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53 Vibrant Salamanders in Virginia

There are 53 types of salamanders in Virginia, and it is one of the states in the U.S. with the most species. The eastern United States is home to more salamander species than anywhere else in the world, and Virginia has some of the most species.

Here you will learn about 53 types of salamanders that you may find in the wilds of Virginia, and the things you should know about them.

Some salamanders are endangered, and a few of the ones on this list may be extremely rare to find in the wild and have low populations. Others are common and may be seen often throughout the year.

This article will go over the appearance, behavior, and other useful things about the salamanders in Virginia like their habitats, and where to find them most.

Amphibians have been the victim of population loss due to pollution, deforestation, and disease. Preserving the habitats that salamanders use to breed, and the ones they inhabit are essential to keeping their populations healthy. Let’s take a look at the countless salamanders in Virginia’s wilderness.

Salamanders in Virginia

1. Jefferson Salamander 

Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a mossy log
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a mossy log – 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 Appalachian Mountains region in Virginia is where the Jeffersons’ salamander lives, found in moist woodlands. As a terrestrial animal, you may find them under rocks, logs, or leaf litter, underground in burrows. In Virginia, the Jefferson salamander is considered in need of great conservation and has experienced a population decline.

Named after Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, the Jefferson salamander is a medium-sized species, with brown, black, or gray coloring. Speckles may appear on the sides of their body, which can be gray or white. They have a moist appearance, with a large head and thick tail.

The breeding season for this salamander occurs in the spring, and they begin to appear after the snow melts. Rainfall and cooler temperature bring them from underground, and they find vernal pools and ponds without fish to mate. Eggs are laid underwater, attached to plant life, and take only two weeks to hatch.

The Jeffersons’ salamander is nocturnal, and if not breeding it comes out for hunting. Insects, spiders, and small invertebrates are what this small carnivore eats. Other salamanders and amphibians are also a part of their diet. While in Virginia they occur at higher elevations and are most common in moist woodlands.

2. Mabee’s Salamander

Mabee's Salamander (Ambystoma mabeei) on wet grass in Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA
Mabee’s Salamander (Ambystoma mabeei) on wet grass in – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma mabeei
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4 in. (7.5 to 10.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Mabee’s salamander lives in the Coastal Plains region of Virginia and is only found in a small southeastern corner of the state. They are one of the many amphibians in Virginia that are in need of conservation. Its presence in the state was only first discovered in 1979. Forests and swamps are habitats they are found in.

This salamander is black, to gray in color, and is covered in several silver flecks. The belly of this species is gray or tan, and plain. Mabee’s salamander looks similar to the flatwoods salamander but has a duller appearance and fewer spots. After hatching this species has tan coloring and yellow stripes on its body.

The breeding for this salamander occurs in the late winter and early spring months. Their eggs are laid underwater, placed by plants, or in the crevices of water, and may be grouped together, or laid alone. Water pools and fishless water are used by this salamander to breed.

Mabee’s salamanders complete their metamorphosis by the end of spring, which is when they become terrestrial. This salamander feeds on insects and worms they come across. Larvae have a diet of zooplankton and aquatic invertebrates.

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 – 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 across Virginia, but are absent from the southeastern corner of the state. Spotted salamanders live in forests, near ponds, or other types of water. This salamander is terrestrial but can be spotted in pools of water during the breeding season.

The spotted salamander is named after the dorsal spots that may appear yellow or orange. They have a dark gray coloring, with a pale belly. The spotted salamander has around 12 costal grooves on their bodies. Their bodies are moist, and secrete a slimy substance, with males being slightly slimier.

Traveling long distances to get to their breeding pond, mating occurs in the winter, and spring months. Their courtship is a dance, and males will place their spermatophores near vegetation for females to use to fertilize their eggs. Up to 200 eggs can be laid, which are in a jelly-like substance.

When hatched their larvae are aquatic and feed on aquatic invertebrates. They transform into juveniles by the summer and feed on millipedes, snails, worms, and other invertebrates. Skunks, birds, and fish are some of this salamander’s most common predators.

This species is common in Virginia and its range has a conservation status of least concern.

4. 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

The marbled salamander is native to the eastern United States and is found all over Virginia but not in parts of the eastern region. Deciduous woodlands near waters are where they live, preferring places with sandy soil. Marbled salamanders are abundant in their range, including Virginia.

Black in color, bands cover this species’ body. Females have silver bands, while the colors of male bands are white. Silver specks may also appear on this salamander’s sides. Marbled salamanders have a moist appearance, with 11 to 13 costal grooves on them.

Fall is when this species breeds, using temporary wetlands, and vernal pools. They prefer fishless waters to breed, so their young is not a victim of predation. 50 to 100 eggs are land, placed on dry land in hidden crevices. Marbled salamanders guard their young until it begins to rain and flood out of their nest.

It only takes a few days for their eggs to hatch, but if there is no rain then hatching begins in the spring. Young larvae feed on zooplankton until they change into terrestrial animals in around 6 months. Adults feed on insects and other small animals like small frogs.

5. Mole Salamander

Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum) on asphalt
Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum) on asphalt – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma talpoideum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The mole salamander is found in the middle Piedmont region in Virginia. They live in swamps, floodplains, and hardwood forest habitats. The mole salamander is considered a species of greatest conservation in Virginia, but they are more common in other regions in their range within the eastern, and Central United States.

The mole salamander has a stocky body and a large head. They have black, grey, or dark brown coloring. Their sides have a grey or silver mottled coloring. Their tails are thick and edged. On their body is 10 or 11 costal grooves.

The mole salamander mates once a year for two weeks, usually occurring in winter or early spring. Females lay between 200 to 700 eggs a year, which are placed in the water attached to vegetation. Mole salamanders before becoming terrestrial their chances of dying in breeding ponds are extremely high.

Fish, birds, snakes, and small mammals are what feed on the mole salamanders. This species is active any time of the day, but they are mostly seen at night. Cool and rainy nights are when they can be spotted the most, but for the majority of their life, they remain underground or in leaf litter.

6. Tiger Salamander

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) on wet leaves
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) on wet leaves
  • 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 tiger salamander is an endangered species in Virginia and is protected in the state. Grasslands, woodlands, and savannas are common habitats this species lives in, sometimes forests. Tiger salamanders are burrowers and use loose soil to dig their homes. Their burrows are dug up to two feet deep, and they are the only salamander to dig their own home.

Large in size, the tiger salamander is one of the biggest terrestrial salamanders in Virginia. They have gray, or black coloring, and are covered in yellow spots, and bars. Tiger salamanders have yellowish stomachs, and they have 11 to 14 costal grooves on them.

In the winter, or spring tiger salamanders begin to migrate to ponds. Females lay their eggs after two days of mating, dropping up to 100 of them. Their eggs take around 4 weeks to hatch, staying as aquatic larvae in ponds until they reach adulthood.

Worms, snails, slugs, and other small invertebrates they find make up the majority of the tiger salamanders’ diet. Larvae eat small crustaceans and aquatic insects. Deforestation is one of the main causes of tiger salamanders’ population loss in the wild.

7. Two-toed Amphiumas

Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) in dry pine and moist dirt in Jackson, South Carolina, USA
Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) in dry pine and moist dirt – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Amphiumidae
  • Scientific Name: Amphiuma means
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 13.7 to 45.7 inches (34.7 to 116.07 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

Two-toed amphiumas are found in the coastal plains region of Virginia and are native to the southeastern United States. Two-toed amphiumas are aquatic and live in bays, temporary pools, swamps, ditches, and slow-moving streams. Littoral zones in places with lots of vegetation and debris are where they are found most.

Two-toed amphiumas have an elongated body similar to an eel. They have dark brown or black coloring. Near their back, they have two sets of small limbs and two toes on each foot. Their small legs are used to move slowly over land on wet days.

Breeding for this species occurs in late winter. Between 20 to 200 eggs are laid, placed under debris, or in thick vegetation. Females remain with their eggs and incubate them by wrapping their bodies around them. Their eggs hatch around 6 months later.

Two-toed amphiumas eat worms, insects, snails, reptiles, and small amphibians they find. This species may be eaten by water snakes, larger fish, or turtles. The night is when this species is active, as they are nocturnal.

8. Eastern Hellbender

Close up of Ozard Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) being held in hand for picture
Close up of Ozard Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) being held in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Cryptobranchidae
  • Scientific Name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 13 to 24 inches (33 to 61 cm)
  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The eastern hellbender is found in the western corner of Virginia. This species is an aquatic salamander, living in rivers, and fast-flowing streams. Hellbenders are one of the many endangered salamanders in Virginia, affected most by pollution in waters. This salamander lives on the bottom of stream floors, and being nocturnal they hide under rocks on the river during the day.

Eastern hellbenders are the largest salamander in Virginia and the United States. They are able to grow up to 29 in. and weigh up to 5 lbs. Black, gray, or olive brown are the colors, and they are covered in a mottled pattern.

Hellbenders mate in the fall and lay anywhere between 100 to 500 eggs. Males will guard their nest, and eggs hatch in around 2 months. Hellbenders are born with gills, which disappear in around 2 years.

Crayfish and fish are what the hellbender eats the most, but they may also feed on insects and eggs. They have large mouths that gape open to eat animals. This species has a large lung which they use to control their buoyancy.

9. Lesser Siren

Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi) caught near a creek and held for a picture before being released
Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia nettingi) caught near a creek and held for a picture before being released – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Sirenidae
  • Scientific Name: Siren intermedia nettingi
  • Other Names: Eastern lesser siren
  • Adult Size: 7 to 27 inches (17 to 69 cm)
  • Lifespan: Siren intermedia nettingi
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $80

The eastern lesser siren is native to Virginia and is found in the southeastern United States. Warm and shallow waters with lots of aquatic vegetation are where they prefer to live. Lesser sirens are found in the Coastal Plains region in Virginia. Populations of this species in Virginia have been on the decline, and preservation is needed for them.

Eastern lesser sirens have gray to black coloring. This species has a light-colored belly. A pattern of dark spots covers their body. Lesser sirens are elongated bodies, with gills that come out the sides of their heads. Their bodies have 31 to 38 costal grooves.

The lesser siren breeding occurs from fall to winter, varying depending on its location. Their eggs are laid under debris, in the cavities underwater. Lesser sirens have between 200 to 300 eggs, which take a month to hatch. It takes around 2 years for this salamander to reach sexual maturity.

Lesser salamanders use chemical cues to find their food. The diet is carnivorous, and they feed on worms, crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates. Minks, egrets, and water snakes are this species’ main predators in the wild.

10. Greater Siren

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina) on a wooden boardwalk in Barnwell County, South Carolina, USA
Greater Siren (Siren lacertina) on a wooden boardwalk – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Siren
  • Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 7 to 38 inches (18 to 97 cm)
  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The greater siren is native to Virginia and is found in the southeastern corner of the state. This species lives in freshwater aquatic habitats that are filled with vegetation. Greater sirens are native to the eastern United States and are one of the few salamanders in Virginia that do not have a terrestrial phase.

Greater sirens look similar to the lesser siren but have a larger size. They have a robust eel-like body, with spots that cover their back and sides. Greater sirens have faint yellow blotches or dashes that appear on their sides, and they have 36 to 40 costal grooves on their body. Their tails are flat which helps them swim, and they have two small forelimbs used to navigate the bottoms of water.

Greater sirens breed from February to March, congregating together in shallow waters or streams. Females lay up to 500 eggs, which are guarded, and hatch in around 2 months.

If handled or grabbed this species may give out a yelp. Alligators, snakes, and birds are this species’ main predators. Greater sirens feed on aquatic invertebrate bugs or snails. In Virginia, this salamander is rare to find, and they are a species in need of conservation.

11. Many-lined Salamander

Many-lined Salamander (Stereochilus marginatus) on a leafy moist surface in Georgia, USA
Many-lined Salamander (Stereochilus marginatus) on a leafy moist surface – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Stereochilus marginatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3.75 inches (6.4 to 9.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In Virginia, the many-lined salamander is a species that is rare and considered in need of conservation. Many-lined salamanders are only found in the southeastern corner of the state. Wetlands and slow-moving streams in the coastal plain are where this species lives. The drainages of wetlands are what causes their decline in population, and what makes them hard to study.

The many-lined salamanders are named after the thin lines that appear on their sides, while their backs tend to have no pattern. They have a tannish body, with a yellow belly with brown flecks. The many-lined salamander is aquatic, and when first born they have external gills.

Breeding for this species occurs in the fall months, and females lay between 16 to 121 eggs. They lay their eggs under moist debris, which hatch in the next spring. When summer comes and temperatures get too hot many-lined salamanders to aestivate in the substrate.

Small invertebrates and aquatic life like clams are what this salamander eats. Fish, water birds, and aquatic snakes are the many-lined salamanders’ most common predators.

12. 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

Green salamanders are native to the eastern United States in the Appalachian region, and in Virginia, they inhabit the southwestern corner of the state. Green salamanders are a species in need of conservation in the state and have lost population over time. The green salamander gloves in rocky habitats like outcrops, rocky streams, and caves.

This salamander has a green and black mottled pattern that appears on its body. They have a slimy appearance, flat heads, and long legs with squared toes. Their stomachs are grey, with a mottled pattern of yellowish.

Breeding season for this species occurs in the spring, and fall months. Their eggs are laid in rock crevices, and a female may lay between 110 to 30. Their eggs are guarded by their mother and hatch in around 3 months.

Slugs, snails, spiders, and insects are what this species eats. They are a nocturnal species in the hot months, and green salamanders have few predators due to their secretive nature.

13. Southern Dusky Salamander

Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus Auriculatus) close up on mossy leafy surface
Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus Auriculatus) close up on mossy leafy surface – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus auriculatus
  • Other Names: Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Southern dusky salamanders are found in southeast Virginia, and live across the coastal plains are the eastern US. This salamander lives in habitats like ponds, murky waters, swamps, and floodplains. Southern dusky salamanders are a common species in their range and are not considered threatened.

Southern dusky salamanders have dark brown or black coloring. Their limbs are small, with their back legs being longer than their front. They have long tails and a robust head. A mottled pattern covers this dark species.

Breeding for this salamander occurs in the fall months. Females lay 9 to 20 eggs and place them in secluded places like under leaf litter, or rocks. Females occasionally guard their legs against predators like dragonflies. When born their larvae are aquatic, until the metamorphosis which happens in spring. Sexually maturity takes years to complete.

Terrestrial insects and spiders are a few of the things this salamander eats. They are not a protected species but have experienced a population decline like other amphibians because of habitat loss. Southern dusky salamanders are preyed on by animals like snakes, mammals, and birds.

14. 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 – 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: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $25

Northern dusky salamanders are found all across Virginia. They are found in eastern North America and are common amphibians. Freshwater sources like streams or springs are near where this species lives. They inhabit deciduous forests, live in burrows, or hide under debris like leaf litter, and in other moist regions.

A small salamander, the northern dusky ranges in color from brown, orange, gray, or olive. Their bodies have around 14 costal grooves and are very moist. Their tails are long and slender. Older adults have a dark brown, or black color, while younger juveniles may have spots or a mottled pattern.

Northern dusky salamanders are primarily terrestrial and mate in the spring and fall. Females lay between 10 to 30 eggs, and are laid under rocks, near streamsides. Their eggs have an incubation period ranging from 6 to 10 weeks. Northern dusky salamanders are semi-terrestrial, and their larvae are aquatic.

As a generalist feeder, this salamander feeds on whatever is available like slugs, earthworms, and flies. Contamination in waters from heavy metals lowers their populations and impacts their breeding season. The harvesting of forests, and predator fish are also threats this salamander faces.

15. Shovel-nosed Salamander

Shovel-nosed Salamander (Desmognathus marmoratus) on a wet rock with greenery in Oconee County, South Carolina, USA
Shovel-nosed Salamander (Desmognathus marmoratus) on a wet rock with greenery – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus marmoratus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 5 inches (8.89 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years

The shovel-nosed salamander lives in the western region of Virginia. This species lives in cold and fast-moving streams in forests. The shovel-nosed salamander is a species that is listed as the least concern, but like other salamanders experiences population decline.

Having a robust body, this salamander has a nose similar to a shovel. Their tails are flat and like a paddle. Shovel-nosed salamanders have brown, gray, or black coloring, and are covered in a tannish-mottled pattern, with spots on their side.

The larvae form of this salamander is also spent in the water. Their eggs are laid in small clusters, and hatch in around 10 weeks. They have external gills, which are absorbed in metamorphosis.

The shovel-nosed salamander is aquatic, spending its life in fast-moving water. They are very similar to the black belly salamander but spend most of their time in the water. Small aquatic invertebrates and other salamanders are what this species eats.

16. Seal Salamander

Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola) close up on wet bank in creek
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola) close up on wet bank in creek
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus monticola
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.3 to 5 inches (8.3 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In Virginia, the seal salamander is found in the western half of the state. They live in hardwood forests and are found near well-aerated, fast-moving water sources. Their range is located in the region of the Appalachian mountains in the eastern United States. In Virginia this species is stable in the range they live in.

The seal salamander has gray, or light brown coloring. They have dark markings covering thin bodies that look similar to leopard spots. Adults are larger and may be absent markings. Their bellies are pale, and their bodies have 14 costal grooves.

The spring and fall are when this salamander is active most mating. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, feeding on animals they come across. This species may sometimes eat other salamanders.

17. 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
  • 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 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Allegheny mountain dusky salamander is found in the Allegheny Plateau in the region of the Appalachian mountains. This species has a small range in Virginia, near the western, and northern borders. In the wild, they are found in forests near springs, and fresh waters. They prefer rocky and clean waters.

This salamander is medium-sized and has tannish color. They have 14 costal grooves on their body and short limbs. Their bodies may sometimes have lines, or dashes on their back, and sides. They have moist bodies and long tails.

During the breeding season, this salamander may nest in muddy banks, under logs, or underground. The spring and fall are when eggs are laid, and breeding occurs. They lay between 8 to 24 eggs, placing them in hidden areas. In the winter when the cold begins to come this salamander will move from the surface and go underground.

Snails, worms, and other insects are what this salamander eats. Garter snakes, birds, rodents, and other mammals are this species’ main predators. The Allegheny mountain dusky salamander is a species with a conservation status of least concern and has a stable population.

18. Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander

Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus orestes) close up
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus orestes) close up
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus orestes
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4.5 inches (6.35 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The blue-ridge dusky salamander is found in the western corner of Virginia and is found in the Blue Ridge Mountains range in the southern Appalachian Mountains. This species may sometimes be rare to see in Virginia, but in its overall range, and while they have experienced population growth their overall conservation status is least concern.

This species is of medium size, with the largest of them being around 4.5 inches. They have an orange, yellow, red, or tannish color. Their tail is plump, and running down this species’ back is a strip. Their backs can also have spots or a mottled pattern.

Streams, seepages, and rocky freshwater areas are where this salamander lives, and they are sometimes found far from the water at higher elevations. They are mainly terrestrial, but females will lay their eggs under moist rocks, logs, and near shallow water. The summer and fall are when eggs are laid, and they hatch in the spring.

When born larvae feed on aquatic insects, and they only become terrestrial when they undergo metamorphosis. The adults feed on small arthropods and are aggressive with other salamanders since they are territorial. The blue ridge dusky salamander is eaten by predators like birds, small mammals, and other larger salamanders.

19. Northern Pygmy Salamander

Northern Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus organi) in hand close up
Northern Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus organi) in hand close up – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus organi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 1.57 to 3.14 in. (3.98 to 7.97 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

Northern pygmy salamanders are a species that occurs at higher elevations of 3,500 to 5,000 ft. They are found within the state in the Grayson, Smyth, and Washington counties. This species lives in forests, and lives within the Blue Ridge Mountains. The warmer, and dry climates are what lowered this amphibians population, and caused them to be only found in higher elevations.

This species is small in size, and has dark brown, to tan coloring. They have oval-shaped heads and robust bodies. Around 14 costal folds appear on them, and they also have dark tan, or black markings that appear on their back.

Northern pygmy salamanders are entirely terrestrial and do not have an aquatic larvae stage which is common for most salamanders. After hatching their gills are absorbed. In the winter, spring, and fall months mating occurs, and their eggs are laid in moist crevices. Females guard their eggs and wait for them to hatch.

Warm and rainy nights are when the northern pygmy salamander is seen the most. They feed on terrestrial invertebrates and forage around trees and vegetation. On some nights this salamander may climb as high as 7 feet.

20. Flat-headed Salamander

Flat-headed Salamander (Desmognathus planiceps) on rock
Flat-headed Salamander (Desmognathus planiceps) on rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus planiceps
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5.5 in. (13.97 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The flat-headed salamander lives in south central Virginia and has a small range in Roanoke, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Patrick, and Floyd Counties. This species has a secure population in the state and its range. This salamander is one of the few that live in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range.

This species is named after its broad and flat head. They have a flat tail, and they have two grooves on the sides of their head, with 14 costal grooves. Their coloring ranges from gray to brown, and they may have stripes or spots that appear on their backs.

This species breeds during the spring and fall months in Virginia. They lay around 19 eggs, which have a size of 2 to 4 mm. This species prefers to live in cool and fresh streams, and when temperatures get too hot or cold they are thought to be aestivating.

The mating process of this species is not well known because of their secretive nature. Like other species, they are mainly active at night and feed on small invertebrates like insects and spiders.

21. Black-bellied Salamander

Blackbellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) front view of head and eyes
Blackbellied Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) front view of head and eyes – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus quadromaculatus
  • Other Names:
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 8.0 in. (8.89 to 20.32 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In the Blue Ridge, Appalachian Ridge, and Valley region the black-bellied salamanders are one of the few species that live in the area. This salamander lives in rocky streams, seepages, and in burrows near the water. The black-bellied salamanders are aquatic and live in cool, well-oxygenated waters.

The black-bellied salamander has brown to black coloring. They have a blotchy mottled pattern on their back and get their name from their black stomachs. The black-bellied salamander is sometimes confused with the shovel-nosed salamander due to their similar appearance, but this species has a less flat head. They have around 14 costal grooves.

Males of this species court females, wave their arms and rub against them to attract a mate. The black-bellied salamander breeds in aquatic habitats, and on average they lay about 45 eggs. Their eggs have an average diameter of 3.9 mm, and their larvae stage lasts from 1 to 3 years.

The black-bellied salamander feeds on aquatic insects. They ambush prey, and forage mostly at night, sometimes moving away from streams to look for food. Crayfish, larger salamanders, and fish are their main predators.

22. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus welteri
  • Other Names: n/a 
  • Adult Size: 5 in. (12 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Black mountain salamanders live in the western corner of Virginia. This salamander is native to the eastern United States and lives in marshes, forests, springs, and river habitats. This salamander lives at elevations between 980 to 4,000 ft. They are terrestrial and hide under rocks, logs, and in moist vegetation.

Black mountain salamanders have brown or grayish coloring. They have a mottled pattern covering them, and a moist appearance. Their legs are small, and they have between 14 to 16 costal grooves. Their bellies are cream and have a plain appearance.

Adults mate in streams, and wetlands. They lay a cluster of eggs in the water, averaging between 20 to 30. Not much is known about their courtship rituals, but breeding occurs during the spring, and they remain in the larvae stage for around 20 to 24 months. Maturity occurs in 3 to 4 years, and they have a lifespan of up to 20 years.

Beetles, moths, flies, and other insects are what this salamander eats. They are not seen often, and have a secretive nature, only coming out at night. Other salamanders, birds, snakes, and fish are this species’ main predators.

23. 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 native to the eastern United States, and in Virginia, they are found in the northern part of the state. The northern two-lined salamander lives in streams, near forests. You may find this salamander under rocks, logs, and near the banks of streams.

A small species, their bodies are slender, and their tails limbs are small. Their coloring can be olive, yellow, gray, or bronze. Their name comes from the two line markings that run along their side, and they also have a speckled pattern on them. Their bellies are yellow, or white, and have a translucent appearance.

The fall is when this species mates and females lay up to 100 eggs. They place them under rocks or in streams, and females guard their eggs until they hatch. Males have elongated teeth to help them mate and perform a courtship ritual with a female which can take up to an hour.

Newly hatched of this species are aquatic, and the larvae metamorphosis when they are fully grown. This salamander is able to lose its tail if a predator like a snake is attacking. Northern two-lined salamanders feed on insects like roaches, worms, and invertebrates like millipedes, and spiders.

24. 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

Southern two-lined salamanders are endemic to the eastern United States. In Virginia, this salamander is found in most of the state, but not in the far northern region. Forested areas near streams and other freshwater are the habitats they live in. Southern two-lined salamanders are a common species, and not protected in their range.

A small species,this salamander is yellow, or tan colored. They have two lines that run along their sides from their eyes to their tail. Black dots also appear on their backs, and they have around 14 costal grooves. Their bellies are yellow.

Compared to other salamanders in the Plethodontidae, this species is more aquatic. They breed in streams, pools, and ditches, mating in the spring. This salamander lays anywhere between 20 to 100 eggs. Eggs take around 4 to 10 weeks to hatch, and they are completely aquatic. It takes around 1 or 3 years for them to become adults.

Southern two-lined salamanders hide under foliage, and logs which help, and typically come out on moist nights. Their secretive nature helps them avoid predators, and in the winter they are inactive, hibernating. The food this species eats includes midges, beetles, small crustaceans, and mollusks.

25. 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 – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea guttolineata
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.93 to 6.25 inches (10 to 15.9 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $15

Three-lined salamanders live in the southeastern United States. This species lives in the Coastal Plains, and mountainous regions, but are not found in high, elevation areas. They live near streams in forests and swamps. In Virginia, the three-lined salamander inhabits most of the state, except the northwestern regions. Three-lined salamanders are common in their range and are a secure species.

The name of this salamander comes from the three dark lines that run down its body. Their coloring is tan or light yellow. Their limbs are small, and their tail is long. The belly of this species is black and white with marbled markings.

Three-lined salamanders spend their time near stream sides and seepages, and with wet weather, they are more likely to appear on land. Mating occurs in the fall, and winter and their eggs are laid in subterranean regions of streams. Aquatic larvae range from 10 to 13 mm in size, and they remain in this stage for 4 to 6 months.

Three-lined salamanders emerge at night to feed on insects and invertebrates and are not seen often. If looking for this species it is common to find them hiding under debris. In the winter they may become inactive if temperatures get too cold, and will complete their metamorphosis later.

26. 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 lives in Virginia in the western area of the state. This salamander can be found in the eastern United States. They are found in rocky moist areas such as caves, or springs. The spotted-tail salamander may go far beyond a caves twilight zone, also living in forests, and hiding in secluded areas.

This species is orange, and has a slender body, with small limbs. They have an orange, or reddish coloring, and are covered in dark dashes, and dots. Their tail is long and prehensile. The spotted-tail salamander has around 14 to 15 costal grooves on its body.

Mating for the spotted-tail salamander occurs in the summer and early fall. Females produce 5 to 120 eggs, which range from 2.5 to 3.2 mm in size, and have a jelly appearance. Spotted-tail salamanders remain in the larvae stage from 6 to 18 months until they become terrestrial adults.

The spotted-tail salamanders feed on spiders, millipedes, insects, and other terrestrial invertebrates they find. Spotted-tail salamanders are a secure species in Virginia and have an overall conservation status of least concern.

27. Blue-ridge Two-lined Salamander

Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea wilderae) on moss
Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea wilderae) on moss – source
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea wilderae
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.8 to 4.3 in. (7.11 to 19.92 cm)
  • Lifespan: 4.4 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The blue-ridge two-lined salamander is found in high-elevation areas, and in Virginia, they have a small range in the southwestern region of the state. Blue-ridge two-lined salamanders are mainly found in the southern Appalachian Mountains. This salamander was once considered to be a subspecies of the northern two-lined salamander.

Blue-ridge two-lined salamanders have yellow, or orange coloring. Two dark lines run along their sides and go onto their tails. This species is also covered in a black-mottled pattern.

Streams, rivers, and temperate forests are the habitats these species are found often. In Virginia, this salamander is in need of conservation, but in other regions, they have a stable population. Blue-ridge two-lined salamanders are external breeders, and mate in the early spring, and late winter. Females lay between 8 to 56 eggs, and place them under logs, and other crevices.

This terrestrial salamander has a similar diet to other species, feeding on insects, copepods, and nematodes. Other larger salamanders and snakes are this species’ predators. They compete with other similar species, living in similar moist conditions.

28. Blue-ridge Spring Salamander

Blue-ridge Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus danielsi) on muddy forrest floor
Blue-ridge Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus danielsi) on muddy forrest floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus danielsi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.7 to 7.4 inches (12 to 19 cm)
  • Lifespan: 18 years
  • Average Price Range: $50

The blue-ridge spring salamander is found mainly in the eastern United States. This species lives in fishless streams, hardwood forests, springs, and caves. The blue-ridge spring salamander is one of the subspecies of the Northern spring salamander. They have a secretive nature and are not found regularly in their range.

Blue-ridge salamanders have light brown, or orange colors. They are covered in dark specks and have a dark line marking on them. The belly of this species is cream and sometimes appears with black specks. Their heads are broad, and on their bodies are costal grooves.

The breeding of this species occurs near spring and occurs in the winter. Eggs are laid in the late spring, and summer, and are placed underground, or on rocks and crevices. After hatching it takes this larva 3 to 5 years to complete metamorphosis. The larva and adults of this species are nocturnal and hide in secluded areas during the day.

Other salamanders, snails, centipedes, and other bugs are what this insect eats. The blue-ridge spring salamander uses the toxins that secrete from its body to defend itself from predators like small mammals, and snakes.

29. Kentucky Spring Salamander

Kentucky Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi) on stone
Kentucky Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi) on stone – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.8 to 7.5 inches (12.1 to 19.05 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Kentucky spring salamanders are found in the eastern United States and are a threatened species in Virginia. This salamander lives in fishless waters, near forests, and in caves. Kentucky spring salamanders are a difficult species to find and are active throughout the year.

This salamander has a salmon pink to reddish-brown color and a sleek appearance. Dark dots appear on their back and sides. Their limbs are small, and they have a medium-sized length when fully grown. The underside of this species has tan coloring, and there are a few black dots on the bottom of their chin.

The breeding of this species occurs during the winter, and their eggs are laid in the summer and fall. Kentucky spring salamanders lay their eggs in masses, placing them in the crevices of streams, and rivers. Their clutches range from 39 to 63 eggs. Larvae hatch, and complete their metamorphosis in 3 to 5 years.

This salamander is nocturnal and spends its night eating insects and invertebrates. Kentucky spring salamanders are food for animals like garter snakes, and water snakes. The toxin they secrete from their bodies helps defend themselves.

30. 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
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7.5 in. (12.7 to 19.05 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The northern spring salamander is found in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia. This species is endemic to the far east of the United States. They live in forests, and rocky streams, preferring waters that are clean and well-oxygenated. Northern spring salamanders are active at night, hiding under objects like rocks, and logs near streams.

The northern spring salamander is a large species that ranges from reddish to purplish brown in color. This species has a square head, with a pinkish, to white belly. They have a reticulated spot covering their body. Adults have 17 to 19 costal grooves.

Winter is when this species breeds and their eggs are laid underground, and in water seeps. After hatching this species takes 3 to 5 years to complete metamorphosis. Larvae like adult salamanders are secretive, hiding under rocks, and logs in the water.

Northern spring salamanders feed on whatever they come across that they are able to overpower and fit in their mouth. Snails, centipedes, spiders, and insects are common prey. Northern spring salamanders are a common species in their range, and appear most on moist nights.

31. Four-toed Salamander

Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) in a hand
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) in a hand – 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 is found all across Virginia but is absent from the southeastern corner of the state. This species has a scattered range across the eastern United States. Woodlands, swamps, and other similar moist habitats are where this species lives. They hide under debris near the edges of the water, some seen present on moss.

Four-toed salamanders are a smaller species, with reddish brown skin. They have white bellies with black spots. Their rear feet only have four toes, unlike other species that have 5. This salamander has a more dry, and granular appearance. Their body has 13 to 14 costal grooves and a mottled appearance.

Autumn is the breeding season for this species, and eggs get laid in the spring months. Females can lay between 18 to 41 eggs, placing them in moist, hidden crevices near weather. It takes around 5 weeks for their eggs to hatch, and females will defend their young until then. While adult four-toed salamanders are terrestrial, the newly hatched larvae are aquatic for around 6 weeks until they complete metamorphosis.

Four-toed salamanders prey on invertebrates like ants, snails, beetles, flies, and spiders, while their larvae feed on aquatic invertebrates. In the wilds of Virginia, the four-toed salamander is a secure species, and in their overall range, they have a conservation status of least concern.

32. Common Mudpuppy

Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) caught in net and being held for picture
Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) caught in net and being held for picture – 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 mud puppy is an aquatic species that is native to the eastern regions of North America. This species lives in lakes, ponds, rivers, and other clean freshwater habitats. Common mudpuppies are nocturnal but may come out during the day if the water is murky.

Common mudpuppies have elongated bodies and external gills that stick out the side of their head. This species has a brown, gray, or black coloring, and is covered in blackish/blue spots. Their gills are pinkish and get larger in stagnant waters.

Spending all their lives in the water this species reaches maturity at 6 years. Their breeding occurs in the fall, and eggs are laid in the spring. Common mudpuppies lay between 20 to 200 eggs, which are placed in safe regions under rocks, and logs.

Small teeth help this species eat, and hold onto aquatic prey and they use their smell to locate things like crayfish, fish, or eggs. Common mudpuppies are only found in a small region in the western corner of Virginia. While a common species elsewhere in their range, in the state of Virginia they are in need of conservation.

33. Dwarf Waterdog

Dwarf Waterdog (Necturus punctatus) in a cloth in Aiken County, South Carolina, USA
Dwarf Waterdog (Necturus punctatus) in a cloth – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Proteidae
  • Scientific Name: Necturus punctatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 6.25 in. (11.5 to 15.9 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In the state of Virginia, the dwarf water dog is a native salamander, found in the south-central region of the state. This species lives in the far eastern United States, in the Piedmont, and Coastal Plains regions. Dwarf water dogs live in sluggish streams, swamps, flooded fields, and places with lots of leaf litter. This salamander is fully aquatic and is most common in streams.

Dwarf waterdogs are a medium- sized species, with gray, black, or brown coloring. They have a white belly and small limbs with four toes on their feet. The sides of their heads are where their external gills sit, which have a red appearance.

Mating for this salamander occurs in the winter months. March and May are when eggs are laid, and females lay between 15 to 55 eggs. Their larval stage lasts for around 2 years, and they reach sexual maturity at 5 years. When hatched these dwarf waterdogs get as small as 28 mm small.

Insects, worms, and aquatic invertebrates this amphibian comes across are what they eat. Dwarf waterdogs are not a common species in the state, and are in need of conservation. In their overall range, they are listed as a species that is of least concern.

34. Red-Spotted Newt

  • 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

The red-spotted newt is native to the eastern part of North America. They are found state-wide in Virginia and live in woodlands, swamps, and damp deciduous forests are where they live. Red-spotted newts are active in the warmer months of the year. They are seen in the day and night and are terrestrial.

When in their larvae form this species has olive color and feather-like gills. When in their juvenile form their color is bright orange, and their backs have orange spots with a black border on them. Juveniles have rough and dry-looking skin. Adults have an olive green color and are covered in small black dots. They also have orange dots on their back with a black border.

Males court females by holding their tails above their heads, and waving them in the water. Their courtship and egg-laying occur underwater. Females lay between 200 to 375 eggs, placing them attached to vegetation.

Insects, small crustaceans, and other amphibians are what this species eats. To defend themselves from predators this salamander secretes toxins, which can cause skin irritation, muscle paralysis, and death in some animals. They are even able to regenerate limbs if injured young.

35. Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander

Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander (Plethodon chlorobryonis) in back yard
Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander (Plethodon chlorobryonis) in back yard – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon chlorobryonis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.75 to 6.75 in. (12.1 to 17.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Atlantic coast slimy salamander is found in the Piedmont regions of Virginia, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the eastern United States. The Atlantic coast slimy salamanders live in bottomland hardwood forests, and moist woodland habitats.

This salamander has black coloring and is covered in white spots and flecks. Their bellies have a light color, and a white sticky substance secretes from their body. Atlantic coast salamanders have yellowish spots on their sides and a shiny appearance.

You can find this salamander year-round but becomes inactive in extreme hot or cold weather. Atlantic coast salamanders lay their eggs in the spring, laying up to three dozen of them. Eggs hatch in the late summer, and the courtship occurs on land.

Like other similar species, this salamander is able to regenerate limbs, and parts of its body if attacked. Their secretions also help to defend themselves. In Virginia, this salamander is a secure amphibian, as they are in the rest of their range.

36. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4 in. (5.08 to 10.16 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

The red-backed salamander is found in the eastern United States, and in Virginia is found all across the state. This species is terrestrial, living in forested areas that are damp. They live in burrows or hide under debris like rocks and logs. The eastern red-backed salamander is inactive in the cold period and remains underground.

Eastern red-backed salamanders have a red-back, and leadback, phase. The redback coloring is what gives this species its name, and red or orange stripes run across their body. The lead phase has a dark black coloring and is covered in specks. This salamander’s stomachs are black and white with specks.

The different colors of this species are an example of color polymorphism, and while the same species may have behavioral, and habitat differences between the types.

Easter red-back salamanders are able to drop their tails to escape predators, but their secretive nature also helps their survival rate in the wild. Snails, worms, fruit flies, and other small invertebrates make up their diet.

37. White-spotted Slimy Salamander

White-spotted Slimy Salamander (Plethodon cylindraceus) close up on cave floor
White-spotted Slimy Salamander (Plethodon cylindraceus) close up on cave floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon cylindraceus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 8 in (1.43 to 20.32 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

White-spotted slimy salamanders are found all across Virginia, living in temperate forests. This species is secure in the state, and is listed as least-concern. White-spotted salamanders are threatened by habitat loss. They are absent during the extreme heat, and cold but are active for most of the year.

White-spotted salamandersr ar named after the white, or cream colored spots that cover their back, and sides. These speckled salamanders also secrete a white sticky substance from their body. White-spotted salamanders are a medium sized species, and have black coloring.

Breeding for this species is terrestrial, and females lay between 17 to 33 eggs. The fall and spring is when breeding occurs, and eggs hatch in around 2 months. Under logs, rocks, and other moist debris are where this species commonly hides, sometimes bunking with other salamanders.

White-spotted salamanders feed on a variety of invertebrates like centipedes, millipedes, and spiders they find. The milky substance that secretes from their bodies help defend themselves from predators.

38. Dixie Caverns Salamander

Dixie Caverns Salamander (Plethodon dixi) in a cavern
Dixie Caverns Salamander (Plethodon dixi) in a cavern – source
  • Experience Level: Intermeidte
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon dixi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.9 to 6.7 in. (9.9 to 17.01 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Dixie Cavern salamander is endemic to the state of Virginia, and is limited to the Dixie Caverns. This salamander is its own species, but was once believed to be the Wehrle’s salamander species. The Dixie Caverns can be found in Roanoke County in Virginia, and is a cave explored by visitors. In these caverns this salamander can be found in crevices, and on walls.

Dixie Cavern salamanders are a slender medium sized amphibian. This species has black, or dark grey coloring. Their back, sides, and tail are covered in a gold speckled pattern. Their bellies are gray, and their limbs are thin, and long. Their back legs have more webbing than their front.

Not much is known about this species because of their limited range, and lack of studies done on them. Originally this species was described in 1949, and was reconfirmed as its own species in 2019 with the use of DNA analysis.

39. 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

The northern slimy salamander is found in the eastern United States, and is found in most of Virginia. Northern slimy salamanders live in woodlands near debris. They hide under stones and logs in the day, and are seen most often on moist nights. Northern slimy salamanders are a common species, and have a conservation status of least concern.

This species has all black coloring, and is covered in silvery, or gold specks. They have a slimy appearance, secreting a white substance from their body. On their body are around 15 to 17 costal grooves. While both sexes are similar, females are slightly larger which helps with eggs laying.

Sexualy maturity is reached by fellas in their second year of life. Breeding is terrestrial, and occurs in the spring months. A fully terrestrial species, this salamander has no aquatic stage, and is terrestrial after hatching.

Bees, wasps, beetles, snails, and other similar animals are what they eat. They are an opportunistic feeder, eating anything they find. Slimy salamanders hunt at night, and sometimes live in burrows.

40. Valley and Ridge Salamander

Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani) held in left hand for picture
Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani) held in left hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon hoffmani
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.1 to 5.4 in. (7.87 to 13.76 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The valley and ridge salamander is native to the easter United States, found in the Appalachian Mountains. In Virginia they are found in the northwestern area of the state. In their range this species has a secure population. Valley and Ridge salamanders are seen most in the sing and fall months, found in forested habitats.

A smaller species, this salamander has a slender, and long body. Their coloring ranges from brown to black. The tails of this salamander are very long, and make up more than 50% of their overall length. Valley and ridge salamanders are covered in white or bronze specks. Their bellies are dark, and have a mottled pattern.

Mating occurs twice in the year in the spring and fall for this salamander. Eggs are laid in crevices with well-drained soil. When hatched they do not have a larva stage, and spend their lives underground. Insects, and other invertebrates are what they survive on.

41. Peaks and Otters Salamander

Peaks and Otters Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti) in hand for picture
Peaks and Otters Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti) in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodon
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon hubrichti
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.4 to 4.8 in. (8.1 to 12.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

In Virginia the peaks and otters salamanders are found in a small region in the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are found in forests at high elevations between 2,950 to 3,600 ft. in elevation. Peaks and otters salamanders in Virginia are a species that is needed in conservation, due to the lack of natural habitats they live within the state. Their conservation status in their overall range is listed as vulnerable.

Peaks and otters salamanders have a dark brown color, and are covered in brass flecks. They have 17 to 19 costal grooves on their body. Their belly is gray, and lacks any spots.

Peaks and otter salamanders breed more at lower elevations, and are active most on warm, rainy nights. They are found sometimes on vegetation, and fed on small invertebrates. Peaks and otter salamanders lay between 1 to 12 eggs, and mate in the fall. The preservation of the forests they live in is essential in maintaining their populations.

42. Blacksburg Salamander

Blacksburg Salamander (Plethodon jacksoni) on moss covered rock
Blacksburg Salamander (Plethodon jacksoni) on moss covered rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodon
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon jacksoni
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.7 to 5.2 in. (6.85 to 13.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The blacksburg salamander is found in the southeastern United States, and is restricted to the Appalachian Mountains region in southeastern Virginia, and northwestern North Carolina. This species is named after the town of Blacksburg Virginia, which is where it was first sighted.

Blacksburg salamanders are a medium sized salamander, and was originally classified as the Wehrle salamander. They have red spotting on their back, and range from faint, to more obvious on species. Their coloring is dark brown, or black, sometimes appearing with silver flecks.

Blacksburg salamanders are a rare species, and listed as endangered in some of their range. They mate in the spring and winter, laying between 7 to 24 eggs. Their eggs are cared for until they hatch. Toxins are used to defend themselves from predators like rodents or snakes, and they can also detach their tails.

43. Cumberland Plateau Salamander

Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) held in hand for photo
Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) held in hand for photo – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon kentucki
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.9 to 6.6 in. (9.8 to 16.8 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Cumberland Plateau salamanders are native to the Cumberland Plateau, which is located in the southeastern United States. Temperate forests are this species’ natural habitat, and they prefer moist habitats with lots of debris. In Virginia this species is only found in the extreme southwestern region of the state. Cumberland salamanders are an endangered species in Virginia, first described in 1951.

Cumberland Plateau salamanders are slender, with black coloring. They are covered in white spots that appear on their sides, and back. Their belly is grey, with either chin and throat having lighter gray coloring. This species is very similar to other salamanders, and its range is its most identifying feature.

Females lay between 9 to 12 eggs, which take around 2 months to hatch. Males reach their sexualy maturity between 3 to 4 years, while females can lay their first eggs at 4 to 5 years old. They may occasionally hybridize with the northern slimy salamander. Small invertebrates are what this salamander feeds on.

44. Northern Grey-checkered Salamander

Northern Gray-cheeked Salamander (Plethodon montanus) on forrest floor
Northern Gray-cheeked Salamander (Plethodon montanus) on forrest floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon montanus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 5 in. (8.89 to 12.7 cm.)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Northern Grey-checkered salamanders are found in Virginia in the southwestern region of the state. They live in high-elevation hardwood forests, found often under rocks, and logs. Northern gray-checkered salamanders are a secure species in Virginia, and are listed as a species of least-concern in their overall range.

Grey in color, their entire body has this pigment, with lighter coloring behind their eyes, and chin. Younger juveniles look similar to adults. Their bodies are smooth, slender, and their tails are very long.

Northern grey-checked slamaadnes feed on animals like mites, ants, crane flies, and centipedes. Habitat loss is the main threat this species faces. They are found in higher elevation forest over 2,500 feet. Northern grey-checkered salamanders are active most in the months from May to October, and mating also occurs during these seasons, with females laying less than 10 eggs.

45. 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon pauleyi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.4 in. (5 to 6 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Yellow spotted woodland salamanders are native to the United States. This species is very rare, and only a few have been discovered in the wild. They are one of the most rare salamanders in the world, and it is believed only a few remain in the wild. Yellow spotted woodland salamanders in Virginia are thought to occur in the coal country in the western region of the state.

This species is purplish brown, or gray. They are covered in a row of yellow spots, which is where their name comes from. Their yellow spots are located on their sides, and there are around 6 to 12 spots on them. The belly of this species is a light black and yellow mottled pattern.

Like other salamanders this species is nocturnal, and comes out at night to feed on small invertebrates. They come out most on rainy nights, and if threatened they become immobile, and secrete toxins from their body.

46. Cow Knob Salamander

Cow Knob Salamander (Plethodon punctatus) crawling through brush
Cow Knob Salamander (Plethodon punctatus) crawling through brush – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon punctatus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.9 to 6.2 in. (10 to 15.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 o 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The cow knob salamander is a rare species in Virginia, and is one of the many salamanders in the state that is in need of conservation. Cow knob salamanders in Virginia are found in a small area in the Shenandoah and Great North Mountains. They are found in high elevations, and are at high risk of extinction due to their low populations.

A medium sized salamander, this species has a long tail that makes up most of its length. They have a blunt snout, with small legs. Their coloring ranges from dark gray to brown, and they are covered in light spots. The belly of this salamander is gray, and they have pinkish coloring under their thought.

Cow knob salamanders remain inactive for the majority of the year, except breeding season in the fall. They mate similar to other species, but not much is known due to their low populations. A territorial salamander, this species is aggressive with other members it finds.

47. Southern Ravine Salamander

Southern Ravine Salamander (Plethodon richmondi) curled up on forrest floor
Southern Ravine Salamander (Plethodon richmondi) curled up on forrest floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon richmondi
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4.5 in. (7.5 to 11.5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The southern ravine salamander is found in the southwestern region of Virginia. They live in forested areas with ravines, and found often in rocky areas. In the state this salamander is a secure species, as well as in other parts of its range. Southern ravine salamanders are active most in the fall months, and spend the summer, and cold winter underground.

Southern ravine salamanders have an elongated body, with a long tail. They have dark brown, or black coloring, and are covered in white flecks. Their stomachs are gray, and light specks appear on their throats.

Southern ravine salamanders are eaten by animals like snakes, and try to avoid areas with lots of predators. If spotted they curl up into a coil, and attempt to stay motionless to not be seen.

48. Shenandoah Salamander

Shenandoah Salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) on moss
Shenandoah Salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) on moss – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon shenandoah
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.5 cm (7 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Shenandoah salamander is only found in Virginia within a small range in the Shenandoah National Park. This species is only found in a small area on the three mountain tops of Hawksbill, Stony Man, and the PInnacles. This salamander lives around 3,000 feet above sea level. They are a threatened species, vulnerable to extinction due to their small natural habitat.

Shenandoah salamanders are slender, and come in two color morphs. One color morph of this species is the striped morph that can be red or yellow. An unstriped color phase also exists, and this species has yellow spots that appear on its sides. This species looks very similar to the red-backed salamander, but the stripe pattern on their back is smaller.

This species feeds on mites, flies, beetles, on the soil invertebrates. Along with feeding on small invertebrate, this salamander is used for used by animals like snakes. Shenandoah salamanders are most threatened by other salamanders that live in similar areas killing them.

49. Big Levels Salamander

Juvenile Big Levels Salamander (Plethodon sherando) in hands for picture
Juvenile Big Levels Salamander (Plethodon sherando) in hands for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon sherando
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.7 to 4.1 in. (9.39 to 10.41 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

Virginia, in the eastern United States is where the Big Levels salamander is native to. This species was first described in 2004, with its common name referencing the Big Levels region in Augusta County, Virginia. This species is endangered, living in rocky forest habitats. They are threatened by logging, and the degradation of the areas they live.

Big Levels salamanders are small,with a red and gray back. They may have stripes, or posts that appear on them. Their underside is gray, or yellow. The red-backed salamander is a species closely related to them, and both are often confused for one another. Big Levels salamanders are found at elevations between 1,900 and 3,600 feet. Laying 1 to 14 eggs, breeding for this salamander occurs fall through spring.

50. Southern Zig-Zag 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
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon ventralis
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3.5 in. (6.35 to 8.89 cm) 
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Southern Zig-zag salamanders are found in a small region of the state, only occurring in the Scott, and Washington counties. This species lives in forests, but is not seen often since they live underground, and hide under debris like rocks, or logs. Southern zig-zag salamanders are in need of conservation of the state, but have an overall conservation status of least concern.

This species is brown, or gray in color, but individuals may vary greatly. They may have a dorsal stripe, and light specks appear on their sides. The belly of this salamander is red, black, orange, and white mottled.

When breeding in the spring and fall this species lays between 1 to 10 eggs, which hatch around 3 months later. Southern zig-zag salamanders are terrestrial, and larvae are not terrestrial. Insects and other invertebrates are what this amphibian eats.

51. Shenandoah Mountain Salamander

Shenandoah Mountain Salamander (Plethodon virginia) on a small log
Shenandoah Mountain Salamander (Plethodon virginia) on a small log – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon virginia
  • Other Names:
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4.3 in. (7.5 to 11 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The Shenandoah Mountain salamander is a species that lives in the eastern United States. This species is native to the Shenandoah Mountains, in the Appalachian Mountain Range. In the United States this salamanders range covers easter West Virginia, and northwestern Virginia area.

Shenandoah salamanders are medium sized, and have brown, or black coloring. They are covered in silver specks, and have an orangish stripe on their back. They are a limited species affected by the destruction of forest habitats.

52. 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 found in Virginia in the southwestern corner of the state. Swamps, bogs, springs, and other similar habitats are where this species lives. This species is active for most of the year, but becomes dormant in the extreme cold and heat periods of the year.

Midland mud salamanders have bright orange coloring, and have a black speckled pattern. When young they have brown coloring, but become more vibrant with age. This salamander looks very similar to the red salamander, but has slight differences like a smaller snout, and brown eyes.

Insects, spiders, and smaller salamanders are some of the animals this species eats. They mate in the winter, laying up to 127 eggs. They may produce every other year, or every three years.

53. Northern Red Salamander

Northern Red Salamander Pseudotriton ruber ssp. ruber on forrest floor
Northern Red Salamander Pseudotriton ruber ssp. ruber on forrest floor – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber ruber
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.74 to 7 in. (9.4 to 17.78 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

The northern red salamander is found in the eastern United States, and is found in most of Virginia. This species lives in wooded areas near streams, and hides under natural debris. Northern red salamanders are a secure species in the state, and in their overall range have a conservation status listed as least concern.

This salamander is medium-sized, and ranges from orangish brown, to bright red. They lose their bright coloring as they age, and become more darkly pigmented. This species is covered in dark mottled patterns, and irregular lack spots.

They are similar to the mud salamander, but are slightly larger and have more spots. On their body this species has 16 costal grooves, and their eyes have a golden color.

Northern red salamanders are very widespread, but they have experienced population loss similar to other amphibians due to habitat loss. Eggs are laid in the fall, and winter, with females laying between 30 to 130. Larvae and adults feed on small invertebrates they find. Predators of this salamander include birds, and small mammals like raccoons.

FAQ

Are Virginia salamanders dangerous?

No, The salamanders in Virginia and other parts of the United States are not dangerous to humans, but you should be careful when near one. Salamanders secrete toxins from their body, which can be irritating to the skin, and eyes, and make you sick if ingested. Salamanders like other similar animals also carry diseases like Salmonella, and should not be handled.

If you see a salamander in the wild you should not pick them up since you can harm the animal. The permeable skin of amphibians makes it possible for them to take in toxins from your hand.

Where are salamanders found in Virginia?

Woodlands, streams, ponds, marshes, grasslands, and other similar habitats are where salamanders live. Salamanders may live on land, or in water, tending to be active at night.

Rocks, logs, and moist vegetation are common places they hide under. Salamanders can be found all over Virginia, with each species having its own range, and preference for the habitat it lives in.

In Virginia what time of year are salamanders most active? 

The rainy season of spring and winter is when salamanders are active and out the most. In the extremely cold of winter or hot of summer you are not likely to come across any amphibians, since these cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their temperatures. In times of heavy rain, salamanders begin to breed, and some migrate to water pools.

Wrapping up

Salamanders are extremely important in the habitats they live in, as they help keep a balance in the environment. Snakes, birds, fish, and small mammals benefit from salamanders, using them as a reliable food source. They are also helpful animals that feed on pests like insects and spiders.

Keeping the salamanders and other amphibians in Virginia safe is essential in keeping sustaining the various wildlife in North America. There are over 50 species of salamanders in Virginia, and many more living in the North American wilds.

Other nearby states

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