I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a cryptid. Which is appropriate, because the thing about cryptids is nobody knows if there are any.
What cryptids are, or aren’t, are critters that have been claimed to exist but whose existence has not been proven, such as your Loch Ness Monsters, your Sasquatchii. Your winos.
I maintain winos should be on the list along with everything else quantum physicists have come up with. Quantum physicists should be celebrated far and wide for being super smart and also way, way around the bend. They are always coming up with things like “We haven’t found one yet, but we’re pretty sure there are squarks,” and this is why I love them. I mean, I’m smart, but I get lost in a hurry drilling into particle physics, and the notion I could just make up a particle to explain the spooky parts cheers me up no end. It’s like religion, only more fun.
So anyway they haven’t found a wino yet, even though they think there are three of them, all hypothetical fermionic supersymmetric partners of the W bosons of the SU(2) gauge fields. As the families confidently say in Family Feud, “It’s up there, Steve!”
|Your correspondent as a young herper
But most people would not put these worthy particles in the cryptid category. Wikipedia lists some 64 known (that is to say, unknown) cryptids, from the Mongolian Death Worm to the Bunyip, and right there in the list is the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander. I’ll be go to hell. I have been a salamanderphile for over sixty years and I never heard of the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander.
Evidently people have reported seeing gigantic salamanders in Northern California for a hundred years. One source says they are comparable in size to a hellbender, but at up to ten feet long, no the hell they are not. There are giant salamanders in the world but they generally top out at under six feet. In spite of my love of salamanders, I’m not that pumped up about the really big ones. I love salamanders for their unrivaled beauty, and their weeness is part of that. Even among the wee ones, some are cuter than others. The giant ones are not adorable. They’re entirely aquatic and blob around on the bottom of streams and have giant folds in their skin, the better to absorb oxygen. I should relate to this animal especially since the day I twisted around to get a look at my butt and discovered I had developed back-fat folds to the degree they might be flossable, but this isn’t my favorite thing about myself. The Japanese giant salamander is also “said to be nocturnal,” which, for some reason, I find hilarious. (“Maybe it moves at night,” they said. “We’ll never know,” they said.)
|A true giant salamander
Tycoon Tom Slick was so taken with the stories about the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander that he took his Thunderbolt Grease-Slapper and mounted several expeditions to find the blobsters in the ’60s, but had no luck. Although there has been a number of credible sightings reported of enormous salamanders in the region, none has been landed or definitively recorded. Now this I like. I like to think that a huge unverified salamander can exist right under our prying noses. It might not be as dashing as a woodland Plethodon, but I fervently want it to exist.
Also? The giant salamanders of the world are all in the family Cryptobranchidae. I think it’s a sign.
Is that your very own topiary salamander? I mean! COOL BEANS!! Don't let the squash plants o'ertake 'em!
Why yes it is!
Cryptobranchids are knowing from the Eastern sorta Midwestern states and Japan and China. They are known from fossils from Europe. So it’s not that much of a stretch that there may be a cryptic species in the Pacific Northwest. All of the extant and extinct species are known from the northern hemisphere, so they probably evolved at a time when the continents of the northern hemisphere were still connected, but separated from the southern hemisphere. Or they originated in the north and there were no fast moving clear rivers flowing into the southern continents. Whatever, very cool beans!
Thanks! Had you heard of Mr. Trinity Alps Salamander before?
At least bunyips lived in waterholes and didn't roam the countryside. I was pretty sure as a child I wasn't going near no waterhole so I felt pretty safe.
What is a bunyip, I asked myself? I pictured something cute from its name, perhaps a combination of a bunny and a bichon frise. Then I consulted my dictionary. Its name is completely deceiving.
^^ THIS is where I got all my knowledge of bunyips, as a youngster! I grew up between the Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia, PA *broadcast TV* areas – hence my familiarity with (Australian) bunyips!! ��
OMG! I've lived in Wilmington, DE all my life! Do you remember Gene London? I loved the way he would tell stories from Greek mythology, and illustrate them as he was telling them. He was awesome!
I can't believe you missed Bertie The Bunyip! I even remember some of the theme song.
Lots of old shows I remember… Gene London, Happy the Clown, Captain Kangaroo, Sally Star… but, yeah, the bunyip somehow got past me.
What the hell are you all talking about?
Perhaps Nessie is a giant salamander. Since no one has seen the whole of Nessie at any one time, who's to say different?
Nessie fans are going pleiosaur, though, which might be even cooler.
Hilarious as always!!
And your topiary salamnder rules!
I wish I could get my frog and turtle in such good shape.
You certainly know your salamanders! And your topiary looks great! I haven't had much contact with reptiles, except for our garden snakes. Whenever one is sunning itself on the driveway, Paul will come in and ask me to move it. I'll pick it up, kiss it's little head, and move it to a safer place. (BTW — snakes have the softest skin. I'm a bit envious, but it is probably all that shedding they do.)
Regular exfoliation, you betcha! I can think of no reptiles I run across here in town. Although there are no doubt garter snakes and the like. Salamanders are not reptiles. They're the cooler cousins!
This salamander is spectacular. Don't tell anyone about it because they will try to take it from you.
Mine, or the Trinity Alps one? Mine, people don't even notice when they're standing right next to it. It's the oddest thing. Right there next to the street…
I love your salamander tale! (and tail)
Truth be told, it IS behind the wall! Beautiful, though, both wall AND topiary salamander
Murr, after reading the latest UN report on global warming, I am totally depressed. I don't actually care about humanity, as we caused all the problems, and there are FAR too may of us. We should die out. We are toxic. But I worry about the other creatures — the collateral damage from what we did. I adore birds, and want them SO much to survive. It gives me SOME hope for other species that after the giant cataclysm of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, life managed to evolve again. In fact, birds evolved FROM them, so YAY! I hope the life that evolves after we've heated up the planet can expand exponentially, as life did after the dinosaurs.
Isn't your topiary salamander about 25 years old at this point? Isn't that a record life-span for any variety of salamander? I mean, shouldn't we be calling the quantum physicists about this phenomena and then screaming 'April Fools'?
Love the pic of the young Murr – exactly as I remember you from 7th-grade French class, except in class, you never stood in a creek bed.
If you are searching for a wino look no further.
I know a few of them myself! I might even be one!
Please be careful in the next few days of heat.
I was always fascinated with salamanders and the like when I was a kid. I remember bringing one home from a Girl Scout campout. I think my mother made me release it in our creek after a day or so.
We are currently at our semi off-grid cabin in the woods in the Adirondacks. This is about the time I start seeing Red Efts on our walks. Haven't seen one yet this year but I'm sure I will. So interesting that Newts have this other phase where they live on land and are red!