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25 Vibrant Salamanders in Ohio

There are 25 species of salamanders in Ohio, which are just some of the 40 types of amphibians that live in the state.

Salamanders come in a variety of sizes, and colors, and showcase different markings on their body. In this article, you will discover the 25 types of salamanders in Ohio and useful facts about them.

A salamander’s preferred habitat may vary, but streams, ponds, and shaded forested areas are common places they are found. In Ohio, many of the salamanders that live in the state have a specific range. Knowing where, and when to look can make it much easier to find the variety of salamanders that live nearby.

The United States, specifically its eastern region, has the most salamander species than anywhere else in the world. There are over 600 species of salamanders in the world, and new ones are being discovered.

Let’s take a look at Ohio’s 25 salamanders:

Table of Contents

Salamanders in Ohio 

1. Eastern Red-spotted Newt 

Red Spotted Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in stream on leaf
Red Spotted Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in stream on leaf – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Salamandridae 
  • Scientific Name: Notophthalmus viridescens
  • Other Names: Eastern Newt 
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches (7 to 12.4 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years 
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $30 

Native to the state of Ohio and eastern regions of North America is the Eastern red-spotted newt. While there are 25 species of salamander in the state of Ohio there is only one kind of newt found there. In young life, these newts live in the water. They develop lungs as juveniles and become land dwellers up to adult life when they become aquatic again.

The eastern red-spotted newt is typically found in or near small freshwater areas with muddy bottoms like ponds, streams, lakes, and marshes. They are most common in coniferous and deciduous forests hiding under vegetation and rocks near the water or under the water. They are most active during their breeding season from March to June.

Like the name suggests this species of newt has a pattern of red dots on its neck and back. The adult coloration differs from juveniles with juveniles being very bright or dark shades of red-orange and adults being shades of light yellow-green to dark olive green. They have moist, soft skin that allows them to absorb water so they don’t have to drink and because they have lungs they use the oxygen from the water to breathe. 

Eastern red-spotted newts inhabit moist areas near bodies of water so their main diet is made up of leeches, mollusks, smaller fish, and insects like mosquitoes. The main predators of this species are birds, large fish, and carnivorous mammals.  While their skin is toxic to their predators it is not dangerous to humans but they should still be handled with care. 

2. Hellbender 

Eatern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) crawling on creek bottom
Eatern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) crawling on creek bottom
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Cryptobranchidae
  • Scientific Name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
  • Other Names: Eastern Hellbender
  • Adult Size: 13 to 24 inches (33 to 61 cm)
  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The hellbender salamander is mainly found in the southern and eastern regions of Ohio. This salamander is one of few in the state that is primarily aquatic. They prefer to live in rocky streams that have fast-flowing water, are well-oxygenated, and are clean. Generally nocturnal, this amphibian hides under things like large rocks during the day.

Fall is when their breeding season begins, and it continues until the end of November. Males create a brood site for the external fertilization process to begin, and guide a female to their site, preventing them from leaving until she oviposits her eggs.

Up to 150 to 200 eggs are laid by this species, and males fertilize them as she lays them. Males often court other females to their nest, and up to nearly 2,000 eggs can be laid in a site.

Hellbenders are the largest amphibians in Ohio and North America and have large flat bodies. They are usually dark gray, brown, or yellowish. They have a mottled spot pattern on them that can appear light or dark. Hellbenders have a paddle tail to assist them in navigating the water, and a smooth, wrinkly body.

Crayfish are one of the main sources of food for the hellbender, and they live in areas with ample populations of them. Small fish, tadpoles, frogs, and even other salamanders are what this species may also eat.

Despite their name, hellbenders are harmless, and their population has been on a steady decline. Habitat loss and pollution are why they have become classified as a near-threatened species.

3. Common Mudpuppy

Common MudPuppy (Necturus maculosus) held in two hands
Common MudPuppy (Necturus maculosus) held in two hands – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Proteidae
  • Scientific Name: Necturus maculosus
  • Other Names: Waterdogs
  • Adult Size: 8 to 19 inches (20.3 to 48.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The common mudpuppy is found all across Ohio, but they are not very commonly seen. This salamander lives in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. They are one of two salamanders that are permanently aquatic in Ohio. Deep muddy waters, streams, and ponds are where the common mudpuppy prefers to live.

Breeding for the common mudpuppy occurs in the Autumn months in Ohio, but eggs are only laid in the next year’s spring and summer months. Females lay between 50 to 100 eggs, which hatch in one or two months. Unlike other salamanders, this species does not leave the water after birth.

Common mudpuppies have a rusty brown, gray, or black coloring, with blue or black spots covering their bodies. Their coloring on rare occasions may have albinism. Near their neck in their ear region are red gills that stick out the side of their head, and become larger if there is little water flow. The body of the common mudpuppy is long, and they have a fish-like tail. Their limbs are flat, which helps them travel on the stream floor.

In Ohio, this species is rarely seen due to its secretive nature, and nocturnal lifestyle. Common mudpuppies are opportunistic feeders and eat anything they find. Insect eggs, crayfish, worms, tadpoles, and other aquatic animals are what this salamander eats. Drought, pollution, snakes, turtles, large fish, and birds are the common mudpuppies’ main threats.

4. 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 – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus
  • Other Names: dusky salamander
  • Adult Size: 2.52 to 5.59 inches (6.4 to 14.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $25

Northern dusky salamanders live in the eastern, and southern parts of Ohio. They are mainly found in the eastern parts of the United States, and the extreme eastern regions of Canada. Northern dusky salamanders live along streams, springs, or other clean running water. They hide underwater and prefer to hide partially submerged in streams.

This species is small but has a robust body. This species has a tan, dark brown, or nearly black coloring. They have a lighter-colored stripe that runs down the center of the dorsal side of their body. Northern dusky salamanders have a moist appearance, and a mottled pattern covering them. Their tales are long and taper like a knife.

Breeding and egg-laying occur in water. Spring is the mating season for this salamander, and adults return to their birth site to reproduce. In Ohio, females lay their eggs in the last two weeks of July which hatch during the fall. Northern dusky salamanders lay between 13 to 34 eggs, and after hatching they mature in 3 to 4 years.

Animals like raccoons, birds, snakes, and skunks are what prey on these salamanders. The mucus on this species is only mildly toxic and relies on staying hidden to avoid being eaten. If provoked this salamander may bite, but its teeth are harmless. Spiders, worms, millipedes, crustaceans, and other similar animals are what this species eats.

5. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4.5 inches (6.35 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 year
  • Average Price Range: $25

Mountain dusky salamanders are found in Ohio, but only in the northeastern corner of the state. This salamander lives in temperate forests, freshwater springs, rivers, and wet rocky habitats. Mountain dusky salamanders are abundant in their range and are one of the few salamanders sometimes found away from a freshwater source.

The color of the mountain dusky salamander is brown, dark brown, tan, or gray, and this varies amongst specimens. Running down the center of this species’ back is a dorsal stripe and a mottled pattern. Juveniles are more brightly colored, and as they age their pigments begin to fade.

Mountain dusky salamanders breed during the spring and fall months. Females lay anywhere between 3 to 27 eggs and lay them in hollowed-out soil near shallow running water. They guard their eggs for around 52 to 69 days and protect them until they hatch and disperse into the water.

Mountain dusky salamanders are ambush predators, feeding on prey like worms, mites, snails, and larvae. Predators of this salamander include large fish, birds, and snakes, but pollution is their biggest threat. While listed as a species of least concern, water evaporation and the removal of forests also affect the populations of these amphibians.

6. Longtail Salamander

Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held in hand
Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea longicauda
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

In Ohio, the long tailed salamander has a wide range in the southwestern, and eastern regions of the state. Springs, caves, and wet forests are where this species lives. They are sometimes seen hiding under rocks, under logs, or in crevices in shallow water.

Breeding for the longtail salamanders occurs in the autumn, and early winter. Eggs are attached to rocks, in dark areas near water, and this species is able to lay up to 100 of them. It takes around 4 to 12 weeks for the larvae to hatch, and metamorphosis is finished in the same year.

The long tailed salamander is yellow or orange and is covered in dark blotches on the entire dorsal side of its body. Their stomachs are yellow and lack any markings. Slender in size, they have thin bodies with around 60% of their length coming from their tail. They have a smooth, and moist appearance, and are a smaller species.

Long Tailed salamanders eat invertebrates such as worms, beetles, and grasshoppers. To defend themselves from predators like small mammals or snakes, this species is able to drop its tail or use its tail as a distraction to escape.

7. Northern Two-lined Salamander

Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) being held in hand
Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea bislineata
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.75 to 4.5 inches (6.9 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

The northern two-lined salamander is a species found in northeastern Ohio and other states in the eastern US. This species is found in swift rock streams, wooded swamps, springs, vernal pools, and moist woodlands. Sometimes found in urban areas, northern two-lined salamanders hide under debris like rocks, logs, and leaf litter.

This salamander lays its eggs from April, until July. They mate in water and attach their eggs underwater on rocks. Females guard their eggs until they hatch and move into the water.

Small in size, the northern two-lined salamanders have yellow or tan coloring. They have two lines that appear on the sides of their body, and a spotted mottled pattern on them. The belly of this species is slightly yellow and nearly transparent. Their front feet have four toes, while their back has five.

This species is preyed on by birds like owls, and snakes. Northern two-lined salamanders eat mites, larvae, worms, spiders, snails, and other salamanders. With a stable population, this salamander is classified as a species of Least Concern. Pollution of streams and the removal of forests are the biggest threats to them.

8. Southern Two-lined Salamander

Southern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) close up on wet mossy surface
Southern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) close up on wet mossy surface
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea cirrigera
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4 inches (6.35 to 10.16 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $15

The southern two-lined salamanders are in most of Ohio but not the northern half of the state. This salamander is semi-aquatic and found in streams, pools, and moist woodlands. Spring, summer, and fall are when this salamander is seen the most, and they are typically nocturnal.

Southern two-lined salamanders are a small species with a tan to yellowish color. They are named after the two black lines that run down the sides of their body. A black mottled pattern appears on this salamander’s body. This species is very similar to the northern two-lined salamanders and can be distinguished from each other by genetics.

Males and female southern two-lined salamanders look similar, but males get a swollen cloaca gland when breeding. Breeding occurs in water pools and streams. They use sites with cobble or wood substrate and breed yearly from late winter to spring. Up to 100 eggs are laid, and put under rocks within streams.

Rarely seen, southern two-lined salamanders come out most on wet nights. They hunt for animals like ticks, roaches, worms, beetles, snails, and spiders. Fish are one of the main predators of this salamander, feeding mainly on their larvae. Habitat destruction also affects this species greatly since they rely on a certain substrate for their habitat.

9. Spotted Tail 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea lucifuga
  • Other Names: Cave Salamander
  • Adult Size: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $75 to $150

The spotted tail salamander is found all across the state of Ohio, and much of the eastern United States. Woodlands with vernal pools, streams, and other freshwater sources are where this animal lives. Spotted tail salamanders are also called cave salamanders as they are found in the mouths, and beyond the twilight zones of caves. Areas with lots of rocks, and crevices are where they prefer to live.

The mating of this salamander is not well documented, but it is thought they spend the month’s summer and fall breeding. Males nudge their heads on a female and position themselves for mating to initiate. Females lay anywhere between 5 to 120 eggs. Eggs are white when laid, and are around 2.5 to 3.2 mm large. After hatching it takes between 6 to 18 months for the larvae to fully mature and leave the water.

The entire dorsal side of the spotted tail salamander’s body is covered in dark spots. They have large tails that makeup between 60 to 65% of their body size. Spotted tail salamanders are very sleek, and have a bright orange coloring, and smooth appearance.

Worms, slugs, snails, and flies are what this species eats. Millipedes make up parts of their diet, but they are usually avoided by salamanders since they contain toxins. Active at night, spotted tail salamanders hide under rocks to avoid predators like small mammals and snakes.

10. Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) held in hand close up
Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) held in hand close up – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon glutinosus
  • Other Names: grey-spotted salamander, slippery salamander
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 8 inches (11.43 to 20.32 inches)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

Abundant in Ohio within its range, the northern slimy salamander is found in the eastern, and southern regions of the state. This salamander lives mainly in the eastern United States, living in caves, moist woodlands, hillsides, and rocky areas. Slimy salamanders stay under debris like logs, or in burrows during the day.

Slimy salamanders breed yearly, laying between 6 to 36 eggs during the summer or fall. Eggs hatch in around a month, and mature in around 3 years. Slimy salamanders are reliant on moist woodland habitats to survive, and while listed as a species of “Least Concern”, habitat destruction is their main threat.

Black in color, the slimy salamander is covered in white, reddish, or gold spots. The underside of their body is black, but lighter in color than their dorsal. White sticky secretion is emitted by the glands of the slimy salamander, which occurs more when they feel in danger.

The night is when the slimy salamander hunts and they feed on prey that is available to them. Ants, bees, wasps, beetles, and roaches are some of the animals this species eats. The toxins this salamander produces are poisonous, but not deadly to humans. It can cause irritation, and discomfort, and is extremely sticky to stick on predators.

11. Northern Ravine Salamander

Ravine Salamander (Plethodon electromorphus) on moss
Ravine Salamander (Plethodon electromorphus) on moss – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon electromorphus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 5.6 inches (6.35 to 14.22 inches)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Ravine salamanders are found in the southern, and eastern parts of Ohio, and are not seen in the northeastern corner of the state. Ravine salamanders are native to the United States, living in forests, valleys, and ravine habitats. Ravine salamanders are terrestrial and hide under rocks, logs, and stones.

The spring is when this species is most active. During the cold winter they hibernate, and in the hottest parts of summer, they aestivate. Spring is when these salamander mates and eggs are laid in secluded crevices. A very common species, habitat degradation is what threatens the ravine salamander most.

The ravine salamander is Ohio’s most slender salamander and is very small. They have short limbs and worm-like bodies. They have black or dark brown coloring, with small silver specks covering them. The underside of this species is dark brown, with speckles on its neck.

This species was once considered to be part of the Plethodon richmondi species but was distinguished from them by using electrophoresis. Being very small the ravine salamander is constantly preyed on by snakes, birds, and fish. Not very aggressive, the northern ravine salamander curls its body up when hiding to avoid being seen.

12. Red-back 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
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
  • Other Names: Eastern Red-backed Salamander. Northern Red-backed Salamander
  • Adult Size: 2.2 to 3.9 inches (5.7 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $30

The red-backed salamander is found all across Ohio and with its range covering the northeastern United States. This species is terrestrial, living in moist woodland areas. They often hide under damp debris like rocks, logs, and leaf litter. Red-backed salamanders are one of 56 members of the Plethodon genus and are a very common species.

Red-backed salamanders are entirely terrestrial and do not even need water to breed. Eggs are laid in the summer and are stored in clusters under places like moist rocks and logs. The gill stage of this species is spent mostly in their eggs, and after hatching their gills shrivel up within two days. It takes around 2 years for this species to reach full maturity.

Small in size, the red-backed salamander comes in a variety of colors. The lead-back version of them is uniformly gray, or black. They also have a red-back phase, where they are tan or orange, and have a reddish-red stripe running on their back. A mottled speck pattern covers this lizard. Their bodies are long and sleek and have moist amphibious skin.

Rainy nights are the best times to spot this species, and these nights they hunt for small invertebrates to feed on like mites and worms. This species is one that may be found in urban areas. The rainy season is when you may find them, and when the weather gets too hot they are not active.

13. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylium scutatum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4 inches (5.1 to 10.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The four-toed salamander has a scattered range spread across the eastern regions of North America. This species is found in Ohio and is listed as a species of concern since their populations may be threatened, and they are reliant on specific habitats. Four-toed salamanders live in swamps, forests, and other similar areas.

In the breeding season, they make their near ponds or bodies of water. The eggs are laid in places where the larvae are able to enter the water, as they are aquatic. Four-toed salamanders are not aquatic and spend their life on land. It takes around six weeks after hatching for the larvae to complete metamorphosis, and reach full maturity at around 2 years.

The four-toed salamander has orange to brown coloring on its back. They are very small and have a sleek, linear appearance. The tail of this species is long and usually brighter than their bodies. The underside of the four-toed salamander is an ivory-white color, with black specks.

The four-toed salamander is harmless, and if threatened attempt to play dead, or shed its tail to escape. Small invertebrates like spiders, ticks, and snails are what the four-toed salamander eats.

14. Northern Spring Salamander

Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus ssp. porphyriticus) on edge of a riverbank
Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus ssp. porphyriticus) on edge of a riverbank – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus
  • Other Names: Purple Salamander
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7.5 inches (12.7 to 19.05)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $100

The northern spring salamander is one of two subspecies of spring salamander that inhabit Ohio. Spring salamanders are found mainly in the eastern United States.  They live in springs, forests, caves, and near the edges of water sources. This species is mainly found in the eastern regions of Ohio.

Northern spring salamanders have a coloring that ranges from salmon to light brown. This sub-species tends to be more purplish in color. They have a gummy-like appearance and are covered in dark specks. This species has a light line on them near their eye, going into their nostrils.

Northern spring salamanders are common in their range but may lose population due to deforestation, and predation. Fish, rodents, and snakes are their main predators. Under logs, stones, leaves, and other debris are where this salamander hides during the day. In the colder parts of the year, they may live in burrows, and remain active in them.

15. Kentucky Spring Salamander

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus p. duryi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7.5 inches (12.7 to 19.05)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $100

The Kentucky spring salamander is one of the subspecies of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus that inhabits Ohio. In the state, this species is mainly found in the western regions. Forests, springs, caves, and other areas with clean flowing water are where this species lives.

The spring is when the Kentucky spring salamander is active most, and they enjoy coming out on moist, rainy nights. Mostly terrestrial, water is used by this species to lay their eggs. Summer is when eggs are laid, hidden on the underside of rocks near the water. The larvae period of this species lasts from 3 to 4 years. They are aquatic until completing metamorphosis.

A medium-sized species, the Kentucky spring salamander ranges from tan to dark brown coloring. This subspecies is usually a light tan color, and they have dark specks covering them. Their skin is very moist, and the mucous that is secreted from their skin is toxic, but not deadly to humans.

Kentucky spring salamanders feed on smaller invertebrates, and larvae they find. Fish are their main predatory, feeding on them when in the larvae stage. The removal of importance in their habitats, and pollutants are also a threat faced by this species. The Kentucky spring salamander is not currently a threatened species in the state or its range.

16. Green Salamander

Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus) being held in hand
Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Aneides aeneus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $100

A very rare species in Ohio, the green salamander is listed as endangered in the state. The far southeastern counties of Adams, Scioto and Lawrence are the only counties in the country where this amphibian has been documented. Green salamanders live in very rocky places that have limestone, or sandstone, and sometimes appear in caves.

Green salamanders are small and have flat bodies. They have greenish and tan coloring, with a pattern on them that look similar to lichen. Their appearance helps them blend into the trees or mossy areas they live in. They have moist skin, with 13 to 14 costal grooves on their bodies.

In their entire range, green salamanders are listed as near-threatened and are difficult to study due to their secretive nature. Habitat destruction is what threatens them most, as they rely on hardwood trees to inhabit.

Green salamanders spend their time hiding under rocks and come out at night to forage. Spiders, insects, and snails are what they eat the most. Ringneck snakes, rats, and birds are the main predators that eat green salamanders.

17. Midland Mud Salamander

Midland Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus diastictus) hiding in a large pile of leaves on the forest floor
Midland Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus diastictus) hiding in a large pile of leaves on the forest floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton montanus ssp. diastictus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6.5 inches (7.62 to 16.51 inches)
  • Lifespan: 15 year
  • Average Price Range: $40

Midland mud salamanders are not very common in Ohio and are only found in eight, southeastern counties. This species lives in springs, creeks, and other similar habitats. They spend most of their time in muddy water and areas. Midland mud salamanders are active throughout the year, hibernating in the winter, and becoming dormant in dry periods.

The midland mud salamander has bright orange coloring and is covered in small black specks. When young this species is a light brown, but as they age they become redder. The red salamander and this species are nearly identical, but this species has brown eyes and a shorter snout.

Larvae, other insects, spiders, and other invertebrates are what this salamander eats. Their diet becomes more diverse as they age. The mud salamander relies on muddy habitats to survive, and habitat destruction is their main threat.

18. Red Salamander

Southern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber vioscai) being held in hand
Southern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber vioscai) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber
  • Other Names: Northern Red Salamander
  • Adult Size: 20 years
  • Lifespan: 6 to 10 years 
  • Average Price Range: $70 to $100

Red salamanders in Ohio are mainly found in the eastern section of the state. Native to the eastern United States, red salamanders can be found in springs, seeps, and woodland habitats with fresh water. Breeding for the red salamander occurs in the winter, and eggs are laid in the fall under moist debris.

Red salamanders have a reddish-to-tan coloring. A dark speckled pattern covers their body, and they have a moist appearance. Their legs are short and stubby legs, with long bodies. This species looks nearly identical to the mud salamander and can be differentiated from them by their yellow eyes, and a longer snout.

This species is used as food for animals like skunks, raccoons, and snakes. They feed on small invertebrates and play an important role in keeping the ecosystem balanced. Overall this species is well-established in its range. Red salamanders are classified as a species of least concern and are most threatened by overpopulation.

19. 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 – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ambystonmatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum
  • Other Names: Yellow Spotted Salamander
  • Adult Size: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm)
  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $50

Spotted salamanders are found all across Ohio, and have scattered populations in the state. Forests with clean sources of water are where this species is common. They are mostly active in their breeding season, and for the majority of the year remain underground in burrows. Logs, leaf litter, and similar moist areas are where this salamander may also spend its day.

Spotted salamanders have dark brown, or black coloring, and are covered in yellow spots. Spots may also appear orangish, and appear in two uneven rows on the side of their body. The underside of this species is gray, or pink. Females are slightly larger than males and have brighter-colored spots.

Spotted salamanders spend most of their time underground, and are a fossorial species. This salamander feeds on slugs, snails, millipedes, insects, and other similar animals. Their sticky tongues are used to catch their prey. Humans often keep this species as a pet because of their coloring, and size.

20. Smallmouth Salamander

Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum) on stone
Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum) on stone
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma texanum
  • Other Names: Texas salamander
  • Adult Size: 4.3 to 7 inches (10.9 to 17.78 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

In Ohio, smallmouth salamanders are mainly found in the northern half of the state. This species has a large range in the United States and is found in woodlands, grasslands, and bottomlands habitats. Smallmouth salamanders are nocturnal and are terrestrial. They prefer living in habitats near permanent bodies of water.

Smallmouth salamanders have black, grey, or dark brown colors. They have small heads and tiny mouths. Their bodies have white, or gray flecks, and 14 to 15 costal grooves. The belly of this species is black, and they have a glossy appearance.

Smallmouth salamanders feed on insects, spiders, and aquatic crustaceans. They may even feed on their own larvae if food is scarce. Their bodies secrete a toxic substance, helping ward off predators like birds, skunks, and snakes. Smallmouth salamanders have a stable population, and the species is considered a species of least concern.

21. Jefferson Salamander

Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.3 to 7.1 inches (11 to 18 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $50

The Jefferson Salamander is native to the northeastern United States. In Ohio, this species is found in the southern, and northeastern portions of the state. Jefferson salamanders live in moist woodlands, with vernal pools nearby for breeding.

They hide under moist debris and spend winter breeding. The breeding, courting, and egg-laying of this salamander occurs underwater. Eggs are laid in masses of around 20 to 30 and are attached to debris underwater.

This species has a grayish, to pale blue color, with lighter shades on its underside. They have a moist appearance, with a slender body, and wide snout. Silver or blueish specks appear on their sides. They are not seen often since they live in burrows and hide during the day.

Small invertebrates are what this salamander eats, and when young they feed on aquatic animals. Cannibalism occurs sometimes if there is not much food. In the winter, this species spends its time hibernating, and they are one of the first salamanders to appear in the spring.

22. Blue-spotted Salamander

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) being held in hand
Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma laterale
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $25

The blue-spotted salamander is an endangered species in Ohio, and very rare to find. The northeastern counties of Williams, Lucas, and Henry are where the blue-spotted salamander has been found in the state. They are found in moist, deciduous woodlands, swamps, and vegetated areas near vernal pools. When not roaming about they hide under debris like leaf litter.

The skin of this salamander is black, and they have blue, and white flecks appear on its body and tail. Their tails make up around 40% of their body size, on their smooth bodies are 12 to 14 costal groves. The males of this species tend to be slightly smaller than the females.

Blue-spotted salamanders feed on worms, slugs, snails, insects, and other small invertebrates. The larvae of this species also feed on small aquatic insects and animals. Pollution and chemicals in the habitats they live in are the main cause of their depopulation.

23. Streamside Salamander

Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) on patch of moss
Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) on patch of moss – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma barbouri
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 to 7 inches (10.16 to 17.78 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Streamside salamanders live in southwestern Ohio and are found in several Midwestern states within the United States. Later winter and early spring, near streams, or crossing roads to find one is when this species is sighted often. Limestone creeks in woodlands are used by them to breed during the winter. They can also be found under moist rocks, logs, and other debris.

Streamside salamanders have dark brown, to gray colors. Their tails have lighter coloring than the rest of their body. The head of the salamander is round, and its snout is stumpy. The streamside salamander has a lichen-like mottled pattern that covers them and is extremely smooth and moist.

Habitat destruction is the main threat this species faces. They are classified as a near-threatened species, and only have a small range in North America. Streamside salamanders spend their time hidden in debris and sometimes looking for small invertebrates or larvae to eat.

24. Marbled Salamander

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) being held in hand for picture
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) being held in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma opacum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.25 inches (9 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Marbled salamanders have a scattered population across Ohio. In America, the marbled salamander is mainly found in the southeastern states. Forrest with floodplains, or vernal pools are the habitats the marbled salamander inhabits. Unlike other salamanders in Ohio, fall is when their breeding season begins, with their eggs being laid in the water pools they live by.

The marbled salamander has black, or dark brown coloring, with silver crossbands. Males have bands that appear more white, while females’ bands appear more white. Adults of this species are slightly smaller than others in their genus but have robust bodies.

Marbled salamanders spend their time in burrows, but rely on pre-built ones since they are not good burrowers. They rely on wetlands, and forests are the habitat this species does best. Marbled salamanders mate on land, and lay their eggs. Females lay between 50 to 200 eggs, and stay with them until it rains, and the flood comes. Under logs, rocks, and cracks are places where their eggs are laid.

Insects, small mollusks, and larvae are some of the things this species eats. Marbled salamanders are one of the keystone predators in Ohio, and help keep balance in the ecosystems they live in.  A secretion covers their body to protect them, helping ward off predators like skunks, rats, snakes, and large frogs.

25. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 7 to 13 inches (17.78 to 33 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The eastern tiger salamander has a scattered population across Ohio and is common in the state’s glaciated region. This species lives in woodlands and open grassy habitats. Eastern tiger salamanders are almost entirely terrestrial and are one of the species with the largest ranges in North America.

Breeding for this species occurs in the late fall months to spring months, and similar to other species they will attempt to return to their birthplace to mate. Fish-free breeding ponds are used to mate and breeding is one of the only times when this salamander is found in water. Around 30 to 50 eggs are laid underwater. Their eggs take between 2 to 4 weeks to hatch, and fully metamorphosis by the summer.

Eastern tiger salamanders are the largest terrestrial salamander in Ohio, with the largest of them capable of being close to a foot. Males are typically longer and have stockier legs.

Eastern tiger salamanders have smooth skin, with dark brown or black coloring. Yellow or olive spots appear on them, which vary depending on the specimen. Larvae of this species are yellowish, or olive-colored, and have dark blotches on them.

Worms, snails, insects, and frogs are some of the animals they eat, sometimes turning cannibalistic and eating other salamanders. When not hunting this salamander spends its life underground or in burrows. Places with loose soil for digging are where they prefer to live.

FAQ

What are the most common salamanders in Ohio?

Knowing the different types of salamanders in Ohio, and where they prefer to live can allow you to identify, and find certain species. Salamanders can be spotted from spring to fall, and in winter most enter into a state of brumation.

The two-lined lined salamanders, northern dusky salamanders, and long-tailed salamanders are the most common species found in flowing stream habitats. Others like the smallmouth salamander, red-spotted new, and spotted salamanders may be more common in standing water. Northern Slimy salamanders, ravine salamanders, and redback salamanders are found more in moist terrestrial habitats.

Are there poisonous salamanders in Ohio?

Salamanders are poisonous and secrete a mucous toxin from their skin. If ingested this toxin can make humans or animals sick. Salamander toxins vary depending on the species, but their toxins are not usually fatal to humans. Salamanders should not be handled due to the poisonous substance on their skin, and the risk of harming the animal.

When are salamanders most active in Ohio?

Salamanders are rarely seen in the wild because of their secretive nature, and fear of humans. Spring is the best time to spot a salamander, and they are generally nocturnal. During the day salamanders hide in a dark, cool, and moist area. Moist woodlands, swamps, lakes, streams, and other similar places are where salamanders live.

Is it ok to pick up salamanders you find outdoors?

If spotting a salamander in the wild it is very important that you do not handle them. Due to their amphibious absorbent skin touching a salamander can transfer toxins like oils from your hands to the animal, potentially getting them sick. Salamanders should never be moved unless in immediate danger, and nitrile or vinyl gloves are best used to keep them safe if handling is necessary.

Wrapping up

Salamanders are very important to the environments they live in, and are a sign of a healthy habitat. Being amphibians, salamanders are able to absorb water, and oxygen through their skin, and secrete mucus to keep themselves moist.

Salamanders are not able to live in polluted areas, as they can absorb toxins through their skin. Climate change and the pollution and destruction of habitats are the salamander’s worst threats, which can severely dwindle their population.

Learning about the variety of salamanders in Ohio, and how they live is an important part of protecting them from going extinct. Not only are salamanders used as food by animals such as turtles, snakes, and mammals, but they also help feed on small invertebrates like insects. The 25 types of salamanders in Ohio are very amazing animals and are just a few of the types found in the United States.

Other nearby states

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