but found this instead
This is a Tiger Salamander (not my picture - the real/dead McCoy was a little too unsightly). I had no clue that things like this live in arid areas. I was in shock. It turns out that they will take over rodent burrows....ah hah, Mr. Gopher is gone! They are nocturnal and can grow to just under 14 inches. (My specimen was about six inches in length). OMG - we have the ingredients for a Godzilla remake. Well, suffice it to say that you won't find me outside at night without my shoes on. I would hate to step on one of these guys....shudder!