Name: Ensatina Salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Lungless Salamanders (Plethodontidae)
What they look like
- They have smooth brown or black skin on their backs and yellow or white on their underside with tiny flecks of black.
- There is a lot of variety in coloration, but almost all have orange or yellow coloring on the tops of their legs.
- Have a swollen tail that is confined at its base.
Where they live
- View a map of where they live.
- In Washington State they are found west of the Cascade Mountains to the coast.
- Prefer forested areas, but can be found in clearings and grasslands.
- Stay under rotting logs, but can wander out on wet nights and during breeding season.
- They do not need a permanent water source.
- Breeding season is spring and fall, although at higher elevations breeding can happen in the summer.
- Eggs are laid under rotting logs and protected by the female.
- When eggs hatch, small mini-salamanders emerge, skipping the normal aquatic larvae stage.
Cool Biology Facts
- The males of this species have a swollen upper lip and a longer, skinnier tale than the females.
- If the weather gets too hot or too cold, they will retreat into underground burrows.
- When threatened, will ooze a whitish toxic secretion from their tail and often slash their tails at whatever threatened them.
- Main issues are habitat destruction and logging which can change the moisture levels in their habitat. View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.