The Four-Toed Salamander (classified by scientists as Hemidactylium scutatum) is a small salamander, usually between 2 and 4 inches in length. Its name comes from the 4 toes on each of its hind feet--most other salamanders have 5 toes. The back is reddish-brown and its belly is milky white, often with black splotches. The Four-Toed salamander has a short head with large eyes and a long tail. Did you know that this tail can come off if pulled hard enough by an enemy??
This salamander can be found under stones, dead wood, or moss. It likes marshy or boggy areas. The adults live in hardwood forests but larvae need to grow in water pools. Thus, the salamander can often be found in areas that combine these two aspects: moist forests with plenty of rainfall. Four-Toed salamanders eat insects, spiders, and worms that they find under the rocks and logs where they live.
After the rain in the spring, females move to pools of standing water in the forest to lay their eggs. They nest in the moss around these pools, turning upside down so that the eggs can attach to hanging moss above. To help them stick, the eggs are coated in a whiteish, sticky material. It can take between 12 to 72 hours for the female to lay all her eggs! The eggs will hatch in about 7 weeks, but take 2 1/2 years to be fully mature adults.