and cannot take care of them, he released it, or in this case chucked it down a well. Because I must say, I see a very possible connection between the WORM and the giant snake legends that are around the world much like the anacondas or Pythons.

I must say, however, that if it would have truly happened, the sight of a knight and a 50- to 100-foot snake doing battle, that I would like to see. The raw combat would be tangible in the air. And such exotic pets would not have a hard time breeding legends in the minds of those who had never seen them before. Yet I collected this salamander in a well and nobody lost any sheep or any sleep, and I didn’t really keep any babes from harm, nor did I make halves of this salamander, or save cows and calves. But it is at the very least a rather interesting discovery.

So after identifying the salamander and documenting its size and location and shooting a piece for `On the Track` I released the salamander back into the wild. I have the pleasure of documenting for the CFZ the first known tiger salamander in my county as well as the entire surrounding area. None have been reported in this part of the state post 1980 at all and I believe that the tiger salamander population may be on the rise again.

I am doing my best in what little I can to support the CFZ. However, when there is no news I cannot make things up. I hope that my writings will be more frequent . I have also attempted to use my YouTube channel to generate some revenue in donation to the CFZ. I am unsure if that has been at all successful but I will continue to do my level best on the track of mystery animals.