Burke Museum Home

Amphibians of Washington

Olympic Torrent Salamander
(Rhyacotriton olympicus)


What they look like

  • Up to 10cm.
  • Medium to dark brown; may have a few small light spots on sides and small dark spots on tail
  • Underside is yellow and usually has dark spots
  • Short tails, stubby limbs, fairly short snouts and large eyes
  • Males have large square lobes behind their cloaca.

Where they live

  • Are only found in the Olympic mountains of Washington State.
  • Prefer edges of clear, cold mountain streams in old growth forests.
  • Can be found in spray zones of waterfalls and will come onto land on really wet nights.


  • Not much is known about the breeding of the Olympic Torrent Salamander, it is assumed to have similar breeding habits of the Columbia Torrent Salamander and Cascade Torrent Salamander.

Cool Biology Facts

  • Have reduced lungs and breathe mostly though their skin
  • Can live up to ten years!  It takes about 5-6 years before they reach sexual maturity.
  • When disturbed will roll over and show yellow undersides in an attempt to startle attacker.


Distribution Map


Listing is due to the fact that they are only found in one small area in the Pacific Northwest and any loss of habitat can be extremely detrimental to the species.
Habitat loss and disturbance from logging is main threat.