Wildlife Wednesdays: Salamanders and Newts
A new series by Chelsea Kelly, naturalist, celebrating the animals you'll find at London Town!
Salamanders and newts, like the Marbled Salamander (gray pattern), Spotted Salamander (yellow spots), and the Eastern Newt (yellow body), are one of the first signs of Spring, but only if you know where to look.
These secretive, nocturnal amphibians usually spend most of their life under rocks and detritus to stay protected from predators. However, every spring when the rainwater collects into depressions in the ground (called vernal pools), salamanders and newts come out of their hiding places to lay their eggs. Their eggs closely resemble frog or fish eggs.
It may be hard to find them, but it is a good sign when you do, as these animals are an indicator of a healthy habitat.
Take care not to handle them as their skin is covered in secretions of varying toxicity. These can cause irritation if it gets in your eyes or ingested. These secretions also act as a protective coating to deter predators from making them into a meal, except for the Common Garter Snake who has built up a tolerance to their toxins over the years.
Maryland hosts 23 species of these amphibians within the order Caudata. Four are considered endangered: the Green Salamander, the Eastern Tiger Salamander, the Hellbender, and the Mudpuppy.
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