Death on a Plate

Cats are famous for dragging things into a house.

Coquina recently channeled her inner cat.

She’d been out for a walk. Once inside and deleashed, she came tearing into the living room with what looked like a leaf in her mouth. She leapt up on to the sofa. But: she didn’t act like what what she had was a leaf. She started to nuzzle and snuffle at her find. The behavior made her humans curious. They got up and removed what-was-not-a-leaf from their mutt’s muzzle.

Hmmm. Very curious. A dead thing. What kind of dead thing?

A spotted salamander!

Here’s an image of a live one. What an animal!

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 9.19.04 AM

For those who like to know such things, this is Ambystoma maculatum.  (Thanks to “NH Mountain Hiking” for this photo, taken in Pepperell, MA.)

These creatures are somewhat rare, which makes this story a tad tragic. Perhaps the salamander was lured out by recent thaw and frozen when the cold returned? Run over by a car in the road? We don’t know the answer, but Coquina’s sharp nose located the corpse, and she brought her treasure home. We couldn’t let her keep and chew her find, as spotted salamanders have toxic secretions that can cause dogs serious distress.

A memorial photograph was made. The body was laid out on the old round oak table. Its bier was an antique saucer.

Its spots, once yellow on a black body, were ivory ghosts on an ebony ground.


Earthly browns and sky blues cradle a salamander’s mortal remains. 

Afterwards, we cast the corpse outside, to decay and to return to nature.

Thank you Coquina, for bringing us your prize.



3 responses to “Death on a Plate

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