Mikayla DeSantis - South River Elementary School
Middlesex County Winner
Hello, I'm Grace, the blue spotted salamander, also known as the BSS. For school all the endangered animals have to explain why they are endangered for an essay. I'm writing a rough draft, I hope you like it.
The BSS is a very unique animal. I’m 3-5 inches long. Scientists call me Abystoma laterale. I have light yet dark spots all over my body. The color that surrounds my spots is dark bluish-blackish. I'm very slender. I have four toes on my front feet and five on my back.
I live in a coniferous forest in NJ. All of my cousins live in deciduous forests in the US, New England and Iowa. Some are BSS, others are Jefferson salamanders (JS). The JS looks like the BSS very much. I usually hang out with my friends and cousins under rotting wood, snacking on spiders, centipedes, slugs, and earthworms.
A way for me to survive is to squirt out a foul tasting substance from the back of my tail. This technique doesn't work on humans. Humans think it's funny to step on me, I don't! I almost got stepped on 23 times. Another reason that I'm endangered is when I look for food I have to go outside the forest. When I went looking for the slimy slug I crossed racecar highway. I almost got run over by 73 vehicles. It was really dangerous. I have to admit though that that slug was so slimy and delicious. One time when my mother and all hers friends went to lay their eggs (I got my brothers and sisters) at the vernal pool, she almost got ran over by a lot of vehicles. Out of 984 of her friends, only 235 survive.
Now that you learned all about me can you help me? Please close the roads when all the BSS have our annual egg laying festival at the vernal pools. Also you can keep our home safe and clean. It would mean the world to me if you did. Hurry fast before I come extinct!
South River Elementary School
South River, NJ
Teacher: Mrs. Matthews