Tag Archives: Tiger Salamander in Watford City North Dakota

Tiger Salamander In Watford City, North Dakota, Part II

I didn’t mean to keep everybody in suspense over what happened to the green & black Tiger Salamander that I saw walking down the street nine days ago.  I felt bad for him because he was walking in the middle of the road at less than 1 mph, and I didn’t think that he knew where he was going.  I put him in a cardboard box, and I looked him up on the internet.

Green & black Tiger Salamanders are native to North Dakota.  During the rainy season, once each year, they get out and walk to the pond where they were born, in order to find a mate.  Then they go walking, usually on a rainy night, to go find a place to stay for the Winter.

I read about five internet articles that described what they like to eat, what to do if you want to keep one as a pet, and what they do and where they stay during the Winter.  All the internet articles downplayed the statement, “…or, they go and live in some other animal’s burrow.”

I didn’t know what to do with him.  I did not want to go buy a 15 to 20 gallon aquarium, make dry land, water pond, plant plants, go to the pet store to buy crickets every week, and have to worry about the cat knocking the lid off the aquarium, and the dog knocking over the aquarium.  You can’t change your mind about keeping him in the middle of the Winter, because you can’t take him out of the house and let him loose in the snow and freezing temperature.

When I got up in the morning after keeping him in the cardboard box over night, and looked to see how he was doing, he might have drank some of his water, but he had not eaten any of the hot dog pieces that I had cut up for him.  Later that day, I showed him to a neighbor lady, and she said, “I would like to say that he is cute, but he isn’t.”  I agree, he was creepy and hideous looking, and poisonous.

In the late afternoon, I talked to the person who owns the house where I live in Dickinson, and he said that Tiger Salamanders make good pets, although they don’t do a lot in the Winter, and when they are very active in their aquarium, they stink.  I can believe that, because I detected a stinky smell already.

When it got completely dark that night, I took the Tiger Salamander over to a field that had been in the direction of where he was headed the night before, and let him go.  There were some large dirt piles, brush piles, and debris piles, so he had many hiding places to chose from.  I did not want to take him further away, because I think that he would probably try to walk back to the retention pond to find a mate next Fall.

In the field where I let him go, there were many rabbits and mice.  These rabbits and mice already have holes and burrows.  Mice already have high pitch squeak voices, and I can picture some mouse woman shrieking at him, “Oh no! You’re not staying here!  Get out!”  Of course he’s not going to leave.  Probably for a weak, some mouse woman will be yelling at him, bitching, griping, and complaining non-stop.  Then, everybody will just have to go around him and step over him for the rest of the Winter.

Tiger Salamander In Watford City, North Dakota, Part I

I have written many times in this blog that you can’t go out to bars and restaurants and drink in Watford City because the police will get you for a DUI right away.  Most of the people who have lived in Watford City for several months find this out, one way or another.  Just like you can’t speed or go over the speed limit in Watford City.  Most of the people just stay home.  The restaurants are not very good and the restaurant staff are weird and crazy anyway.  At the apartment complexes, many of the workers just sit in the parking lot in their trucks, listening to music, browsing the internet, or talking on the phone.  I sit in my truck in the parking lot and look at the internet.

On Labor Day I was sitting in my truck at night and I looked out the window and I saw a green & black reptile walking down the road, and I thought, “This is unusual, and kind of pathetic.”  I got out of my truck and shone my flashlight on him, and he stopped.  He was about ten inches long.  I was thinking what to do, when a Watford City Police Officer drove up and asked me what was going on.

I said to the police officer that those people right there have backed up to the dirt pile to get their four-wheeler out of the back of their truck, they don’t have a ramp, me I am trying to figure out what to do with this lizard, come and look at him.  The police officer came and looked at the lizard and said it was not native to North Dakota, someone must have had it as a pet and let it go.  The police officer left.

I took a large plastic salad bowl and put it over top of the lizard while I went to the trash dumpster to get a cardboard box.  I came back with a box and nudged the lizard to get in the box, which he did.  I put him in the backseat of my truck, and I looked him up on the internet.

I read about five articles about him.  He is a Tiger Salamander.  This particular kind that is green with black stripes, is very common in North Dakota.  How do they keep from freezing?  When they get frost on their skin, their liver starts secreting an anti-freeze into their blood stream.  In the winter, they find a place to hibernate deep in the rocks, deep in a dead tree, or in some other animal’s burrow.

In the rainy season, once each year, they walk to the pond where they were born, and try to find a mate.  When it is raining in the Fall, like it was on Labor Day, they go walking to find a good place to stay for the winter.

Where the new apartments are in Watford City, there had been a pond, but everything got changed and moved around.  It looked like this Tiger Salamander could have been at the new retention pond, because he was headed in the opposite direction from the new retention pond.  Everything was now so built up with buildings and roads, I don’t know how he even survived, especially because he was now walking down the street.

Most of the internet articles said that Tiger Salamanders live about twelve to fifteen years, and that they grow up to thirteen inches in length.  They like to eat crickets, worms, and other bugs.  If you keep them in an aquarium, they need at least a fifteen gallon aquarium with both water and dry land.

One website had a bunch of people that were very enthusiastic about Tiger Salamanders.  One woman wrote that she petted one and kissed one, then got sick, the sickest that she had ever been in her life, and that she had to sit on the toilet for several hours, with a garbage can in front of her.  Tiger Salamanders secrete a toxin through their skin which is poisonous, in order to ward off predators.  Eating their tail is supposed to be fatal.

I went looking for worms to feed him, but it was too cold for worms to be out, and I didn’t find any.  I took him in the box up to the apartment.  I took the large cap off of two Gatorade bottles, in one cap I put water, in the other cap I put some pieces of hot dogs, and I put his water and food in his box.  Because he was from North Dakota, I decided to name him Chancey Williams, after Chancey Williams who is a musician who performed at the First On First Dickinson concert this summer.  Yes, that is the correct spelling.  I felt like it was more appropriate to name a poisonous salamander that was walking down the street Chancey, instead of Chauncey anyway.