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This week I would like to introduce you to some of the exciting wildlife that I come across when taking my faithful dog RISKKO hiking through the mountains and forests of the Austro/German alpine paradise (Voralpenland). But before jumping into detailed descriptions of the dangerous and wonderful animals we come across in the mountains let me mention a couple of other items I added to my website this week.
Last week I introduced a new area in the website where I intend to provide summaries of articles I have come across in the alpine press. I intend to specifically cover subjects which either get little attention in the English language media or items which I consider worthy of a higher profile. Since my day job with the RiskBusters team involves me in risk management I will sometimes include subjects dealing with an important personal risk or a safety theme. So far I have included the following articles (just click on them for the relevant links):
Now for the part of this weeks blog you have all been waiting for: the encounters RISKKO and I have had with wild animals in the mountains.
Let us start of with Sally-Manda the Salamander. She is really cute and often comes to greet us as we trek up the mountain path at the side of the Osterbach (Mountain stream) above Bad Feilnbach with its many waterfalls. In particular she really likes RISKKO and as soon as she sees him she runs over and gives him a big hug (see the Photo below). Usually she tries to crawl onto his shoulder because this way she can see things from a very different perspective compared with her normal existence living in damp and dark caves and holes around the river.
You may wonder why I describe Sally-Manda as dangerous. Well she can be a bit slimy and her slime is poisonous if you eat it (so we don’t). Her bright yellow spots serve as a reminder to any hungry birds and other animals looking for a tasty snack. Usually bright colours in nature mean poison as I learned walking through the mountains in Asia (remind me to explain why Taiwan has the largest population of poisonous, but very pretty, snakes). Eating Salamanders can make you very sick. Clearly Sally-Manda has no fear of being eaten when RISKKO is around, he protects her and wouldn’t for one moment dream of licking her slime.
Now to our other dynamic animal friend. He gets really annoyed when people tell him to get a move on. He usually stops for a bit of a rest in the middle of the mountain path. Well who could blame him – poor old You-Sayin Bolt the Snail has to carry his house everywhere on his back. The first time he met RISKKO he explained how he got his name. Basically people often get impatient with his slow movement and then say to him “come-on now lets see you bolt!” As a result he would reply “Who you sayin bolt to – can’t you see I have got a house on my back?”. This is how he came to be known as ‘You-Sayin Bolt?’ (not to be confused with Usain Bolt who generally moves a bit faster but doesn’t have to carry his house on his back!).
If you are interested in some of the other interesting and exciting animals we meet when going up the Black Mountain please take a look at the blog article where I describe our weekend trips into the dangerous mountain forests. The link is here.