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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Newt

I'm not at my best when I'm tired, which means I wasn't thinking as quickly as I should have been when I found the newt.

I noticed that Sassy was watching something intently.  Just about that time, Jethro (aka Mighty Hunter) also noticed.  Sassy doesn't usually spend a lot of time hunting anything, being more prone to let mice run across her toes than to swipe at them.  However, there's spring in the air, and it's been raining heavy off and on today, so it's within reason that she might be responding to something. Even Jethro noticed, and padded over to investigate.  Now there were two of them watching, Sassy sitting and staring intently; Jethro crouching, gazing in the same direction.

I watched them for a few moments, until Sassy began stalking and then sniffing, getting that look that cats get when they're not sure what they're seeing.  Thinking perhaps it was a small insect of some kind, my curiosity was aroused enough to take investigate.  No insect this!  Against a small wooden box that I'd left on the floor was a newt, green with yellow spots, a good 8 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail.  Fascinating!  It must have come in through the sunroom door, left slightly open for the cats since the day was mild.  Not that they'd used it (what self-respecting cat volunteers to go out in the rain), but that newt surely had, for here he (if it was a he) lay.  After examining him for a short while, I went into the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel.  Just in time, too, for Jethro took the opportunity to put out a tentative paw and see if the creature would move.  I shooshed him away, scooped the newt up, walked to the front door, and unceremoniously dumped him onto the ground, close to some rocks where he could hide.  Only after I'd gone back into the house did I think of taking a picture.

I shone a flashlight onto the place I'd left him.  Good!  He was still there!  I grabbed my camera, flipped the outside light on--and discovered the batteries were dead.  I quickly reloaded the batteries, and found that I hadn't inserted a memory card.  Off I went to find it.  By the time I got back, I realized I'd left the light on, and my quarry had fled.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to just lock the cats up so I could spend more time enjoying that newt.  It's the first one I've ever seen of that size, and right in my living room at that.  As I said, though, I'm not at my best when I'm tired. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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