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49 Colorful Salamanders in California

There are 49 types of Salamanders in California thanks to it diverse regions, filled with many animals and habitats. Amphibians like frogs and salamanders are found all over the state’s moist woodlands and freshwater habitats.

Here you can find 49 salamander species that live in California. Size, coloring, markings, and where they live are what can be used to identify a salamander. Some species may look very similar to each other, and there are many native species to look out for in California.

Let’s take a look at the salamanders in California, and the important things that you should know about these amphibians.

Salamanders in California

1. California Tiger Salamander

Two California Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) in a net
Two California Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) in a net – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma californiense
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 7 to 8 inches (17.78 to 20.32)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The California tiger salamander is a species that is found in the Sierra, Central Valley, Bay, and Central Coast regions of the state. Today they are primarily found in the northern part of their range. Oak woodlands, grasslands, and vernal pools are the habitats they live in. An endangered species, this salamander is not common, mainly due to the limited habitats they are able to survive in.

California tiger salamanders are a larger species, with a stock body, and a very round snout. They have a dark black coloring, with yellow blotches on their sides, tail, and back. Their bellies are pale yellow or white, and their large bulbous eyes protrude from their head.

When the rain comes this species comes out underground in the fall and winter. They are not active in times of extreme weather, but breed in moist periods. Their eggs hatch in the spring, or summer. Carnivorous like a tiger this salamander may eat crustaceans, mosquitoes, larvae, insects, and other amphibians.

2. Western Tiger Salamander

Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium mavortium) being held in hand for picture
Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium mavortium) being held in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma mavortium
  • Other Names: Yellow-Barred Tiger Salamander
  • Adult Size: 6 to 9 inches (15.24 to 22.86 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $80

The western tiger salamander is a species found in California and other areas in the western regions of North America. This species is terrestrial and lives in forests and lowland woodland habitats. Western tiger salamanders also inhabit live streams, meadows, streams, and semidesert areas. The western tiger salamander is not a native species and is an invasive species that was introduced.

A large species this salamander has a broad body, and a larger head. They have grey, dark brown, or black coloring. Bars and spots cover their body, which is yellowish, and look similar to tiger stripes. Western tiger salamanders have a light or dark belly, and when first born they are aquatic.

Western tiger salamanders are nocturnal and come out at night to breed. Cannibalism is a common trait for this species, and those with more teeth and a wider head are more likely to eat others. Western tiger salamanders also feed on small invertebrates like insects and minnows. Due to their size, this species is often kept as a pet but is also used for bait.

3. Northwestern Salamander

Close up of a Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile)
Close up of a Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma gracile
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 8.7 inches (13.9 to 22.0 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The northwestern salamander is one of the varieties of salamanders that live in the state, and their ranges cover a small area on the northwestern coast. This salamander lives in moist habitats like grasslands, woodlands, and forests. This species is also found in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Northwestern salamanders are a tan dark brown, gray, or black species. Some may have a plain appearance, but yellow or cream flecks sometimes appear on them. The northwestern salamander is a large species, and while terrestrial when first born they are aquatic.

In their overall range, the northwestern salamander has a conservation status of least concern. The breeding seasons for them occur from June until August in California. They lay between 30 to 270 eggs, placing them in grasses, and near aquatic plants.

Northwestern salamanders emit poisons from their parotoid gland, using this to defend themselves from predators. Most of this species’ life is spent underground in burrows.

4. Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander

Black with orange splotches Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum)
Black with orange splotches Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum) – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum
  • Other Names:
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Santa Cruz long-toed salamander lives in California found within southern Santa Cruz County and the edge of Monterey County. This salamander lives in wetlands, and upland habitats. This species is endangered, and uncommon. The destruction of the habitats they live in is the main reason for their population decline.

A medium-sized slender salamander, this species has gray, black, or dark brown coloring. They have bright yellow, or orange stripes, spots, or bar markings. Their sides have white spots, and their belly is a grayish-black color. This salamander has a flat tail which is helpful for swimming.

Like other similar species, adults live underground, hiding in burrows built by squirrels, moles, or other animals. Breeding occurs in the water, and they can also sometimes be seen under rocks or logs in moist woodlands. Santa Cruz long-toed salamanders feed on aquatic, and terrestrial invertebrates, stalking prey until close enough to pursue.

5. Southern Long-toed Salamander

Black with yellow stripe Southern Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum) in the woods
Black with yellow stripe Southern Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum) in the woods – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.6 to 3.5 inches (4.1 to 8.9 cm)
  • Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Southern long-toed salamanders are a subspecies found in the northeast mountainous, and grassland regions. Southern long-toed salamanders live near freshwater sources like ponds, or lakes in mountains. In its range this salamander is common, and they have stable populations.

The southern long-toed salamander is medium in size, and they have large eyes that protrude from its head. Their color is black, or gray. A yellow dorsal stripe and yellow blotches appear on their back, and their sides have white specks. This species is not seen often when fully grown unless in the breeding season.

Southern long-toed salamanders breed in ponds or other aquatic water sources. The spring and summer are when this salamander is seen most. They feed on worms, mollusks, insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Young larvae eat similar prey, and as they grow they feed on larger animals.

6. California Giant Salamander

California Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus) being held in hands over a shallow stream
California Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus) being held in hands over a shallow stream – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Dicamptodon ensatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 6.7 to 13 inches (17 to 33.0 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

California giant salamanders are native to the northern California region. They live in damp coast forests and are found at elevations up to 6,500 feet high. California giant salamanders are aquatic when born, but when fully mature they are terrestrial. This species is near-threatened, with threats to them including infrastructure, and prolonged drought.

This salamander is one of the largest in the state and grows up to 13 inches. California giant salamanders have dark brown, tan, or dull red color. They are covered in a mottled pattern on their legs, back, and tail, which has a dark brown, or purplish color. California giant salamanders have smooth skin, with a robust body, and cream underside.

Mating for this species occurs in the fall, and it takes 6 years for this species to become sexually mature. Under rocks or logs near streams is when this species is found sometimes. They are nocturnal, and at night they feed on slugs, snails, and other animals that can fit in their mouth.

7. Coastal Giant Salamander

Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) in a creek underwater
Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) in a creek underwater – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Dicamptodon tenebrosus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 6 to 13 inches (15.24 to 33 cm)
  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Coastal giant salamanders live in the northwestern coastal region of California. They live in wet forest habitats with ponds, lakes, rivers, or other similar cold freshwaters. They are found near coastal mountains, and sometimes hidden under rocks, or other debris near the banks of the water.

Coastal giant salamanders are the largest salamanders in North America and get close to 14 inches in total length. They have large heads, and limbs, and are very robust when compared with other salamanders in the wild. They have dark brown, or black coloring, and are covered in a dark mottled pattern. Their appearance is smooth, and their underside is light gray, or white.

Coastal giant salamanders are nocturnal and remain underground until it rains heavily. They are capable of biting, which can be very painful, and also emit a toxin from their body. Coastal giant salamanders are uncommon and have a stable population.

8. Scott Bar Salamander

Scott Bar Salamander (Plethodon asupak) on a large rock
Scott Bar Salamander (Plethodon asupak) on a large rock – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon asupak
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 6 inches (13.97 to 15.24 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Scotts bar salamander is native to California and is only found in a very small area in the Siskiyou Mountains, in the extreme of northern Siskiyou county. Fir forests and mixed evergreen woodlands are the types of places this salamander lives. This species is vulnerable and has experienced population loss. They are found at elevations between 1500 to 2000 feet.

Scott bar salamanders are brown, dark brown, or black, and are a medium-sized species. This salamander has yellowish, or white flecks covering its sides. They have around 17 costal grooves, and their tails are very long.

Scott boar salamanders are active mostly in the late winter and early spring to breed. They lay their eggs underground and place them near springs. Scott bar salamanders feed on small invertebrates like spiders, mites, beetles, and moths. In their range in California, they are seen most near the Klamath and Scotts Rivers.

9. Dunn’s Salamander

Black and brown striped Dunns Salamander (Plethodon dunni) on hand
Black and brown striped Dunns Salamander (Plethodon dunni) on hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon dunni
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 6 inches (13.97 to 15.24 cm)
  • Lifespan: 11 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In California, the Dunns salamander is only found in the Smith River, in northwest Del Norte County. This species is listed as least concern, but is not seen often because of its limited range. Dunn’s salamanders are terrestrial and are active most on rainy nights. They are not active in dry, and hot conditions.

Dunn’s salamanders are dark brown, or black. They have yellow, stripes on their back, that runs from their head to their tail. Light cream flecks cover them, and they have a moist appearance. Dunn’s salamanders when young have brighter coloring.

The diet of this salamander is similar to other species, as they feed on invertebrates like worms, centipedes, and moths. Not much is known about this salamander’s mating rituals, but they breed on land. Pregnant females have been found year-round, so their courtship happens over an extended period. Their eggs are laid in masses, and they are active most at night.

10. Del Norte Salamander

Close up of a Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus) on moss
Close up of a Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus) on moss – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon elongatus
  • Other Names:
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches (7.62 to 15.24 cm)
  • Lifespan: 14 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Del Norte salamander is found in the northeastern corner of the state. As a terrestrial species, you can find this salamander under logs, rocks, and on the forest floor. They live in hardwood forests and mixed forests. Del Norte salamanders are a near-threatened species, and conservation of them is needed in California.

Dark brown, or black is the color of this species. They have dark grey stomachs, with a speckled pattern on them. Del Norte salamanders have 18 costal grooves, and toes that are slightly webbed. A medium-sized salamanders, some have orange or yellowish dorsal stripes on their back.

In very cold, or hot weather this salamander is inactive, and they retreat deep underground. As a sit-and-wait predator, they jump on invertebrates that get too close, grabbing them with their mouth. Del Norte salamanders like others are carnivorous. Their population decline is mainly due to the destruction of their habitats.

11. Siskiyou Mountains Salamander

Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (Plethodon stormi) on hand
Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (Plethodon stormi) on hand – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon stormi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 inches (9 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In northern California along the Klamath River, and parts of southern Oregon lives the Siskiyou Mountains salamander. Rocky forested habitats are the areas this species lives. They are an endangered species in California, with logging greatly reducing their natural habitat in the wild. This salamander is greatly similar to the Scotts Bar, and Del Norte salamander, and is distinguishable by genetic information.

Siskiyou Mountains salamanders are dark brown, have a moist appearance, and are covered in white specks. They have a slender appearance and a tail that is around half their body length.

Siskiyou Mountains salamanders are nocturnal and remain underground in extreme heat or cold. They come out in rainy periods with high humidity and feed on invertebrates. When prey gets near they jump out to grab them. This species is very rare, and they have one of the smallest ranges of salamanders in California.

12. Clouded Salamander

Clouded Salamander (Aneides ferreus) walking on brick patio at night
Clouded Salamander (Aneides ferreus) walking on brick patio at night – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides ferreus
  • Other Names: n/.a
  • Adult Size: 3.85 to 5 inches (9.77 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Clouded salamanders are found in Del Norte County, and northwest Siskiyou County in California. This species lives in wet coastal forests. They may hide under rotting trees or other loose debris. Clouded salamanders have a declining population, and in their overall range have a conservation status of near threatened.

Clouded salamanders are medium-sized with a slim bodies. They have a dark brown, or gray coloring. A clouded marking of greenish-gray, or gold appears on them, as well as flecks. Younger specimens have a copper-colored dorsal stripe. This salamander has around 16 costal grooves on their body and a prehensile tail.

Males are aggressive when mating occurs, fighting with others for the rights of mates. They use pheromones to communicate. Clouded salamanders lay between 9 to 17 eggs, placing them in moist places. Care is provided by one or both amphibian parents, nurturing them until they hatch. Owls, snakes, and larger salamanders are this species, main predators.

13. Speckled Black Salamander

Speckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus) sitting on a picnic table
Speckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus) sitting on a picnic table – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides flavipunctatus
  • Other Names: Black Salamander
  • Adult Size: 2.4 to 3 inches (6 to 7.62 cm)
  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The speckled black salamander is native to California. They are found in the coastal regions of the state, living below up to 1,700 meters in elevation. Forests and grasslands in the coastal ranges of California are where you may find this salamander. Like other amphibians, they have experienced population loss, and are a near-threatened species.

Speckled black salamanders are small, and have black coloring. They are covered in white, black, or yellow spots. Their underside is pale, and young salamanders have a greenish-grey coloring.

This salamander is terrestrial, and it is able to climb some vegetation with the help of its prehensile tail. They are mainly active at night, spending this time feeding gon flies, ants, millipedes, beetles, and other invertebrates.

Speckled black salamanders lay their eggs in the summer, or early fall. Females guard their eggs until hatched, and are territorial with other salamanders. They must look out for predators like the western garter snake.

14. Santa Cruz Black Salamander

Santa Cruz Black Salamander (Aneides niger) close up in hand with a leaf stuck on its eye
Santa Cruz Black Salamander (Aneides niger) close up in hand with a leaf stuck on its eye – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides niger
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.29 to 3.37 inches (5.8 to 8.55 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The range of the Santa Cruz black salamander is restricted to the San Francisco Peninsula in California, and this species can be found in the San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties of the state. Santa Cruz black salamanders are an at-risk species. This species was first described in 1948.

Santa Cruz black salamanders have fully uniform black coloring. Younger juveniles may appear with white spots on them, that they lose with age. The Santa Cruz black salamanders have 12 to 13 costal grooves and are medium-sized. Juveniles have more vibrant coloring and get dark over time.

You may find this species looking under bark, stones, and muddy areas. They are semi-aquatic. Breeding is terrestrial, and they lay between 8 to 25 eggs. In the summer you may not find this species since they live in moist areas underground.

Salmadnes like this species are able to bite and have strong teeth and jaws that leave a painful bite. Their bites are generally used to prey on invertebrates they find.

15. Arboreal Salamander

Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) on a log with a forrest behind
Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) on a log with a forrest behind – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides lugubris
  • Other Names:
  • Adult Size: 2.55 to 3.93 inches (6.47 to 9.98 cm)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $70

The arboreal salamander is found in the western coastal regions of California. This species lives in woodlands, and forest habitats. They are nocturnal and are able to climb trees. During the day they hide in crevices, within trees, and vegetation. Arboreal salamanders have prehensile tails, which help them climb around.

The arboreal salamander has purplish-brown coloring. They are covered in yellowish spots, but some specimens are plainly colored. Arboreal salamanders when young have a dark grey cloudy color. Males have triangular heads and teeth extending from their mouths.

This species is able to produce a noise that sounds similar to the faint sound of a dog barking. These high-pitched sounds are used to communicate with one another.

Bites from this salamander can be painful because of their sharp teeth, but they are overall harmless to humans. Arboreal salamanders are listed as least concern, and abundant in their range.

16. Klamath Black Salamander

Juvenile Klamath Black Salamander (Aneides klamathensis) held in hand for picture
Juvenile Klamath Black Salamander (Aneides klamathensis) held in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides klamathensis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.68 to 3.33 inches (6.8 to 8.45 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Klamath black salamander lives in northern California within the Klamath Mountains, and is also found in southern Oregon. This species in the golden state lives within the Humboldt, and Trinity counties.

They are an at-risk species and are one of the many types of black salamanders that live in the wilds of California. The range that a salamander is found in is the easiest way to identify the different black salamanders from one another.

Klamath black salamanders have a solid black coloring, with a greenish-gray frosty pattern covering them. They have large black eyes that stick out their heads. Their underside is a light greyish color.

Active at night, the Klamath black salamander spends its time looking for invertebrates to eat. If not mating during the right time of year breeding occurs, with females of this species laying between 8 to 25 eggs. If attacked younger salamanders attempt to flee. If threatened a toxin is able to secrete from the body to defend itself.

17. Wandering Salamander

Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) on wooden plank
Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) on wooden plank – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides vagrans
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Wandering salamanders are native to California. Found in northern California, this species lives in humid coastal forests habitats. From Del Norte county to Sonoma county where they can be found. This species has experienced population loss in its range and is classified as near threatened.

Wandering salamanders look very similar to clouded salamanders. This species varies from dark brown to light grey coloring. They are covered in a mottled pattern, sometimes with bronzed speckling. A greenish tint covers this species. Wandering salamanders as juveniles have a bronze stripe pattern running across their back.

In the hot summer o California, this species aestivates. Breeding is when activity is at its peak, and this species mate in spring and early summer. The night is when they are active, feeding on invertebrates like beetles, springtails, woodlice, and mites. Able to climb up to 130 feet into trees, this species uses debris and vegetation to hide during the day.

18. Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander

Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps altasierrae) in an infinity shape on a wooden board
Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps altasierrae) in an infinity shape on a wooden board – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps altasierrae
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.3 to 1.85 inches (3.5 to 4.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Native to California, the Greenhorn Mountains slender salamander is found only in a small region of the state, at elevations between 3,900 to 8,200 feet. This species lives in the Greenhorn Mountains, north of the Tule River, and Kern River drainages. Forests are where this species lives, and in summer they are found often in springs and seepages.

The Greenhorn Mountains slender salamander has a narrow head and body, with a long tail. Black or dark brown is this salamander’s base color. It is possible for this species to have a yellowish, or tan dorsal stripe. Greenhorn Mountains slender salamanders have between 16 to 20 costal grooves on their body.

Not a lot is known about the activity of this species, but they are seen most in rainy weather from fall to spring. Small invertebrates are what they eat. This species is considered at risk and has experienced population loss due to the degradation of their habitats.

19. California Slender Salamander

California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) in a circle found in the woods
California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) in a circle found in the woods – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps attenuatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches (8.89 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

California slender salamanders live in northern California, in the coastal mountainous region. This species lives in woodlands, grasslands, and riparian zones. California slender salamanders spend their time underground, in burrows. They may hide under leaf litter or other debris like rocks near streams. The months from May to October is typically when this salamander aestivates.

California slender salamanders have slender bodies and heads. They have black coloring, and red or brown dorsal stripes appear on them. Their bellies are dark, with faint white dots. Their bodies usually have 18 to 21 costal grooves on them. Their limbs are small, and like other members in their genus, each foot has four toes.

Foraging around underground, this salamander eats small invertebrates like worms, mites, and other things they may find in the soil. In California, this species has experienced population loss, with some attempting to get their habitats protected to preserve salamanders. Listed as a species of least concern, the California slender salamander, predators like snakes, larger arthropods, and small mammals are what prey on them.

20. Fairview Slender Salamander

Fairview Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps bramei) close up on rock
Fairview Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps bramei) close up on rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps bramei
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 1.54 inches (3.19 to 3.93 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Fariview slender salamander is found only in the Upper Kern River Canyon, and is a species native to California. Higher elevations ranging from 2,821 to 4,200 feet are where they live, inhabiting the sloped region.

Fairview slender salamanders are black, or dark brown. They are covered in specks that are gold, a metallic brass color. The markings that appear on them may look similar to a dorsal stripe. This species has a broad head and large feet. Their bodies are more robust when compared with other slender salamanders.

The lack of studies on this species comes from their extremely small range and limited population. It is believed they feed on small invertebrates, using their tongues to catch prey. Nighttime in the winter, and spring months is when this species is active. A vulnerable species, their population decline makes it possible for them to be extirpated from the state.

21. Inyo Mountains Slender Salamander

Inyo Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps campi) in an S shape on a stone
Inyo Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps campi) in an S shape on a stone – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps campi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.3 to 2.4 inches (3.17 to 6 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Inyo Mountains slender salamander was discovered in the year 1973. They are native to Inyo County California and are found along the eastern slopes of the Inyo Mountains. Springs and steeps in the dry mountains they live in are where you may find this salamander. This species is nocturnal, and they are active most from March to October.

Inyo Mountains slender salamanders are medium-sized species but have robust bodies. They have dark brown, red, black, or silver coloring. They are covered in a speckled pattern or silvery green, which looks similar to lichen.

The mating of this species occurs on lands, and females lay their eggs in moist crevices. Having 4 to 21 offspring, the mating season occurs seasonally in winter. After hatching this salamander does not need to undergo a metamorphosis. In California, this salamander is one of the many species that are endangered, and their land in the Inyo Mountains is protected.

22. Hellow Hollow Slender Salamander

Hellow Hollow Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps diabolicus) on various types of foliage
Hellow Hollow Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps diabolicus) on various types of foliage – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps diabolicus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.7 to 4.33 inches (4.3 to 10.9 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Hellow Hollow slender salamanders can be found in the wilderness of California, and live in Mariposa Country. This species lives at elevations below 980 feet. This species primarily lives in the watersheds of the Merced, and American Rivers in California. This species has a limited range and is vulnerable and in need of conservation.

A small and slender species, this salamander has short legs and a long tail. They have dark brown, orangish, or tan coloring, and a dorsal stripe appears on them. Speckled markings appear on their moist skin. The stomachs of this salamander are gray. Being dark in color helps this salamander camouflage into the dirt, from predators.

Small invertebrates are what this salamander eats. The main populations of this species are found near rivers, streams, and rocky rivers. Their mating occurs in the rainy season from November to January. Young Hellow Hollow slender salamanders are terrestrial when hatched, and do not undergo metamorphosis.

23. Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander

Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gavilanensis) crawling in between to rocks
Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gavilanensis) crawling in between to rocks – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps gavilanensis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 6.5 inches (6.35 to 16.51 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Gabilan Mountains slender salamanders is one of the many amphibians endemic to the state. Found from sea level to 5,000 ft above elevation, this salamander lives in forests, grasslands, and sloped habitats. Gabilan Mountains salamanders are found in the Central Coast region in California, with their range stretching from Santa Cruz to Kern County.

A medium-sized species, their tail makes up a majority of their length. A dorsal stripe runs down their back, and their coloring ranges from gray to reddish brown. They are covered in black markings and a silvery-speckled pattern.

In their range, this species is listed as least concern, but is still impacted by things like drought, or habitat loss. To defend themselves the Gabilan Mountains salamander will try to avoid being spotted by coiling and remain still. Their tails are also able to detach, which can help them escape being grabbed.

24. San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander

San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) on white rock
San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) on white rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps gabrieli
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.18 to 1.9 inches (3 to 5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

As their name suggest the San Gabriel Mountains slender salamander can be found in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County. Their range extends from the east of the San Gabriel Mountains, until Kimbark, and Waterman Canyon in the west of the mountain range. You can find this species at elevations between 2,800 to 7,800 ft.

This species is small and slender. Their bodies are black, and they have an orangish dorsal stripe. They have a dark speckling partner that covers them, and their bellies are dark. They have around 18 to 19 costal grooves.

San Gabriel Mountains slender salamanders are found in moist areas, hiding under debris like rocks, or logs. This salamander was only discovered in the 90s and became a species in 1996. They are mainly terrestrial and appear in heavy rainfall. While threatened by habitat loss, not enough data has been discovered about this salamander to determine its population standing.

25. Gregarious Slender Salamander

Gregarious Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gregarius) crawling on a womans hand
Gregarious Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gregarius) crawling on a womans hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps gregarius
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.2 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In the southern and central regions of the Sierra Nevada mountains range in California is where the gregarious slender salamander lives. They are found at altitudes up to 6,000 ft. In their southern region, they are not regularly found above 3,000 ft. Gregarious slender salamanders live in riparian zones, woodlands, and foothills are where this species lives.

Like other slender salamanders, this species is thin and small. Their legs are small, and their limbs are short. Their tail is very long and has a tapper near their end. Brown, black, and tan are the colors this species appears in. Flecks over their bodies and around 17 to 19 costal grooves appear on them.

This salamander is listed as least concern, with their population being stable in their range. They breed seasonally, and females lay their eggs in nests hidden by debris. Females may lay their eggs in the same nest, with their breeding sites sometimes containing over 300 eggs.

26. San Simeon Slender Salamander

San Simeon Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps incognitus) on a rock
San Simeon Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps incognitus) on a rock – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps incognitus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 1.9 inches (3.8 to 4.8 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

San Simeon slender salamanders are native to California. This species lives in forests, riparian, habitats, and woodlands. In California, these salamanders live in the Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties. They live at elevations up to 3,300 ft. This salamander is seen in the months from fall to spring.

San Simeon slender salamanders have grey, dark brown, or reddish-brown coloring. This species has a light belly with a speckled pattern. A dorsal stripe runs down their back. A dorsal stripe runs down this salamander’s back, and on its body, there are 18 to 20 costal grooves.

Rainy periods are where this salamander comes out. They retreat underground in periods of extreme cold, or heat, and are not seen. When out on the surface this salamander may hide under rocks or other moist debris. They mate, hunt on land, and do not undergo metamorphosis.

27. Sequoia Slender Salamander

Sequoia Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps kawia) with it's hind legs off the ground and tail in a crack as it moves
Sequoia Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps kawia) with it’s hind legs off the ground and tail in a crack as it moves – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps kawia
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 1.87 inches (3.2 to 4.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Sequoia slender salamanders live in riparian woodlands, and forests habitats in the eastern Sierra region in California. In the state, this species inhabits Tulare county and is found at elevations between 1,600 to 7,200 ft. Sequoia slender salamanders are terrestrial and spend their entire lives on land.

Small in size, this species is dark brown, or black. They have a rusty-colored dorsal stripe and are covered in speckles. Their underside is gray, and has between 18 to 20 costal grooves. Sequoia slender salamanders have a glistening appearance, with their tail making up nearly half their size.

Not much is known about this species’ population in the wild because of their secretive nature, and extremely limited range. This species feeds on small invertebrates and is used by other smaller animals use them for food. To defend themselves they stay still, or can also detach their tail when stressed.

28. Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander

Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps luciae) posed on a log with a forrest in the back
Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps luciae) posed on a log with a forrest in the back – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps luciae
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 1.8 inches (3.2 to 4.6 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In California the Santa Lucia Mountains slender salamander is native to California. This species lives in redwoods and mixed evergreen forests. They are found in the Santa Lucia Mountains. They can be spotted from Monterey county to the San Luis Obispo county line. This species is terrestrial and comes out most on wet nights.

Santa Lucia Mountains slender salamanders are small, with long slender bodies, and narrow heads. This species is black, to dark brown. A reddish dorsal tripe appeases on them, and they have metallic speckling covering them. This salamander looks very similar to other slender salamanders, and using its range is the best way to identify them in the wild.

When temperatures begin to dry in the sloped mountain region this species aestivates. First discovered in 2001, this salamander hides under debris like logs, or rocks if not active. They lay between 5 to 10 eggs when mating, and in their range, their overall conservation status is least concern.

29. Desert Slender Salamander

Two Desert Slender Salamanders (Batrachoseps major aridus) on plastic surface
Two Desert Slender Salamanders (Batrachoseps major aridus) on plastic surface – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps major aridus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 2 inches (3.1 to 5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Desert slender salamanders are a very rare species in California. This species has only been discovered in the state in the Satna Rose Mountains in Riverside County, within the lower slopes of the range. This salamander is active year-round and lives in damp areas on the ground. Desert salamanders live in desert scrubs, canyons, and springs.

This species is slender, with a broad head. They have grey, white, black, or pink coloring. Speckled flecks of brass or silver cover their body. They have a shiny appearance and have 16 to 19 costal grooves on them.

This salamander spends its time in moist regions, laying its eggs in dark and secluded crevices. This species does not hatch in water, and can only swim for a short period of time. Desert salamanders feed on small invertebrates and come out during the night to feed.

30. Garden Slender Salamander

Garden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major ssp. major) being held in hand
Garden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major ssp. major) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps major ssp. major
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.1 to 2.36 inches  (3 to 6 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Garden slender salamanders live in southern California, also living in Baja California, and Mexico. This species lives in urban areas and woodlands, sometimes found in gardens. Garden salamanders are listed as least concern, and they are still impacted by habitat loss.

Garden salamanders are small and slim. Their bodies have 17 to 21 costal grooves, and their tail makes up most of their body. This species appears in gray, tan, or pinkish coloring. Some have a dorsal stripe, and a mottled pattern covers them. Garden salamanders have gray stomachs and look very similar to other slender salamanders.

This species feeds on small invertebrates they find in gardens, and other similar places. They are primarily terrestrial and are seen most from October to May. Garden salamanders come out most on rainy rights, and when not active hides in retreats like earthworm tunnels, and under leaves.

31. Lesser Slender Salamander

Lesser Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps minor) on moss
Lesser Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps minor) on moss – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps minor
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1 to 2.3 inches (2.5 to 5.8 cm)
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Lesser slender salamanders are native to the United States and found in California. In state, this species lives in the San Luis Obispo county region. Habitats like woodlands, chaparral, and temperate forests are where they prefer to live. Lesser slender salamanders are not a common species, seen less often than other slender salamanders in the area.

Lesser slender salamanders are the smallest of the Batrachospes family. This species is black, or brown in color. Some may have a dorsal that is orange in color on their back. Even the adults of this species are very small and are less than three inches.

Not much is known about this species’ population, and their rarity makes them difficult to study in the wild. Lesser slender salamanders are very small, and since they hide under debris like rocks or leaf litter they are hard to spot.

32. Black-bellied Slender Salamander

Black-bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris) crawling on dirt
Black-bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris) crawling on dirt – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps nigriventris
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 1.87 inches (3.2 to 4.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Black-bellied slender salamanders are native to California, living in woodlands, and chaparral habitats. In the state, you can find this salamander on the southern coast, living in mountains and hill ranges. Black-bellied slender salamanders are a species with a conservation status of least concern.

The name of this species comes from their black stomaches, which have a white-speckled pattern. This species is small, and narrow, with their bodies having 18 to 21 costal grooves. Balck-bellied slender salamanders have a dark brown or black coloring. Their backs may have a reddish, or tan dorsal stripe.

Black-bellied salamanders are terrestrial, and when born do not need to undergo metamorphosis. They feed on small invertebrates, and in extreme temperatures, they go underground. Black-bellied salamanders are found from sea level to 8,200 ft. Predators this species faces include snakes, other salamanders, and smaller mammals.

33. Channel Islands Slender Salamander

Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus) on stone
Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus) on stone – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps pacificus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.75 to 5.11 inches (6.9 to 12.9 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Channel Islands slender salamander is one of the only salamanders that are native to the California Islands. This species can be found in the Anacapa islands, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Santa Rosa in California. They are found near streams, living areas with leaf litter, and other natural debris for them to hide.

Channel Islands slender salamanders are a slender species. This salamander has around 18 to 20 costal grooves on their body. Their coloring ranges from brown to pink, and their underside is white and gray with speckling.

Not much is known about this salamander because of its extremely limited range, and secretive nature. This species’ name comes from the islands they live on, where they are active year-round in tropical conditions. Channel Islands slender salamanders are a species that has a stable population, and a conservation status listed as least concern.

34. Kings River Slender Salamander

Kings River Slender Salamander (Batrachospes regius) curled up on large rock
Kings River Slender Salamander (Batrachospes regius) curled up on large rock – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachospes regius
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 1.37 inches (3.2 to 3.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Kings River slender salamanders can be found in Fresno County in California. They live in the Kings River, and also inhabit the Summit Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park. Oak, chaparral, and pine forests are the places this salamander lives. They are very secretive and hide under rocks, logs, and leaves. Elevations between 1,000 to 8,100 ft. are where you can find the Kings River slender salamander.

The body shape of this species is very similar to other slender salamanders, as they have long bodies, small limbs, and narrow heads. Their color is black, and on some a dorsal strip is present. Their underside is gray, and spots appear on them.

Kings River slender salamanders feed on small invertebrates, and hunt and live on land. Like other similar species, they are able to detach their tail or will curl up their bodies to defend themselves. King River slender salamanders are a vulnerable species, with a very limited range.

35. Relictual Slender Salamander

Relictual Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps relictus) on mossy stone
Relictual Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps relictus) on mossy stone – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced 
  • Family: Plethodontidae 
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps relictus
  • Other Names: n/a 
  • Adult Size: 1.37 to 1.87 inches (3.5 to 4.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years 
  • Average Price Range: n/a 

The relictual slender salamander is a very rare species native to California. This salamander is only found in the Breckenridge Mountains but was once a salamander that lived in the Kern River. Relicutal slender salamanders are almost never found away from water and are found in creeks and seepages, with lots of trees nearby.

Small and slender, their body contains between 16 to 20 costal grooves. They have a black, or brown coloring, and a yellow, or tan dorsal stripe on their back. This species is very moist, and its small limbs help them slither around.

The moisture around where this salamander lives allows them to be active year-round, but are seen more often from May to October. Small invertebrates are what they eat. From birth they are terrestrial, and they do not need metamorphosis. Wet areas near rocks, or other debris are where they hide to avoid predators like snakes, birds, or larger salamanders.

36. Kern Plateau Slender Salamander

Kern Plateau Slender Salamander (Batrachospes robustus) close up on edge of rock
Kern Plateau Slender Salamander (Batrachospes robustus) close up on edge of rock – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachospes robustus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.75 to 2.25 inches (4.4 to 5.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Kern Plateau slender salamanders live in moist forests and other types of woodland habitats. They prefer to live near rivers, or seepages, and hide under natural debris. In the Kern Plateau in Kern county at elevations between 5,580 to 9,200 ft. are where this salamander levies. They are also found in Inyo County in the Ownes Valley and Idna Wells Valley. This species occurs in other places at higher elevations nearby.

Kern Plateau slender salamanders are brown, gray, reddish, or rusty in color. They have a black belly, and under their throat is a white mottled pattern. This species has between 16 to 17 costal grooves on its body.

This species is mainly terrestrial and feeds on small invertebrates they find. Kern Plateau slender salamanders are active most on rainy nights. In freezing temperatures they remain underground, becoming inactive. Kern Plateau slender salamanders are near threatened and have experienced population loss.

37. Kern Canyon Slender Salamander

Kern Canyon Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps simatus) found on a hike
Kern Canyon Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps simatus) found on a hike – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps simatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.62 to 2.2 inches (4.11 to 5.58 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Kern Canyon slender salamander lives in the lower Kern River Canyon and is found in Stork Creek. They live at elevations between 1,476 to 3,937 ft. The Kern Canyon slender salamanders live near creeks, seeps, springs, and other areas with lots of moisture.

Small in size, this slender species has between 20 to 21 costal grooves. They have long legs, and large feet when compared to other slender salamanders. This salamander has a tan to orangish coloring, and some have a dorsal stripe on their back.

Kern Canyon slender salamanders feed by waiting and using their tongue to catch small invertebrates. This salamander is mainly terrestrial but lives in moist areas. They are preyed on by larger salamanders, rodents, and other species. Due to the limited range of their range, and habitat loss this salamander is considered a vulnerable animal in California.

38. Tehachapi Slender Salamander

Tehachapi Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi) crawling over large rocky area
Tehachapi Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi) crawling over large rocky area – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Batrachoseps stebbinsi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.4 inches (5.1 to 6.1 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Tehachapi slender slander lives in Kern county in California and is one of the many species native to the state. Moist canyons and drainages in the Tehachapi mountains are where this salamander lives. They live at altitudes between 2,000 to 4,600 ft. This salamander is a threatened species in California and is extremely vulnerable to changes in its habitat.

Tehachapi slender salamanders are long and slender. They have large heads and webbed toes. Reddish or brown is their color. They are covered in beige or dark blotches that may form a dorsal stripe. Compared to other similar species this salamander may be more robust.

This salamander is terrestrial, and when born has the same body as its adult form. They are secretive, hiding under debris. Not much is known about this species because of their tendency to stay hidden, and their small population.

40. Yellow-blotched Ensatina

Yellow-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii croceater) surrounded by deteriorating logs
Yellow-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii croceater) surrounded by deteriorating logs – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Ensatina eschscholtzii croceater
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.2 inches (3.8 to 8.1 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The yellow-blotched ensatina lives in the Central Valley of California and is a rare amphibian. They are found in mountains, and foothills, active most in rainy weather. Fall and spring are when this species breeds, and when winter comes their eggs are laid. They lay their eggs under debris, also hiding under things like logs or rocks.

Yellow-blotched salamander is medium in size, but they are one of the smallest species in their range. They have coloring ranging from dark brown to black. Yellow blotches cover their body, and their appearance is very moist. Yellow-bltoched ensatinas are imppatcted by habitat loss and dry weather.

41. Monterey Ensatina

Monterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii) being held in hand
Monterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.2 inches (3.8 to 8.1 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Monterey Ensatina is one of the many species from its genus that is native to California. This species lives on the coast of the far south of California. They live in forests, and woodland habitats, that are very moist. This species is found near mountain ranges, found sometimes in higher elevations.

Monterey ensatinas are medium, with longer legs, and a short tail. They have around 12 to 13 costal grooves on them. Their color is black, and blotches of yellowish, or pinkish cover them.

These salamanders spend most of their time in cool areas, and if the weather is rainy they are likely to be out. In times of extreme cold or drought, they are not seen often.

42. Oregon Ensatina

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) close up on dirt next to index finger
Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) close up on dirt next to index finger – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 4 inches (3.8 to 10.16 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $100

Oregon ensatinas are one of the many subspecies of Ensatina eschscholtzii that live in California. This species can be found in the northern costal region of the state. They live in woodlands and shaded moist habitats. This species hides under debris and is out most in moist times of the year. Oregon ensatinas are seen most in cool regions and are nocturnal.

Oregon ensatinas have black coloring, and spots that cover them. Their spots are yellow, orange, or pink, and their underside is a light color. This subspecies looks similar to other species, often confused for them. Oregon salamanders breed, hunt, and lay their eggs on land. They are not a threatened species, and are food for predators like snakes. Worms, ants, beetles, and millipedes are what they eat.

43. Sierra Nevada Ensatina

Sierra Nevada Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis) crawling up an arm on a sleeve
Sierra Nevada Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis) crawling up an arm on a sleeve – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size:  (7.5 to 15.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Sierra Nevada ensatina are a salamander that lives in the central Sierra Nevadas mountains in California. They are found in elevations up to 11,000 ft. Moist forests with lots of shade are where they live. They hide under fallen debris, and rocks, and spend their time on forest floors. If temperatures get too hot or cold they go underground in animal burrows.

This salamander is medium-sized, with gray to dark brown coloring. Their bellies are gray or white, and orangish coloring appears on the base of their limbs. Orange and red spots also cover this salamander.

In California this species mates on land, and lays its eggs in moist crevices. Near bodies of water like streams is where they are most common. In extreme dry periods, they are at risk of dehydration.

44. Limestone Salamander

Limestone Salamander (Hydromantes brunus) on moss looking back at camera
Limestone Salamander (Hydromantes brunus) on moss looking back at camera – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Hydromantes brunus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Limestone salamanders live in California in the Lower Merced River drainages. This species is found in Mariposa county California. They are vulnerable salamanders, found at elevations between 1,000 to 2,500 ft. Limestone salamanders are uncommon, and their population loss is due to habitat loss from construction.

This salamander has a flatted body and webbed toes. They have brown coloring, and a mottled pattern covering them. They live in limestone habitats and hide in crevices. They have a moist appearance, and like other lungless salamanders, they breathe from their skin. Not much is known about their breed, but after birth, they emerge fully formed with no larval stage.

45. Shasta Salamander

Shasta Salamander (Hydromantes shastae) close up in moss
Shasta Salamander (Hydromantes shastae) close up in moss – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Hydromantes shastae
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4.3 inches (7.5 to 11 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Shasta salamanders live in the Cascade Range near Shasta Lake in California. They live in the forests, springs, caves, and other similar places near Shasta Lake. This salamander is vulnerable and is threatened by the dam near where it lives. Shasta salamanders are not well documented and are associated with limestone areas.

A medium-sized salamander, this species is dark brown, or reddish in color. They have webbed feet which help them move on slippery surfaces. A mottled pattern of grayish green covers them. Genetic DNA is what is used to identify this salamander from other nearly identical species. Shasta salamanders are one of the smallest salamanders in their region and are not seen often since they hide in crevices.

46. Sierra Newt

Sierra Newt (Taricha sierrae) on rocks
Sierra Newt (Taricha sierrae) on rocks – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Salamandridae
  • Scientific Name: Taricha sierrae
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Sierra newts live in California, and were once thought to be a subspecies of the California newt until it was classified as its own species. Sierra newts live in the Sierra Nevada region, living in aquatic and terrestrial areas. They move to aquatic places to migrate but generally live in forests. Sierra newts hide under crevices like rocks or logs.

This newt has rough-looking moist skin. They have no costal grooves and have a yellowish or burnt orange color. Their iris is yellow, their bulbous eyes stick out of their head. When born this salamander is aquatic, until undergoing metamorphosis. Breeding starts in summer, and they are terrestrial by fall.

Toxins from this species’ body are strong enough to kill most animals and humans. Snakes are the predators that prey on them most. Sierra newts are carnivores, feeding on slugs, woodlice, worms, and larvae of other animals.

47. Coastal Range Newt

California Newts (Taricha torosa torosa) held in hand for picture also known as Coastal Range Newts
California Newts (Taricha torosa torosa) held in hand for picture also known as Coastal Range Newts – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Salamandridae
  • Scientific Name: Taricha torosa torosa
  • Other Names: California Newt
  • Adult Size: 4.9 to 7.8 inches (12.5 to 20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In California the coastal range newt lives in the Transverse, and Peninsular coastal ranges of the state. This species lives in woodlands, grasslands, and another coastal plains. They are terrestrial and live in both moist, and dry habitats. When born this salamander undergoes an aquatic stage and inhabits slow-moving streams. Breeding also occurs in the water, and males are aggressive with each other.

Coastal newts are stocky and have large bodies. Their eyes are large and stick out the side of their heads. They have yellowish-to-tan coring, and their underside is yellow/orange. Small invertebrates like slugs, worms, and snails are what this species eats. California they are not a protected species but have been affected by habitat loss. Gartner snakes are the main predators of this salamander, and if attacked they may give out a yelp.

48. Rough-skinned Newt

Rough skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa) found in the woods
Rough skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa) found in the woods – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Salamandridae
  • Scientific Name: Taricha granulosa
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.3 to 7 inches (11 to 18 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The rough-skinned newt is a species in California, that is found in the northern corner of the state. This species lives near ponds, wetlands, and other freshwater habitats. Forests and woodlands are the habitats they are found in, and their stable population gives them a conservation status of least concern.

This stocky species has a brown, or olive color. Their underside is an orangish, yellow color. Their skin is less smooth when compared with other amphibians. The toxins that are released from their body are also stronger and has the capability of killing humans. The coloring on their body acts as a warning, and humans have died from ingesting this salamander. Snakes and other toxins that resist animals are what prey on this salamander.

49. Red-bellied Newt

Red-bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) found in the woods
Red-bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) found in the woods – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Salamandridae
  • Scientific Name: Taricha rivularis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 7.5 inches (13.97 to 19 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The red-bellied newt is native to California, and lives along the coast in northern California. They are found in Sonoma, Bodega, Honeydew, and Humbolt counties. This species lives in woodlands, and redwood forests near streams, and rivers. Red-bellied newts are a species that is listed as least concern in its range and has a stable population.

The skin of this salamander is grainy, and they have a black dorsal. The bellies of this species are red, which can help identify them from other coastal newt species. This medium-sized salamander also has plain dark eyes.

Red-bellied newts are terrestrial for most of their life, but when born are aquatic. They live up to 20 years and stay as larvae for about 4 to 6 months. Their bodies are covered in toxins and are also in their eggs, which can potentially kill a human. This salamander feeds on small invertebrates like worms, and shrimp.

FAQ

When are salamanders active in California? 

The rainy season at night is the best time to spot a salamander in California. The breeding season is when you are most likely to find salamanders, with their mating season depending on the species, and region they are in. When temperatures get too hot or cold, salamanders become inactive.

Under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other similar debris are where you may find these amphibians. Where a salamander lives can help determine its age and species. In water, burrows, and on land are places salamanders make their home.

In California are there dangerous salamanders?

Salamanders are not usually dangerous, and they are typically harmless to humans. Salamanders secrete toxins from their body, which are useful for warding off predators. While their secretions are not usually deadly to humans, some species have strong enough toxins to kill humans. You should not be afraid of salamanders, as they are typically harmless.

You should always wash your hands when handling a salamander, and you should avoid touching them. Amphibians like salamanders have permeable skin, and toxins from our hands can make them sick.

Wrapping up

The many animals that live in California are an important part of the ecosystem, and each animal has a part in maintaining balance in the environment.

Salamanders are a sign of a clean environment since many species require clean, and well-oxygenated water to live, and breed. The decline of populations across North American amphibians has occurred due to deforestation, and the destruction of their needed waters, and habitats.

While some salamander species do make good pets, you should avoid capturing them from the wild before doing extensive research about the laws, and species of the state. There is a lot to know about the different salamanders in California, and they are an important part of the ecosystem.

Other nearby states

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