‹‹ Colorado Postcards


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West of Salida, the trail to Waterdog Lakes is steep. But dog-loving hikers should note: your canine companion is NOT what the lakes are named for. Because a waterdog is a salamander.

Found in every county of Colorado, the Tiger Salamander is nearly a foot long at lower elevations. Smooth and moist, its grayish-brown skin with olive-yellow blotches is permeable. Another superpower: it can regrow missing limbs. Once the ice is gone from a spot like Upper Waterdog Lake, a Tiger Salamander mates and lays her eggs in the frigid water. Weeks later, larvae hatch with fins and gills. Over months, they morph into adults with legs and lungs. Or not. Some grow to breed like adults, but keep their aquatic lifestyle and a frill of gills – like floppy ears on either side of the wide and grinning fishface of this “Waterdog,” official state amphibian of Colorado.

Colorado Postcards

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.