Long-Toed Salamander

April 27th, 2016 in Around the Woodstove

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Look what we found in the snow at mid mountain! For those of us who have very little knowledge of amphibians this was so surprising. This  is a mole salamander in the family Ambystomatidae. This species, typically 4.1–8.9 cm (1.6 to 3.5 in) long when mature, is characterized by its mottled black, brown, and yellow pigmentation, and its long outer fourth toe on the hind limbs, hence the name. The distribution of the long-toed salamander is primarily in the Pacific Northwest, with an altitudinal range of up to 2,800 m (9,200 ft). This is a huge variation! We found it at about 3400 feet of elevation. But this little amphian is found all over. It lives in a variety of habitats, including temperate rainforests, coniferous forests, montane riparean  zones, sagebrush plains, red fir forests, semiarid sagebrush, cheatgrass plains, and alpine meadows along the rocky shores of mountain lakes. It lives in slow-moving streams, ponds, and lakes during its aquatic  breeding phase.

Whenever you look deeply into animal life you find out such interesting things! The long-toed salamander hibernates during the cold winter months, surviving on energy reserves stored in the skin and tail.

So keep you eyes open, there are little surprises everywhere!

Christine