Subject:  California Slender Salamanders
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2016
We decided to do some late afternoon gardening, and we occasionally overturn a log in the garden just to see what we can find.  We keep rotting logs in the yard for habitat, and we have also constructed our garden walls from broken concrete.  Decisions like that are important for providing habitat for native species.  Well, under the first log was a cute little California Slender Salamander in the genus
Batrachoseps, most likely the Garden Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps major major, which is found in Southern California.  According to California Herps Identifying Salamanders page:  “This is the small worm-like salamander commonly found in gardens and yards in coastal southern California. It is often seen under surface objects, especially in moist and shaded areas, but it may also be found under cover in open areas including coastal chaparral. This is a small, thin salamander, which might look like a worm on first sight, before the tiny limbs are noticed. Often they will be found coiled up under a surface object. When disturbed, they may spring up and writhe on the ground, wagging their tail, which sometimes is let loose as a distraction. It is also easily detached when a salamander is handled. Many of these salamanders will be found with an incompletely re-grown tail.  This is one of two small, slender salamander occuring in Southern California in the areas shown on the map below, but the second species is less commonly encountered and is found in the mountains. There are many other species of slender salamanders occuring throughout the state which all look so much alike that they are nearly impossible to identify without using a range map.” Upon overturning a neighboring log, we found two more Garden Slender Salamanders. All were about three inches long. We carefully replaced the logs after taking a few images.

Garden Slender Salamander

Garden Slender Salamander

Garden Slender Salamanders

Garden Slender Salamanders

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Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

3 Responses to Three Garden Slender Salamanders found in Mount Washington

  1. Rene Zambrano says:

    Wow! I have not seen ant salamanders up here in Mount Washington since I was a child. Barely any snakes anymore either. In the past year or two, I keep thinking that I might have caught a glimpse of a salamander here and there, but haven’t been able to find any.

    • bugman says:

      Hi Renee,
      Daniel’s yard faces north and is near Elyria Canyon Park. He only sees Salamanders during winter months, and generally after there have been some significant rains. Since there is a habitat friendly garden with wood and rocks, populations of these wonderful creatures may be on the rise, at least in one garden.

  2. Rene Zambrano says:

    That’s great to know! After so many years on the hill, I have seen a number of species of birds and other creatures dwindle as others have increased. It is very interesting to make note of.

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