Name: Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Mole Salamanders (Ambystomatidae)
What they look like
- 4-9 cm.
- Dark colored with a tan/yellowish/olive stripe along backside of their body.
- Side of their body can have small specks of white or light blue and grooves along length of the body.
- Underside is dark with small white flecks.
- They have one long toe (the fourth toe) on their back feet, giving them their name.
Where they live
- View a map of where they live.
- Found throughout Washington, on both sides of the Cascades as well as within the mountainous regions of the Cascades
- Prefer moist vegetation near water sources in forests, prairies or mountain meadows; they have even been found in human-disturbed and urban areas.
- Mostly live underground in rodent burrows.
- Breeding season is extremely variable and can range from January to July.
- Can be found in groups under rotting logs and rocks near edges of water sources during this time (especially during April and May).
- Eggs are laid near the shore of ponds and lakes and slow moving streams.
- Sometimes eggs are laid individually and sometimes in bunches attached to underwater plants or substrate.
Cool Biology Facts
- In lower elevations, the long-toed salamander will sometimes not hibernate at all. However in colder areas, they will hibernate in groups of up to 14.
- Survive off the proteins stored in their tail while hibernating.
- When attacked or disturbed, will wave tail while secreting an adhesive white poisonous liquid to deter predators. In extreme cases it will drop its tail as a distraction and run for it. The tail is able to fully regrow (autotomy)!
- The biggest threat is habitat destruction and introduced fish species that attack and eat their eggs and larvae. View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.