Last Friday, Colorado gained a state amphibian, the Western Tiger Salamander. Having an inquiring mind, I wondered how many other states had claimed an amphibian as their own. Wikipedia shows there are 18 other states that have designated a state amphibian. Most are frogs (both Iowa and Oklahoma have claimed the North American Bullfrog as their state amphibian), but there are five other salamanders on the list:
- Alabama – Red Hills Salamander
- Illinois – Eastern Tiger Salamander
- Kansas – Barred Tiger Salamander
- South Carolina – Spotted Salamander
- Tennessee – Tennessee Cave Salamander
Thinking this over, a few questions come to mind. Why have a state amphibian? It does seem to be a fairly popular thing to do, but why? Is there some sort of amphibian lobby? If so, what (possibly evil) mastermind is behind this lobby? And looking at the numbers (12 to 6), how did the frog faction become more powerful than the salamander faction? Also, with everything happening in the world and our country, should our legislators and governor really be concerning themselves with a state amphibian? Don’t they have more important issues to consider? If not, I would like to congratulate them for being on top of the state business.
This salamander talk brings back memories of growing up on an Iowa family farm. We had an outdoor storm cellar, known as “the cave.” It was dark, cool and humid in there, with a small amount of water usually on the floor. It was an equally good place to either store root vegetables or hide from tornados. There was also a 4-inch clay tile draining the floor; mysterious, exotic salamanders would often appear through that tile. I still remember how soft, moist and velvety their skin felt. I thought they were beautiful. The only place I ever saw a salamander was in that cave. So after recalling this, I guess I get a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that a salamander is now our official state amphibian.
But those legislative rascals have caught me completely flat-footed. I have no pictures of the Western Tiger Salamander. I did take a picture of the Colorado state flower, the Columbine, last summer while camping up on Grand Mesa with Niki & Stefi. Mary was not there because there are no motels where we were camping, though the excuse she gives may be different. Look for her rebuttal in the comments below.