my new friends... are green!

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

After I introduce all of you to my new friends, could someone please tell me what they are?
Only after I said goodbye, I realised we hadn't had a time to exchange names...


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Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

comes the other one; careful, he was a bit moody!


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Hiouchi, CA(Zone 8b)

i was able to identify 2 salamanders from my garden with this web site


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Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

the second one is an alligator lizard of some kind. Elgaria multicarinata, maybe


Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Alan, do they bite? It has such sharp teeth, it scared me!!!

Marlton, NJ

Wow I love that second one!

Your first one might be Aneides ferreus. Check that out on line and see if it's a match. Your second photo isn't a salamander but a lizard. Maybe some sort of an alligator lizard? Try looking that one up using the word Elgaria and see if you come up with any images that are a match. If that's an alligator lizard, it will bite if provoked. You'd probably feel it but we're not talking anything major. I simply don't like getting bit because it always comes as a shock and then what ever I am holding is at risk of being dropped on its head.

Nice herps everyone!

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Second one is Alligator lizzard.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

First one is Aneides ferreus. Thank you for your help!

I picked the alligator up with a towel, wasn't going to risc a bite!


Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

If it interests you, this is an interesting text about our alligator friend!

EDITED; forgot to post the link....

This message was edited Jan 22, 2007 5:33 PM

This message was edited Jan 22, 2007 6:00 PM

Elgaria multicarinata?

I took another close look at your photo and wanted to point something out to you. You can clearly see where the tail was either intentionally detached by your lizard or broken off. Itís growing back. Lizards tails break off easily but they grow back. Sometimes the lizard detaches its own tail to avoid predators. It detaches the tail and leaves it wiggling and writhing around while it makes its escape. Interestingly enough, Harvestman spiders will also intentionally detach a leg. The left behind twitching leg distracts predators while the spider escapes. How cool is it that you have a photo of a lizard that is in the process of re-growing its tail!

Ha ha ha!

I reached toward it with my free hand and wham! it clamped its powerful jaws between the first and second knuckle of my index finger and started shaking its head like a killer whale thrashing a sea lion. I shook my hand, and the little terror, with a mouthful of my skin, fell to the ground and half-slithered, half-scurried with its awkwardly skinny limbs to the safety of the leaf litter.
That about sums up their bite. You're certainly not going to bleed to death or lose a body part but it will startle you and the poor leetle leezard usually ends up sailing.

I just read this at your link,
If clearly overwhelmed, it drops its injured tail and flees, leaving the writhing decoy for the seemingly victorious predator. This special tail, which regenerates within a few months, is prehensile; if the lizard is threatened by a hungry raptor, it may wrap its tail around a convenient branch and hold the tip in its mouth to prevent being carried off. A predator that seizes an alligator lizard will need to endure nauseating, repulsive excreta to get a meal.
I like the use of the word decoy because that's exactly what the detached tail becomes. Umm umm good, not exactly Campbells soup given the excreta but I suppose if a critter is hungry enough it will eat anything.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Equilibrium, YOU have hawk eyes!! And you are so perceptive! I never noticed the tale. Now I see it, such an eensie-weensie tail for such a great alligator, and different in colour too!
We had many scrub jays making nests in that spot, maybe daddy scrub fed his babies a lizard tale stake!! LOL

Wish I had hawk eyes but I don't. I downloaded your photo and saved it to my desktop then enlarged it so I could bet a better peek. I do much better when something is in my hand and I can whip out a magnifying glass. Fortunately for me, your images were crisp.

I wouldn't put it past a Scrub Jay to eat a lizard tail. I think I once read they eat eggs of other birds as well as babies of other birds. Sorry, don't know my birds all that well.

FYI, the presence of that salamander is a quality habitat indicator. Do you garden using native plants?

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Not native, I don't think, but drought resistant, a lot of annuals and perennials that cover the ground, and I never use any non-organic products. I mulch with compost and leaves that I made myself.
I encorage all wildlife, have had 100's of dragonflies last year, who funny enough, did not fly past my property line! My neighbours wondered if I had bought them!
We also have a lot of birds, butterflies and bees.
My little organic paradise!

Picture; my backyard where I found these critters

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A chemical free yard! I love it!

I like the edging material you chose. Those rocks look great.

If you have dragonflies, there's water around. Where is it?

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

My front yard. I'll post a picture.

Maybe you are interested in seeing more pictures;
There is also a link to see the pictures on my site before I got married (October)

The edging is riverrock my husband was given by a friend who built a wall with it.

Thumbnail by mrs_colla
Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

another one of my "waterfront"

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Took me a while to get through all 91 but I enjoyed every last photo. I have to tell you that your lot looks like a veritable oasis compared to what I saw growing down the street in your neighbors' yards. I saw many native plants. Good for you.

There is deeper water somewhere within about a mile of where you live or you wouldn't have B52 bombers visiting you. Damselflies stick closer to water but Dragonflies go the distance so to speak and they're "laying over" at your place because of all the birdbaths.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

OH! right, we live by small creeks that don't have much water in summer, and not too far from the bay!

Thank you for your compliment!
My neighbours hate my yard. They spray chemicals to keep "my wildlife" out, and they are putting fences up, one by one. Some don't talk to me anymore.
When we bought this house 3 years ago, there was grass. ONLY! And I came and changed the feeling of the street, their words!
I'm glad you are my supporter!!! That makes my crooked fingers with black, broken nails and splinterhands worth it!

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When we first built our home, we chose to leave it au naturelle right up to the curb. Needless to say that resulted in a few anonymous nasty grams in our mail box accusing us of destroying property values. I have no doubt there were a few who frantically searched through the association by-laws to see if what we had done was kosher and it was. We have by-laws that disallow fences, and by-laws that disallow campers and boats on the properties overnight, and by-laws that disallow owning a chicken, and by-laws that state clothes lines must be behind a home, and by-laws for just about everything but no by-laws that stated we had to have the cookie cutter front lawn. I suspect that if the individuals responsible for the creation of the by-laws had even suspected a homeowner would be capable of pulling a shot such as the one we pulled, they would have created a by-law to address the issue. You can't see my home from the road because we only carved out just over an acre in the center to build the house. I like the wetlands and woods right up to the street and... here's something that neighbors seem to forget... we pay the property taxes on this property. We're not alone any longer. We have quite a few new homeowners who chose to forgo having a manicured lawn to the curb and they may very well have been inspired to do so because of the cavalier approach we took. And, we don't water our lawn any longer and others are following suit. I don't mind the brown straw look at all and neither do others apparently. When I drive around this area, I am thrilled to see so many people forgoing the mid 20th century lawn to the curb and I am thrilled to see so many people choosing to not water their lawns.

If your neighbors don't talk to you, no great loss. You've got a young kid so once he's in school, you'll start meeting more people who are less judgmental. People don't like those who break from tradition. Oh horrors, mustn't dare to break with tradition. One question for you, will your neighbor's kids get to see a B52 bomber in their sterile yards?

I'm glad to know you have a fence surrounding your back yard so your cat doesn't roam. Neighbors like that would sooner or later probably take out their frustrations on your poor cat.

You probably have more supporters than you may imagine. Some people are simply afraid to be ostracized. They'll get used to it. Your yard will "grow" on them. Mine did.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Equie, you are a wise person, and I do take to heart what you say.
My cats only go outside when I am there, the toxic yard next door may kill him!
When we had our camper here when it needed fixing, one of the neighbours called the police, and guess what: just like your place, by-laws forbid that!
I told my husband we can't use the sprinklers any more because of my fruit trees; they die if they get too much water. And last year we had such a hot, long, dry summer, I rather preserve the water for the veggies! I love the dry grass in summer, it's part of the scenery of seasons! Here in CA there are no well defined seasons like we have in Belgium, so anything that can give me a "seasonal feeling" is welcome!
Thank you for the "peptalk" I needed one I guess...
If I can do something for you, put me on your list!


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Send me your cats ;)

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Equil, you don't need more cats!! I know you and your cats. hehehe

Yes but,,, hers are so nice and hairy and I bet that SLH Torbi on the right is a female and I don't have a little girl here any more. All my males would simply lover her to death. They need a new sleeping buddy to lick their heads and keep them in line. I swear my old female siamese kept them all in line and she did so up until the day she passed last year. We had her for over 20 years. There's just something about having a female around to keep the males on their toes.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

LOL. That's so funny coming from a female!! We have just a male cat but my dad swears up and down he's a female cat cause of the way he acts. He's an outside cat but is so loveable. He doesn't get in fights either. Hardly ever kills birds or mice but when he does, he drops them at the front door and is so proud. lol. He even lets female cats give birth in his house, lets opossoms live in there, racoons, etc. he just looks at them and goes back to sleep. But if we scare any of them off he jumps up and down like I did it, I did it!! LOL. We just shake out heads at him.

Where did mrs_colla go? She's fun!

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm here!! Licking my wounds... DH cut me off plants, and I didn't like it, so I bought a 5 foot jelena hamamelis, a mini flowering gardenia and a carolina jessamine. I worked hard in the garden, took the old woodchips off, scraped the soil, added manure, mushroom soil and wormcastings, put 0-something-something down, and watered my acid lovers with their favorite tea; rusty nails in water!
My neighbour is all flushed because I have a japanese honeysuckle growing in the tree in front of my house...
And I won a elephant ear plum because I am an example of backyard orchard.
So, it couldn't be better!!!
Well Equi, that little girl cat of mine is fairly new. We adopted her about a month ago. Why don't you adopt a girly feline?
I left you a comment the other day, after your kind words made me feel soooooo good!
Would you consider adopting me?

Christie, the Morningside drive terror

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Oh horrors, say it ain't so!

I'm here!! Licking my wounds... DH cut me off plants, and I didn't like it, so I bought a 5 foot jelena hamamelis, a mini flowering gardenia and a carolina jessamine.
Only three plants you picked up after you were cut off? I say we women all band together, hang him upside downs, and cyber slap him until his credit cards and check book fall out of his pockets. We can keep him occupied while you scoop up the goods from the floor then make a mad dash to the local nursery to feed your habit. There ya go! We're here for ya, just let us know if your husband needs a little rattling.

We gotta talk about that Japanese Honeysuckle.... someday.

All right, I'm pretty good with trees but what the heck is an Elephant Ear Plum? You got me, can I have the Latin name of that plant please. I'm glad you won it though, what ever it is.

I guess I'm not in the mood to go looking for a cat. I know I'd find something if I went to the shelter but spring is around the corner and all the Christmas kittens will start aging and some parents who bought them for kids will not find them cute anymore so off they go for a ride in the country. Most of the cats around here are feral but every once in a while I get one that is a former house cat. You can always tell the ones that were recently dumped because the pads of their feet are not tough at all like an indoor/outdoor or an outdoor only cat. That's the one I'll probably keep... the one that finds us so here's hoping it's hairy and female.

What thread is your comment in? I don't get around to a lot of forums preferring to stick to a few favorites. Thank you for what ever you said about me.

Adopt you... sure... but... that would mean I'd be a grandmother right now to the little human ball curled up in the stroller. I don't know if I'm old enough to be a grandma because I'm not even 50 yet. Hmmm, I do have a lot of gray hair and my kids tell me that's a prerequisite to being a grandma. Grandmas must have gray hair or they are not "real" grandmas.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

The honeysuckle is in a pot. My grandparents had the nazi's invasion, I heard stories about it; IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN with my honeysuckle!!

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Marin, CA(Zone 9b)
I can't believe I called it an elephant EAR plum again.... it's an elephant HEART plum, as you can see in the link.
I left you the comment on your feedback page.
I'm young enough to be adopted; when I am working in the mud I look about 5 years old, with mud on my nose!

And my DH, he barks, but doesn't bite. All I have to do is look happy working in my garden, put tealights in the trees at night, and he's forgotten alllll about the cutoff (for about 1 day, haha) He's my only supporter, I may not complain!

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I just read through this thread again from start to finish.

Sorry Alan,

the second one is an alligator lizard of some kind. Elgaria multicarinata, maybe

I looked at the photos on this and didn't see your post. I think you got it with that id but I suppose it could maybe be a subspecies. Sorry about not having seen your post.

Hey mrs_colla, I'll send you a mailing label and you just seal up the box, poke a few holes in it, and send it my way next day air. Just teasing with you. She is really pretty and I do like those hairy ones.

Nazi invasion, eh. Why that's a rather creative way to describe what that plant does when it escapes. You have such a way with words.

OK, Elephant Heart Plum. I have a small (very small) orchard on my property with about 25 fruiting trees and that's not one I have or ever have had. I like Plums, they can be challenging though.

The sad reality is that you probably are young enough to be adopted. Unfortunately, that means I really am old enough to be a grandma. (sigh) We always wanted a little girl. I'm sold. When can you move in? At least all the hard work is already done since you're an adult now.

Nightie night

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Okay, no grannie for you, how about being friends... My husband is older than you, I don't give a snip about age!!!!
Were you going to tell me how honeysuckle has lofty plans for the future; take over planet earth?
If it would, even in a pot, tell me now, so I can replant it somewhere else before it's too late. I can't afford any mistakes in my front, with all those neighbours!

Thanks Equi!!

This message was edited Jan 25, 2007 8:58 AM

This message was edited Jan 25, 2007 2:23 PM

OK, you asked so forgive me in advance for answering.

Japanese Honeysuckle are "safe" to grow if you deadhead them properly otherwise they most probably will end up "volunteering" in your neighbors' yards and every where else for that matter.

Here's your photo to illustrate where best to dead head them and just remember, you seem like a good sport so I am having some fun... by teasing you a little bit.

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All joking aside, this plant can set seed quite nicely from that pot where you think you have it contained. There are plants that are invasive that are rhizomous that could be contained but Japanese Honeysuckle isn't one of them.

Here's a fun and informative link on your Japanese Honeysuckle-

That being said, it is really thoughtful of you to consider your neighbors. Please do pack up and move into my neighborhood. I am constantly removing the offspring of my neighbors' plants and it gets old fast.

Yes, friends is good. You are newer here but in time you will find many people of all ages who you will become friends with. You will like DG very much.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

How I read your link; my honeysuckle "could" be such a pest.
Do you think I shoud move it? Be honoust; that's what separates REAL friends from the snakes who don't give a darn!

Good thing your "deadheading" picture said JOKE in the end, I would think about it otherwise, finding it odd, but trusting a gardener with more experience!!!

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

don't you need cross pollination before a plant can set seed? I am the only
"honeysuckl'er" around!

Japanese Honeysuckle flowers are self pollinating. They don't need another Japanese Honeysuckle around to set seed. That's the problem.

I would destroy it and purchase a plant that is more appropriate for a wildlife haven.
Please call these people on the phone and let them know you are a new wildlife gardener and ask them for help-
There are two phone numbers listed, select the number to the nursery that is closest to your home. You should ask them to send you a catalog. You don't need to purchase anything from them to call and get help. They've been good sports answering questions for many people who didn't place an order.

mrs_c, I bought a lot of plants that I didn't know were going to be a problem. It happens so don't feel bad at all and don't let it get you down. Nurseries don't exactly advertise their downsides when they advertise them for sale. What you want to do is try to use scientific names of plants when possible so that you can look them up to see if they will be a benefit to your suburban "oasis" or not. Many nurseries won't use scientific names favoring just the common name which confuses people- I know it confuses me. This is not good for people like us who want specific plants for the critters that we want to come to visit out yards. What you are doing whether you realize it or not is providing much needed habitat. If you are having trouble looking plants up that you want to buy, post the scientific name here and people will help you and soon you will be able to do it on your own because you will know what you want out of a plant.

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

Neat link, I briefly checked it out! Destroy it huh.... I need to make peace with myself for having made such a dum choice... It breakes my heart to destroy plants... But what needs to be done needs to be done!
One last question; any place I could put it safely? In this pot on the area by the garage, where we have pavement, so it can't reseed?

Yes, you could send it to Japan. They are not a problem plant over there in their native range. Here in the US, they are a big cause for concern. I have removed literally hundreds of them from my property with hundreds still left to remove. I can not leave them where they are to break down and return to the earth because they are allelopathic. An allelopathic plant produces chemicals that enter the soil and inhibit the growth of other plants. That's a big problem for native plants that support native critters and they can't compete with the chemicals created by allelopathic plants.

There really is no "safe" place for a highly invasive species. That's sort of why they are classified as invasive. Not much you can do but bag it up and toss it. By me, I tossed poor plant choices on a burn pile but you can't do that by you.

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