Red salamanders get their name from their bright red sides and back. They are bright red when they are young, but their color fades as they get older. They usually have black spots down their back and yellowish eyes. Their skin is smooth and doesn't have scales. They have four toes on their front limbs and five toes on their back limbs. A typical red salamander will grow to between 4 and 7 inches long.
What do red salamanders eat?
Red salamanders are nocturnal animals which hunt at night. They are carnivores, meaning they eat other animals. They like to eat earthworms, insects, and spiders. Sometimes they will even eat small salamanders.
Where do they live?
The red salamander is found in the eastern area of the United States. They live in a wide variety of moist habitats including meadows, mountains, and forests. Adult red salamanders will often live in burrows near streams and under rocks or logs. They prefer to live on land during the summer and can often be found a fair distance from water.
They Don't Have Lungs
Adult red salamanders don't have lungs. They breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouths. There are other salamanders that don't have lungs. They all live in the Americas.
Like all amphibians, red salamanders hatch from eggs. When they first hatch they live in a larvae form (like a tadpole) for around 2 years. During this time, they live in the water and breathe through gills like fish. Then they undergo metamorphosis, growing legs and becoming adults. Once adults they will venture onto land.
Fun Facts about the Red Salamander
They look similar to the very poisonous red newt. This causes some predators to avoid them.
The main predators of the red salamander include raccoons, skunks, and birds.
The red salamander is considered an endangered species in the state of Indiana.
They like streams with relatively pure water. This makes them sensitive to water pollution and also good indicators of the overall health of a stream or small river.
They lay their eggs in the late fall or early winter. They typically lay around 70 eggs.
The overall conservation status of the red salamander is "least concern". This means it is currently considered safe.
It is very similar in appearance to the mud salamander.
Like all amphibians, they are cold-blooded, which means they have to regulate their body temperature using their outside surroundings.
There are four subspecies of red salamander including the Southern, Northern, Black-chinned, and Blue Ridge red salamanders.