The spotted salamander, also known as the yellow-spotted salamander is an amphibian. The scientific name of this species is the ambystoma maculatum. This creature's natural habitat is a deciduous forest (filled with leafy trees and bushes) located in eastern Canada as well as eastern and midwestern United States. It takes shelter under fallen leaves and underground burrows, where it also hibernates during the winter.
This amphibian measures an average length of 7 in. (18 cm). The main color of its body is either black, bluish black, dark grey or brown. Two uneven rows of spots are covering the top of the head down to the tip of its tail. The colors of the spots vary as the ones on the head are orange while the other ones are yellow. The underside of the spotted salamander is a mix of grey and pink.
This carnivore feeds on spiders, worms, millipedes, crickets and slugs. This nocturnal creature only comes out of its shelter at night to hunt for food or on a warm, rainy spring night to travel to its mating pond. Large groups of salamanders can be seen in one night. Once there, the mating process will occur and the female will lay 100 eggs and hides them underneath aquatic plants, preferably green algae.
The eggs are covered and protected by a jelly substance that will allow the oxygen to seep through it. Together, the algae and the eggs live a symbiotic relationship as they help each other out. While the eggs use the oxygen, they will then transform it into carbon dioxide which the algae need to survive. After a month or two, the larvae will hatch from the eggs and remain in the water until they reach 3 or 4 months old, at which time they will lose their gills. Without gills, they will be able to live on land.
The spotted salamander has a natural defense mechanism, which protects it against predators. Glands located on the back of its head, its neck and its back secretes a white liquid that can poison predators. The life expectancy of this amphibian is 20 years although some have been known to live as long as 32 years old.
Unfortunately, due to the facts that spotted salamanders are often sold as pets, they are sensitive to ecological changes such as the acidity level of the water and the loss of natural habitats, their population has decreased.
Let's respect the natural habitat of the spotted salamander and not adopt them as pets. This way, it will prevent their possible extinction!
Here are some resources linked to the Spotted salamander.