Ms Mallory explains how to help scientists learn about San Diego’s cryptic Salamanders

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Garden Slender Salamanders are some of the smallest vertebrates living in highly urban environments- like San Diego. They look like worms with small legs and big eyes.

Ms. Mallory said these lungless salamanders breathe through their skin, which must stay slightly damp at all times to function properly. As a result, they are only active above ground during the rainy season. However, they can still be found in damp places around your yard- like garden sheds and underneath potted plants. (hence the name)

Slender salamanders love damp (but not saturated) soil in shady locations along hillsides, and they especially like hanging out in the loose soil under oak trees. Look carefully under small objects like rocks, logs, pieces of wood, or really anything lying on the ground.

Mallory says people can become a citizen scientist by going on backyard adventures and posting pictures of your findings on citizen science platforms like iNaturalist and Project Noah allows scientists to learn more about where these animals live. They can’t go searching through everyone’s backyards, so this allows them to collect important wildlife data from places they typically wouldn’t be able to look.

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