This creepy little guy was burrowed into some loose straw mulch when I uncovered him in the garden. I was placing some potted trees in a bed where they will winter over with the help of straw, leaves and compost. That is, if I have the courage to resume my work after abandoning the whole project to the salamander. I suspect there are more salamanders than just this one.
My shreiks and screams summoned the family biologist who identified him as a Tiger salamander. Even though he appeared perfectly harmless, and was beating a hasty retreat from the area where I found him, the incident left me shaking with fright. Childhood memories of the salamanders who used to reside in our basement are still with me and I recoil at the thought of stepping on one or worse yet, touching one as I dig through my garden.
Our tiger was carried off to the pond a good distance from the garden and left to fend for himself in a new territory. Maybe tomorrow I will get back to the pile of straw waiting in the garden, and with some luck, will not encounter any more tigers.