(Jefferson Salamander photographed at my property in East Ottawa)
Ok, this cute little guy may not seem that impressive, but I assure you it is one rare find indeed!
According to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM):
The Jefferson Salamander requires intact deciduous forest with undisturbed forest floor and unpolluted breeding ponds. It is likely that habitat loss and degradation, caused by urban development and agriculture, are responsible for the declines in this species in southern Ontario. Today, the Ontario populations are small, isolated pockets each numbering a few hundred individuals. Small populations are always susceptible to local extinction due to chance events such as floods, fire or other catastrophes.
Range: The Jefferson Salamander lives in deciduous forests. Its range extends from New England south to Maryland, and west to Illinois. In Canada, it occurs only in Ontario, where it has been reported from about 30 sites. (In Southwestern Ontario)
This rare specimen is, in fact, the second Jefferson Salamander we have spotted around our property. We actually found another one outside our garage last fall as it was preparing for hibernation. The one I discovered today, whom I’ve decided to call ‘Jeff’ for obvious reasons, was evidently keeping himself warm around the outside of our septic tank.
These special creatures are protected under the Endangered Species Act:
Protection for Jefferson Salamanders is provided by Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 prohibits actions such as killing, capturing, possessing, selling or trading of the species. The Natural Heritage component of the Provincial Policy Statement under Ontario’s Planning Act provides for the protection of significant habitat of endangered species. Most populations in Ontario are on private land and are close to urban areas. Populations in Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks receive protection.
Don’t ask me what this endangered species is doing here in the Ottawa-area (several hundred miles from SW Ontario), but I feel fortunate they’ve chosen my property to hang out in.
P.S. For those who are wondering, the Great Outdoors is not always about hunting & fishing.