Amphibious Creature Discovered In Bernal Heights Back Yard

Neighbor Todd recently put on his pith helmet to embark upon an animal expedition in his back yard. He made a shocking discovery: creepy amphibians!

Your recent dispatch on Jerusalem crickets had me wondering what else lived in my yard, and not long ago, I found a pair of salamanders — yes salamanders — hiding out beneath a board. One of them found more private accommodations before I could return and take a picture, but I wanted to share the photographic evidence for your local wildlife files. Who knew salamanders lived in San Francisco? According to my research, this specimen is a California slender salamander.

Fascinating. Though the creature looks somewhat snake-like, this closeup of a California slender salamander grabbed from Wikipedia reveals that they actually walk on legs, and are actually rather cute (in that salamander sort of way):

However, latent cuteness cannot allow us to overlook the potential public safety menace posed by these delightful Bernalphibians. Because they are, after all, amphibious reptile-like creatures. And for all we know, they could potentially be cross-species allies of another amphibious reptile-like creature whose presence here would be much less charming:


PHOTOS: Top, Todd Dayton; middle, Wikipedia; bottom, Telstar Logistics

15 thoughts on “Amphibious Creature Discovered In Bernal Heights Back Yard

  1. My first encounter with these was rather startling. One of my first tasks upon moving into my house resulted in a huge pile of vines on the patio waiting for their turn to leave via the compost bin, a process that took a number of weeks. When I picked up the last of the pile I uncovered a whole mess of what I thought were tiny snakes because of the way they seemed to move by coiling. After I regained my composure and made a closer inspection, I realized what they were. I think the coiling movements were because they were as startled by their sudden exposure as I was. Since then I see them around here or there, but never again in such quantity.

  2. I’ve found two salamanders inside my house. At least individually, they’re adorable! A coiling mass of them might read differently.

  3. Paul Revere Elementary, 1966, our 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Trujillo would be upset if we referred to a Salamander, Toad, Newt or Frog as a reptile.
    The swamp/creek below St Mary’s Park, west of the Projects had all kinds of amphibians back then.

  4. These critters can be found throughout the city, I’d fine them regularly in my yard in the lower Haight before moving to Bernal.

  5. While the salamander is cute, the “Godzilla torching Bernalia” image wins my vote for best picture this week. Nicely done!

  6. when I first moved to crescent ave in 1980 there were lots of little snakes wriggling around under the accummulated debris on the property. They were first brought to my attention as cat trophies. I hoped they were SF garter snakes, but apparently not, they had red yellow and blue stripes on their back. eventually I didn’t see them anymore as I removed successive layers of junk from the property.

  7. Pingback: Collage Shows Creepy-Crawly Creatures Found on Bernal Hill | Bernalwood

  8. Sigh. I was born and raised in Bernal Heights and grew up with a pack of kids from my block…. none of us had money or parental supervision and finding and playing ( gently) with black salamanders was a favorite pastime. All the landscaped succulent gardens that replaced the anise and blackberry bushes and piles of rotten wood of my childhood have prob contributed to salamander demise.

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