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Hemidactylium scutatum

Common Name: Four-toed Salamander
Hemidactylium scutatum
Hemidactylium scutatum

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Plethodontidae
Genus: Hemidactylium
Species: Hemidactylium scutatum

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Four-toed salamanders are a reddish-brown color with a white underbelly covered in black spots. They have 4 toes on each foot (most salamanders have 5 on hind) and the tail is brighter than the rest of its body. This species rarely grows larger than 4 inches in length.

Habitat & Range

Four-toed salamanders live in hardwoods, streams, and mossy areas that are native to eastern North America.


Four-toed salamanders overwinter inside rotting logs or old burrows to escape freezing temperatures. They will group in large numbers and may even be found huddled with other amphibian.

Four-toed salamander can purposely shed its tail as a form of self-defense. After detaching, the tail can still vigorously wiggle around, distracting the predator, and allowing the salamander to escape.

Life Cycle

Four-toed salamander mate in terrestrial areas during autumn. By early spring, females will lay eggs in banks of small ponds. After the eggs hatch, larvae make their way to the water and become aquatic during their larval period. Compared to other salamander, this period is relatively short (ranging from 3-6 weeks) and they do not remain aquatic for very long.

Featured image by James Dake.


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