Monday, February 17, 2014

Day XV: Salamander

I like to think I learn something new and worthwhile every day. Whether it's a holy grail of factual fun or  a little ditty that makes me laugh, I am always game for a new piece of information that is sure to come in handy on a gameshow someday. There are times, however, when you learn things that you can't unknow. When you read a phrase or sentence that you will never, ever forgive yourself for reading.

Eventually, you learn there are a lot of really gross ways to string words in the English language. And I'd like to share a particularly gross sentence with you here.

It started with a little research. Right now, I am in the middle of finishing up a children's book series on wacky animals. I've covered falcons and octopi and everything between. Today's to-do list consisted of researching the final animal on my list: the salamander.

*Jaws music plays*
Did you know there are over 650 different species of salamander, you guys? 

They're mostly known because they can regenerate their limbs and tail in a process called autotomy. But, believe me, there are some other things about salamanders that help them stand out in the animal kingdom. For instance: salamanders have permeable skin. It's thin and slimy and helps them escape predators and breathe in the water. Salamanders also have gills. Some will lose them as they mature, others retain them for the entirety of their adult lives.

Some can weigh up to 140 pounds! Some are as short 1-inch long. 

Some have lengthy tongues. Others have sharp, pointy teeth.

A note on teeth vs. tongues: some salamanders don't have spring-loaded crazy tongues to help them catch their meals. These are the salamanders with teeth. They bit their prey, submerge them in water, and slosh them around in their mouths while their terrifying little teeth rip everything to shreds. Basically, toothed-salamanders are miniature blenders.


Still, some use toxic spray to blind or frighten or even paralyze predators and prey. They can survive in the stomachs of snakes and birds for 30 minutes while they poison their offender from the inside out. 

"Oh you thought you were gonna eat me and call it a day? PSYCHE! I'm gonna rot your throat and belly and then crawl out of you like a newborn, bitch!"

These amphibians are not to be trifled with.

But. You've followed along because I promised you a gross sentence. 

While researching today, I came across a line in an article that read, "The genital cavity of female salamanders is called a vent."


No thanks, salamander. No thanks.

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