Questions on: Salamanders

Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service

Q: I found a salamander in my basement. When I was in high school a teacher poured salt on a salamander and said that it would run to the area where it came in or an area that was wet. I am thinking about doing this if I find another one. (E-mail reference)

A: Interesting. I have never heard of that before. Let me know if it works. Thanks!

Q. How does one rid the basement of salamanders? We have so many. My husband caught seven in one day. We cannot find how they get into the basement. They are not easy to catch, they run so fast. Some are quite defiant.

My husband puts them in the garden, which is a little distance from the house. He says they eat insects.

My question to that is, do they come back? This is the first time that we had this problem. I hope they can't climb stairs. (Binford, N.D.)

A. It must be a good year for salamanders. Yours is the second letter this year, and I never had any inquiries about them before.

Your husband is right. They eat insects and the garden is a good place for them. They also like cool, damp places such as basements, and apparently word has gone out that your basement is available as a good place to hang out for salamanders. You should be flattered. Think how bug-free your basement will be!

The only thing I can suggest is to really try and find where they are coming in. Caulk around the basement foundation, light a candle and see if it picks up a breeze from an   unseen opening and plug it, and keep on catching them.

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