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Finding Slamanders

The best way to see salamanders in the wild is to take a flashlight and rubber boots and visit a pond some rainy spring night.

Most salamanders can be kept for a short time for study. Put newts in an aquarium, and other species in a terrarium of moss and rotting wood. Newts need a supply of aquatic insects; it is usually OK to put in a handful of leaf litter from the bottom of a pond. Red-backs eat small ants and other salamanders will eat worms, slugs, beetles, ants and other small invertebrates. Egg masses should not be collected unless there are many of them in the pond and you are able to return the larvae to the same site. Egg masses placed in pond water will usually hatch in a few days indoors. The larvae will eat small pond insects or water fleas, not pond algae like frog tadpoles eat. Return animals to the place where you found them.

Museum staff also monitor and find salamanders by watching for them as they cross highways while migrating from woods to pond or pond to woods. Many animals are killed by cars, but some road-building also creates new breeding sites in roadside ponds and ditches. With a little practice, you can learn to identify species you see in car headlights while driving. Of course, the driver must concentrate on driving and traffic while the spotter looks for amphibians.

Salamander Species

Yellow-spotted Salamander

Blue-spotted Salamander

Eastern Red-backed Salamander

Four-toed Salamander

Red-spotted Newt

Salamander Information

Finding Salamanders