We seem to have made a good location great for salamanders – ours are long-toed salamanders. Despite being in a near-perfect location for salamanders, most of the time we don’t see them. The information is online– and the field guide does a pretty good job explaining why we see them rarely. They’re classified as “mole” salamanders, which kind of suggests they spend their time in the dirt rather than walking around on top of it. I am pretty much just excerpting from the field guide – and I strongly suggest that if you ever notice one of these little guys around your house, you really want to read it.
It explains how we built a great salamander environment by accident. Stretching out a few logs in a stack gives a cool, shaded spot on top of moist soil – kind of a great place for a foraging mole salamander. The pond, with its still water, provides a great place for laying eggs and hatching the little amphibians.
Finally, leaving a thick piece of plywood alongside the dripline from the garage roof built a near-perfect mating location – covered by the plywood, and with wet, uncompacted soil, less than 100 yards from the pond. The females will wander down to the pond, lay eggs, and along will come the next generation.