Matt Ellerbeck, Salamander Advocate & Conservationist

Matt Ellerbeck–salamander advocate and conservationist, aka The Salamander Man–discusses his longstanding interest in amphibians and reptiles, which began in his formative years, and saw him previously serve as an advocate of scorpions, snakes and turtles. mmacFurther, he notes, this doesn’t so much indicate a pattern of serial animal advocacy so much as reflect whatever reptile or amphibian he felt most needed educational support and boosted awareness, explaining that when he realized there were educators and others presenting comparable programs and lectures on, for instance, snakes and turtles, but no one seemed to be addressing salamanders, he felt he had found his niche. He describes what, exactly, a salamander is, how many species there are are, where larger concentrations tend to be found worldwide–and the threats to their existence, noting some species have gone extinct and several other are in jeopardy of doing the same. He elaborates on some of the chief salamander threats, including habitat destruction and climate change. He also outlines some steps folks can take to help minimize the plight of salamanders, which he feels can happen more effectively at this point on a personal rather than legislative level. (,

ALSO: We spoke briefly with Rick Chaboudy, Executive Director of the Suncoast Animal League, about their then-forthcoming huge adoption event in Dunedin, Dogtoberest, featuring a slew of other activities, famously including the Running Of The Wieners. (,

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COMEDY CORNER: Marc Maron’s “Masturbating Among The Animals” (

MUSIC: Jethro Tull’s “Salamander,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Rickie Lee Jones’ version of “Bye Bye Blackbird”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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