Skip to Content

30 Cool Salamanders in Kentucky

There are about 30 salamanders in Kentucky. Salamanders are generally lizard-like in appearance. They generally have slender bodies and short limbs.

Salamanders are amphibians. These amphibians start life as larvae. In larval form, salamanders are generally solely aquatic.

However, once the species undergo metamorphosis, the species become terrestrial or semi-aquatic. Some salamanders do not undergo metamorphosis. An example is the mole salamander. This amphibian has both a terrestrial form and an aquatic form.

Some salamanders are kept as pets. These are solitary creatures that are best housed alone. Their care is usually simple as far as the humidity within the enclosure is humid enough.

Salamanders in Kentucky

Family Ambystomatidae

1. Streamside Salamander

Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) on patch of moss
Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) on patch of moss – source
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma barbouri
  • Adult Size: 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Near Threatened on IUCN

Within Kentucky, this species can be found in the western portion and in the north-central region. Outside of this, the species can be found in central Tennessee, western West Virginia, north-central Kentucky, southwestern Ohio, and southeastern Indiana.

The streamside salamander inhabits upland deciduous forested areas. The larvae inhabit streams. As adults, the species burrow near headwaters with exposed bedrock and an abundance of limestone.

The species is very similar in appearance to the small-mouthed salamander (A. texanum). Both species have small heads and small mouths. The easiest way to differentiate between the two species is through the use of geographic range and the habitat each lives in.

The species can reach a length of 15 cm or 6 inches.

2. Jefferson Salamander

Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock – source
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  • Adult Length: 10.7 to 21 cm (4.2 to 8.3 inches)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species can be found throughout the eastern United States ( apart from Florida) The species usually occur in hybrid form.

The species hybridizes with A. laterale within its range from nova scotia southern Quebec, southern Ontario, the upper peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and eastern  Minnesota. The range of the salamander is limited to modified areas. The species have also been disappearing from several historic habitats.

Within Kentucky, the species is found from southcentral Kentucky to south Kentucky.

These amphibia live in breeding ponds in upland forested areas. These include deciduous forests such as moist upland forested areas.

The species is dark in color with lightly colored blue speckles on the sides, tail, and back. These speckles may vanish as the amphibian develops into adulthood.

The species reaches a length of 10 to 21 cm.

The lifespan of the species is unknown.

3. Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) on wet dirt by water in Greenville County, South Carolina, USA
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) on wet dirt by water in Greenville County, South Carolina, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum
  • Adult Length: 5.91 to 9.84 inches (15 to 25 cm)
  • Adult Size: 0.45 oz (12.84 g)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

Similar to other species within the genus Ambystoma, the spotted salamander is endemic to most of eastern North America from the east coast to eastern Texas and eastern Iowa.

They are absent from Florida. They are also native to southern Canada. You can say the species range is as far north as Canada. In Canada, they are endemic to most of the southern portion including Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The species can be found in coniferous forests as far as humidity is high and there are breeding ponds, deciduous forests, and other upland forests. Adults hide in burrows, logs, and leaf litter most of the time. Larvae are found in ponds without fish. Fish eat larvae as such their absence is necessary.

This amphibian is moderately sized and can reach a length between 6 and 10 inches. A. maculatum is known as the spotted salamander because of the large orange/yellow spots on either side of the body. The background color is black to dark brown.

4. Marbled Salamander

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) on a rock with moss
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) on a rock with moss
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma opacum
  • Adult Length: 3.54 to 4.21 inches (9 to 10.7 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to most of eastern North America and is endemic to most of the states within the eastern United States. The extent of the geographic range of the species is 80,000-1,000,000 square miles (200,000-2,500,000 square km).

The species occurs in southern Lake Michigan to southeastern New York, to New Hampshire, and to northern Florida. The range also extends to eastern Oklahoma. Texas and finally the Gulf Coast. The species rarely occur in the Appalachian Mountains.

A. opacum is endemic to humid woodlands and live close to streams and ponds. While they may occur around dry hillsides they are always close to a humid environment.

Interestingly, the gravid females of the species lay eggs in dried-up ditches, ponds, and pools instead of in water. The hatchlings emerge only after the pools refill with water.

A. opacum is a small salamander and one of the smaller ones within its family – Ambystomatidae. The amphibian only reaches a length of 3.5 to 4 inches. The salamander has bands of white across the body, from its head to its tail. While males have silvery white bands, females have silvery gray bands. Males are also noticeably smaller than females.

5. Mole Salamander

Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum) on degrading log
Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum) on degrading log
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma talpoideum
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S3 (Vulnerable), Least Concern on IUCN

The species occurs mostly in the southeastern United States. The species is abundant within its geographic range. Within Kentucky, the species is considered to be ‘Vulnerable’. The population within Kentucky is disjointed.

Other states with disjunct populations include Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The species is also endemic to southern Indiana and southern Illinois to the Mississippi Valley and the Coastal Plains of southeastern Oklahoma, eastern Texas, northern Florida, and South Carolina.

The mole salamander comes in two forms, the aquatic and the terrestrial. The aquatic morphs are also known as neotenic and these live in permanent ponds without fish. The terrestrial morph lives in burrows, under logs, and under leaf litter.

The aquatic form of the species does not undergo metamorphosis and remains in its larval form until they become sexually mature. The terrestrial form undergoes this metamorphosis and looks similar to other terrestrial salamanders. Both are generally dark in color. Although the coloration of the species varies from black to gray. Some individuals may have white flecks on the back and tail.

6. Small-Mouthed Salamander

Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum) on stone
Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum) on stone
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma texanum
  • Adult Length: 4.3 to 7 inches (11 to 17.8 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to Canada and the United States. Within Canada, the only three known breeding sites are in Ontario. The entire species is found within 40 sq km in Canada.

In the United States, the species can be found in the east, in states such as Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, and Alabama. The species is absent from states on the east coast.

The species inhabits lowland floodplains, woodlands, and open prairies. Regardless of where they are based, they require suitable breeding ponds as they don’t venture far from these ponds.

These are water bodies without fish and include roadside ditches, river backwaters, flooded areas, runoff ponds, and woodland vernal ponds.

A. texanum has a small mouth and a small head. The body of the salamander is black to gray with light blotches on the top of the body. On either side, are dark blotches. The underside of the species is also dark.

A. texanum is moderately sized with adults reaching a length of 4 to 7 inches.

7. Eastern Tiger Salamander

Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) found in woods on ground close up
Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) found in woods on ground close up
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
  • Adult Length: 7 to 13 inches (17 to 33 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

This species is found across the entirety of North America. From New York on the east coast to Oregon on the west coast. The species can even be found in Alaska. The range extends from Ontario and Manitoba in Canada to the Mexican Plateau.

The species occur in large numbers within Kentucky and they can be found across the state.

A. tigrinum is terrestrial once they undergo metamorphosis. They inhabit marshy areas, grasslands, and humid forested areas. Unlike other salamanders within its taxonomic family, A. tigrinum can thrive in non-forested areas where the soil is suitable for burrowing. They burrow when humidity isn’t high enough.

Family Plethodontidae

8. Green 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
  • Scientific Name: Aneides aeneus
  • Adult Length: 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm)
  • Population Trend: Decreasing
  • Conservation Statuses: S3S4 (Vulnerable), Near Threatened on IUCN

Although the species is widely distributed, the distribution is patchy. The species is endemic to the Appalachian mountains. The range of the species is disjunct and isolated. The habitat requirements of the species are also narrow. For these reasons, the species is considered endangered within its geographic range.

The range of the species includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Kentucky and North Carolina have the highest known occurrences of the species with an elevational range of as high as 1350 m. The species is found in eastern and southeastern Kentucky.

The species is found in crevices of rocks that reach little or no sunlight.

A. aeneus is a tiny amphibian that is green in color with blotches. The eyes are large and noticeable. The underside is yellow to blue. The species have 14-15 costal grooves.

9. Spotted Dusky Salamander

Spotted Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus conanti) in shallow sandy creek
Spotted Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus conanti) in shallow sandy creek – source
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus conanti
  • Adult Length: 2.5 to 5 inches (6.4 to  12.7 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure)

Within Kentucky, the species is endemic to southwestern Kentucky. Outside of Kentucky, the species occurs in Louisiana, southern Arkansas to Texas. The range also extends to Georgia and South Carolina. Up north, the range extends to Kentucky.

The range of the species also encompasses Virginia, Tennessee, South and North Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia, and Alabama.

The spotted dusky salamander is tan to brown with reddish spots on the dorsum. The species is moderately sized reaching an adult length of 5 inches.

The species live in seepage areas and along streams.

10. Northern Dusky Salamander

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) on someone's hand in Raymond, New Hampshire, USA
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) on someone’s hand in Raymond, New Hampshire, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus
  • Adult Length: 2.5 to 5.6 inches (6.4 to 14.2 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

 Within Kentucky, the species is found in western Kentucky. Outside of Kentucky, the species is found across eastern North America and can even be found in Canada, the species is endemic to northeastern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, western Kentucky, and south to southeastern Indiana. In Canada, the species is endemic to southern Ontario, southeastern Quebec, and southern New Brunswick.

The species is endemic to humid woodlands. As with other salamanders, the species live close to a water body. These include running water or trickling water. During the day, the species hide under logs and rocks.

During the winter or cold months, they burrow below the frost line. If the streams they live by do not freeze during the winter, they are active throughout the year.

Similar to other dusky salamanders, this species is quite small with a maximum adult length of 5.6 inches. The species is reddish brown to brown to gray in color with dark patterns on the dorsum.

11. Seal Salamander

Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola) close up on wet bank in creek
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola) close up on wet bank in creek
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus monticola
  • Adult Length: 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15.2 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

Historically, the species have been endemic to the Appalachian region of eastern North America. Within Kentucky, the species is endemic to the eastern portion.

Outside of the state, the species can be found in the western tip of the Florida panhandle; in southern Alabama; from central Alabama to northern Georgia; in western South Carolina; eastern Tennessee; western North Carolina; West Virginia to southwestern Pennsylvania; northern and western Virginia; and western Maryland.

The species is found along stream banks, in streams, and on wet rocks. This amphibian is often found in cool streams with high oxygen content.

This amphibian is quite large compared to others within its taxonomic family. It can reach a length of 6 inches. The body of the species is gray to brown with dark wormy patterns. The underside is white or light in color.

12. Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) curled up on a rock
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) curled up on a rock – source
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
  • Adult Length: 2.8 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm)
  • Life Span: 5.3 years
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to a large portion of eastern North America. The species can be found in Canada as well as the United States. In Canada, the species occurs in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. Within Kentucky, the species is endemic to the Cumberland Mountains and Plateau in the southeast.

The species can also be found in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. Here the species occur within the Allegheny Mountains and Plateau. Finally, the species is endemic to the Ridges of the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province in southwestern Virginia.

This species lives mostly within a tiny space. In temperate deciduous forests where they live, they can spend all their time within a 1-meter radius. They do not move unless they have to.  The humidity levels in their habitats are high. They are found under logs, rocks, on wet rock faces, near streams, and other seepage areas, and under leaf litter.

D. ochrophaeus is a tiny amphibian that can reach a length of about 3 inches. Males are noticeably large than females and have darker colorations.

13. Black Mountain Salamander

Black Mountain Salamander (Desmognathus welteri) on a rock near a bunch of brown leaves
Black Mountain Salamander (Desmognathus welteri) on a rock near a bunch of brown leaves – source
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus welteri
  • Adult Length: 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S4 (Apparently Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The range of D. welteri is small. The species is endemic to eastern Kentucky and the adjacent southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and eastern Tennessee.

D. welteri is a moderately sized salamander that is thick-bodied. The species can reach a length of 5 inches. The dorsum of D. welteri is brown with dark streaks and spots. The toes are also dark in color. The species have white dots between the legs.  The species is similar in appearance to other dusky salamanders already mentioned.

The species live in humid-temperate forests. They are endemic to mountain streams, springs, and even roadside ditches.

14. Southern Two-lined Salamander

Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) walking up a mossy rock in Morgan County, Tennessee, USA
Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) walking up a mossy rock in Morgan County, Tennessee, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea cirrigera
  • Adult Length: 2.6 to 4.7 inches (6.5 to 12 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species occur from central Virginia to southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, northern Florida, western West Virginia, southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. 

This amphibian inhabits humid biomes and is found in hardwood forests, seepages, river swamps, and creeks. You can usually find them under logs, vegetation, or leaf litter. They can also be found in fishless ponds. E. cirrigera only comes out only when it has rained. They are mostly found in mountainous areas.

This species is known as the two-lined salamander because of the two conspicuous lines on either side of the species’ dorsum. These lines run from each eye to the tip of the tail. The species may have dark spots between the two lines. The underside of the species is yellow. The dorsum of the species is brown to yellowish.

15. Three-lined Salamander

Three-lined Salamander (Eurycea guttolineata) walking on a bark surface at Congaree National Park, South Carolina, USA
Three-lined Salamander (Eurycea guttolineata) walking on a bark surface at Congaree National Park, South Carolina, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea guttolineata
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S2 (Imperiled), Least Concern on IUCN

The species occurs from Tennessee and Virginia to the Gulf Coast. The states the species occur in include Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The species occur in small numbers within Kentucky.

Eurycea guttolineata is similar to the northern two-lined salamander in appearance. However, instead of two lines on the back, there are three lines. Two of the lines run from each eye to the tip of the tail while the third line runs along the vertebrae.

The three lines are black and bold. The dorsum is orange to yellowish and the underside is gray and yellow.

16. Longtail Salamander

Eastern Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held on finger tips
Eastern Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held on finger tips – source
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea longicauda
  • Adult Length: 3.9 to 7.9 inches (10 to 20 cm)
  • Life Span: 5 to 10 years
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

This amphibian occurs from southern New York to northwestern Georgia, northeastern Mississippi, and northern Alabama. The range also extends to south Arkansas. The species is endemic to about 19 states in the eastern United States. This includes Kentucky.

The species lie in ponds, wet shale banks, abandoned mines, caves, springs, seeps, and streams. As larvae, the species is aquatic but once they undergo metamorphosis, they become terrestrial. Terrestrial adults live near waterbodies such as streams. Here they can be found under rocks, logs, and in rock crevices.

This species is known as the longtail salamander or the long-tailed salamander because of its long tails. Their tails make up about 60% of their entire length. This long tail gives the species a slender appearance. The limbs are stout. The coloration of the dorsum ranges from red to yellow with dark stripes on the tail.

17. Cave Salamander

Orange and black spotted Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga) on top of fence plank
Orange and black spotted Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga) on top of fence plank – source
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea lucifuga
  • Adult Length: 4.9 to 7.1 inches (12.5 to 18.1 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

This species is endemic from central Alabama to central Indiana. From northern Virginia to eastern Oklahoma. The states the species occur in include Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, and  Arkansas.

This amphibian remains true to its name and lives entirely in caves. They require these cave-line environments to thrive. They are found in dark humid environments. These include underneath logs, under rocks, in caves, and in crevices.

E. lucifuga is one of the larger salamanders within its genus – Eurycea. This amphibian can reach a length of 7 inches. Similar to the longtail salamander, the tail of this species makes up about 60% of its entire length. The species is yellowish to reddish-orange in coloration with a light yellow underside.

18. Spring Salamander

Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) on a moist mossy rock in Oconee County, South Carolina, USA
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) on a moist mossy rock in Oconee County, South Carolina, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
  • Adult Length: 4.7 to 7.5 inches (12 to 19 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: SNR (No Status Rank), Least Concern on IUCN

This species is endemic to eastern North America. From southern Quebec to  Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The species is divided into two subpopulations: the Carolinian population and the Adirondack / Appalachian population.

This species lives in and around aquatic environments with high oxygen content. Their affinity to springs gives the species its common name. They are lungless and absorb oxygen through the skin. The species is mostly found in headwater springs. Terrestrial adults can also be found under logs, canopies, rocks, and other large objects.

19. Four-toed Salamander

Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) looking at camera perched on mossy foliage
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) looking at camera perched on mossy foliage – source
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylium scutatum
  • Adult Length: 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10.2 cm) 
  • Life Span: 5.5 years
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S4S5 (Apparently Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species occur as far south as Georgia and the Florida panhandle and as far north as southern Ontario, southern Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The species can be found in several states in-between including Kentucky. The geographic range of the species is discontinuous.

The species is native to eastern North America. It is endemic to about 30 states in the United States along with the Canadian provinces mentioned.

This amphibian inhabits humid forested areas. Their habitat includes mature forests or biomes adjacent to mature forests. They are found near vernal pools and other water bodies devoid of fish. They need this absence of fish to successfully nest.

The species is quite tiny reaching a length of 4 inches at most. Adult individuals measure 2 to 4 inches. The dorsum of the species is brownish with gray sides. There may be black or blue speckles on the body. The species is named after the four toes on their hind limbs.

20. Eastern Red-Backed Salamander

Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) out in the woods near a cave
Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) out in the woods near a cave
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
  • Adult Length: 2.2 to 5 inches (5.7 to 12.7 cm)
  • Life Span: 25 years 
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to most of eastern North America from Quebec to North Carolina. In Canada, the species is endemic to southern Quebec and Newfoundland to western Ontario. The species in the United States occurs as far south as North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee and as far north as Minnesota.

The species has a red back which gives it its common name. This red coloration is a reddish or orange stripe that runs run its back from the neck to the tail.

Other variations lack this red stripe and instead s grey or black throughout which is the background color of the dorsum. The underside of the species is a mottle of gray and white.

The species live in deciduous forests. They spend their day under rocks, fallen trees, and in burrows. They come out at night to forage for food.

21. Northern Zigzag Salamander

Northern Zigzag Salamander (Plethodon dorsalis) on moss
Northern Zigzag Salamander (Plethodon dorsalis) on moss – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon dorsalis
  • Adult Length: 2.5 to 3.5 inches (6.4 to 8.9 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

This species occurs in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee. The species’ geographic range stretches from western and central  Kentucky to central Tennessee. The species is endemic to most of Indiana and Illinois as well.

In Kentucky,  adults have been seen brooding eggs in June and July.

This is a tiny salamander that is brownish-gray in color with a red or orange zigzag pattern on the back. This pattern gives the species its common name.

There are also tiny white spots on the back and side. These coupled with the background color of the species gives a metallic feel to the appearance of this amphibian.

The species is endemic to humid biomes of forested slopes. They are found under leaf litter, in rocky hillsides, and in caves.

22. Northern Ravine Salamander

Ravine Salamander (Plethodon electromorphus) on moss
Ravine Salamander (Plethodon electromorphus) on moss – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon electromorphus
  • Adult Length: 3 to 4.5 inches (7.5 to 11.5 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to northern Kentucky. Outside of Kentucky, the species is endemic to most of Ohio (absent from the northwestern portion of the state), southeastern India, northwestern West Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

This is a small amphibian. It is black or brown in coloration with tiny light-colored speckles. There are also white blocks on the sides. The underside of the species is darkly colored. 

23. Northern Slimy Salamander

Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) on dry leaves and pine needles in Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) on dry leaves and pine needles in Laurens County, South Carolina, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon glutinosus
  • Life Span: 5.5 years on average, 20.1 years maximum
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

Within the United States, the species can be found across the eastern U.S. The geographic range of the species is huge. The species is thought of as Secure in most of its geographic range. The species’ populations across its geographic range are disjunct.

The species can be found in woodlands and are never far from streams. They can also be found alongside ravines and gullies. Similar to other salamanders, they prefer to occupy burrows. They need a humid environment to thrive.

This amphibian is darkly colored with whitish specks. The underside is lightly colored. The species have a nasolabial groove that is absent from other darkly colored salamanders.

24. Cumberland Plateau Salamander

Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) held in hand for photo
Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) held in hand for photo – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon kentucki
  • Adult Weight: 2 to 5.1 g (0.07 to 0.18 oz)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S4 (Apparently Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to the Cumberland plateau. The Cumberland Plateau region can be found in four states including West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The species is considered abundant within its range.

The species is black with white speckles on the side and the back. The chins of the amphibian are white or light gray. The underside is gray.

This amphibian lives in the leaf litter of deciduous forests. Here they hide under logs, rocks, and in crevices. They also inhabit sandstone and shale outcrops and rock crevices.

25. Mississippi Slimy Salamander

Mississippi Slimy Salamander (Plethodon mississippi) on table with close up of head and face
Mississippi Slimy Salamander (Plethodon mississippi) on table with close up of head and face – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon mississippi
  • Adult Length: 4.5 to 8 inches (11.4 to 20.3 cm)
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure)

The species is endemic to western Kentucky. Outside of Kentucky, the species can be found in western Tennessee, the Florida Parishes of southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama.

Other slimy salamanders that look identical to the Mississippi slimy include the northern slimy salamander and the white-spotted slimy. These amphibians belong to the slimy salamander complex.

The species’ dorsum is dark with several white speckles all over. The underside is lighter in color. This amphibian is quite large and reaches a length of 4.5 to 8 inches.

The species inhabit hardwood forests. They are generally under covers such as logs, rocks, and leaf litter.

26. Yellow-spotted Woodland Salamander

Yellow Spotted Woodland Salamander (Plethodon pauleyi) being held in cupped hands
Yellow Spotted Woodland Salamander (Plethodon pauleyi) being held in cupped hands – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon pauleyi
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: SNR (Unranked)

The species occurs in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It is believed that the species also occur in Virginia although this is yet to be proven. The species occurs in twelve sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

This species inhibits sandstone and shale outcrops as well as rock faces of the Cumberland plateau. They are usually found along the escarpment of the plateau.

27. Southern Ravine Salamander

Southern Ravine Salamander (Plethodon richmondi) curled up on forrest floor
Southern Ravine Salamander (Plethodon richmondi) curled up on forrest floor – source
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon richmondi
  • Adult Length: 3 to 5.6 inches (7.5 to 14.4 cm) 
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to eastern Kentucky. Other places the species occur include south of the Teays River valley and west of  New River and Kanawha River of West Virginia,  northeastern Tennessee, northwestern North Carolina, and western Virginia.

The species inhabits ravines. To be exact, it lives on the slopes of woodland ravines as well as its valleys. The ravine salamander burrows underground when the water is warm. They reach a depth of more than a meter or 3.3 feet.

The southern ravine salamander is a slender amphibian. The main reason for this slender appearance is its long tail which makes up about 50% of its entire body length.

28. Southern Zigzag Salamander

Multiple Southern Zig Zag Salamanders (Plethodon ventralis) in dirt on top of one another
Multiple Southern Zig Zag Salamanders (Plethodon ventralis) in dirt on top of one another
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon ventralis
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Conservation Statuses: S5 (Secure), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to southeastern Kentucky. Outside of Kentucky, the species can be found in the extreme northeast of Mississippi, northern Alabama, extreme northwest of Georgia, the french broad river valley in North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia.

This species lives in wooded slopes, caves, seepages, rubble, canyons, and ravines. During the day, they hide under leaf litter, logs, and rocks.

29. Mud Salamander

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) on fallen wet leaves in Richland County, South Carolina, USA
Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) on fallen wet leaves in Richland County, South Carolina, USA. – source
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton montanus
  • Adult Length: 2.95 to 6.30 inches (7.5 to 16 cm)
  • Population Trend: Unknown
  • Conservation Statuses: SNR (Unranked), Least Concern on IUCN

The species is endemic to the eastern United States. The species can be found throughout Kentucky. Isolated populations occur in south-central Pennsylvania and east-central Mississippi.

West of the Appalachian Mountains, populations occur in southern Ohio, western Virginia, western West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and Kentucky. This population is sometimes considered to be a separate species – P. distichus.

This is a thick-bodied salamander that has a short tail. The coloration of the species changes from one geographic location to another. However, most adults are reddish in color with some black spots. The species can reach a length of about 6 inches.

30. Red Salamander

Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) on an orange leaf in Richland County, South Carolina, USA
Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) on an orange leaf – source

The red salamander can be found in eastern North America. The species occurs as far north as southern New York and as far south as Florida. The species occur from Florida to Louisiana and northward to southern Indiana. The species occurs on the Gulf Coast. The species do not occur in most of the Florida panhandle and the Coastal Plain south of Virginia.

The red salamander is found in cold streams and springs. Even as adults, the red salamander spends a lot of time in springs and streams. The species hide under logs, leaf litter, and rocks during the day in more terrestrial regions. They are found in mixed forests or deciduous forests.

The red salamander is red in color. Older individuals become full in color and are more purplish brown in color.

These amphibians reach a length of 4 to 7 inches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you locate the red salamander in Kentucky?

The red salamander can be found throughout Kentucky. This amphibian is one of the more widespread animals in eastern North America.  These amphibians can be found in cold springs and streams. Adults can also be found hidden under rocks, logs, and leaf litter and in deciduous forests as well as mixed forests.

Is there a black salamander in Kentucky?

Many salamanders in Kentucky are black in color. Some of these include the spotted salamander which is black with yellow spots. Another is the mole salamander which can be black or gray in color. The small-mouth salamander, the black mountain salamander, and the red-backed salamander.

Where in Kentucky is the spring salamander?

The spring salamander is found in and around springs aquatic environments with high oxygen contents.

Are there slimy salamanders in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the slimy salamander can be found near streams, ravines, and gullies. The species can also be found in burrows underground. The species is never far from a water body.

Conclusion

Salamanders are amphibians. Several are even lungless and as such respire through their skin. As salamanders, most salamanders are partially aquatic. As juveniles, salamanders are larvae that live in aquatic environments. Adults are terrestrial after undergoing metamorphosis. Some adults are solely aquatic.

Salamanders in Kentucky can also be kept as pets. This depends solely on the species as most salamanders do not make great pets. However, the ones that can be kept as pets are usually simple to care for.

Some salamanders in Kentucky best kept as pets include the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), the marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum), and the longtail salamander (Eurycea longicauda).

Other nearby states

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]