BURR WILLIAMS: More than 40 species of animals co-exist near rain-filled salt lake

Midland Reporter-Telegram - During a recent Llano Estacado Master Naturalist field trip to a salina, a tiger salamander was found mostly hidden in the soft powdery soil of a pocket gopher mound. Pocket gophers create extensive tunnel systems. Researchers at Texas Tech University have discovered more than 40 species of animals that take advantage of the underground complex provided by pocket gophers. Most merely use the tunnels to hide away from dryness, light or heat. Besides salamanders, Tech researchers found snakes, lizards, spiders, beetles, crickets and other invertebrates. The pocket gopher does not bother them, and only the larger snakes -- like bullsnakes and kingsnakes -- would bother the pocket gophers.

"Everything is connected."

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During a recent Llano Estacado Master Naturalist field trip to a salina, a tiger salamander was found mostly hidden in the soft powdery soil of a pocket gopher mound. Pocket gophers create extensive tunnel systems. Researchers at Texas Tech University have discovered more than 40 species of animals that take advantage of the underground complex provided by pocket gophers. Most merely use the tunnels to hide away from dryness, light or heat. Besides salamanders, Tech researchers found snakes, lizards, spiders, beetles, crickets and other invertebrates. The pocket gopher does not bother them, and only the larger snakes -- like bullsnakes and kingsnakes -- would bother the pocket gophers.

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