Hello folks who wonder if cockroaches roaming in the kitchen before you turn off the lights are simply window shopping,

There is a high chance when you start flipping over rocks or logs during the winter season, you might catch creatures making a drug deal and will instantly make a run for it to avoid going to jail.
One of the common culprits, you can hope to find is the California Slender Salamander. California Slender Salamanders will spend their lives in moist environments, which can be anywhere from digging deep in the soil to basking under rocks and logs.

In short, these creatures will stay away from sun and try to keep their skin moist all the time. They hate the sun so much that they will hibernate in summer and only emerge when the temperatures are cooler and the rains have arrived. It seems like someone has not heard of SPF-50 sunscreen.

Below is a slender salamander displaying the same emotion as a high school kid who just broke up from a 2 month relationship and thinks this world is a cruel place.


Slender salamanders are fascinating because when evolution asked them to fill a form about what kind of body they would like, this is what they marked in the form.

☑ Worm
☑ Lizard
☑ Frog
◻ Bird
◻ Dinosaur
◻ Primate

They have slender tails and very thin limbs with four toes and they can reach lengths up to six inches. Their eyes are always directed forward to accurately judge the distance of their prey, this makes them effective predators of mites, spiders, beetles but terrible drivers because they don't check their blind spots when changing lanes.

Below is the salamander telling me it is afraid of heights and starting to feel nauseous already.


I know you are still wondering, why do these folks avoid going in the sun, since a gallon of sunscreen at Costco costs under 50 bucks. Turns out, these critters unlike us and other salamanders do not breathe through their lungs but instead through their skin.
The principle of diffusion dictates everything from why you are still alive to why no one on the plane can escape smelling farts.
To explain that principle let's look at what will typically happen when a bunch of tired folks are waiting for a train and the train doors open.


You see, each of that passenger tried to get a seat as far as possible from the other and that is how diffusion works, when particles move from a high concentration area to a low concentration area, they will disperse till everyone gets their own seat.

This is how the gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place in our body as well the salamander. Red blood cells carrying carbon dioxide will exchange it for oxygen in your lungs because of the concentration gradient.

Imagine the train below is the breath you took where the red passengers are oxygen, the blue passengers being CO2 and the cars being the red blood cells. The problem for the slender salamander is, in order for the train to easily open the doors and allow the gas exchange to take place, it needs the skin to be moist, otherwise the cell membranes change in structure and make it less permeable for oxygen.
This can result in the death of the salamander.



Another thing, since we are talking about red blood cells, is that for animals with higher energy needs like humans and birds, the size of red blood cells is tiny so they can travel more efficiently through blood vessels, but the same is not required for these salamanders who move as much as an average footfall fan while watching superbowl - a few inches. Thus their blood cells are much bigger than average human blood cells.

Below are the blood cells being pumped in the toes of the salamander.


1 comment:

  1. Love you sense of humor. The blood in the toes is a great video!

    ReplyDelete

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