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23 Salamanders Found in Indiana (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

Indiana is home to 23 species of salamander, but their numbers are in quick decline. They require undisturbed woodland habitats that are quickly disappearing. Road salts, pesticides, and chemical runoff are all playing huge factors in their population decline.

They are commonly found in brooks, creeks, ponds, and other moist locations such as under rocks and other vegetation. They live in or near water and like to burrow in moist soil. They are shy creatures; you’ll likely have to seek them out to find them.

divider- reptile paw23 Salamanders Found in Indiana

1. Blue-Spotted Salamander

Blue Spotted Salamander front view_Mike Wilhelm_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Mike Wilhelm, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma laterale
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 4-6 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This is a type of mole salamander native to the Great Lakes states and the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. Their skin is bluish-black with blue and white flecks on the back, and bluish-white spots on the sides of the body and tail. Blue-spotted salamanders are primarily found in moist, hardwood forests.


2. Cave Salamander

Species: Eurycea lucifuga
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2-2.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Cave salamanders are slender with long and narrow tails. They are typically red or orange with many scattered black spots. They are primarily found in cave entrances with little light and occasionally in forests, springs, or streams.

They eat invertebrates including flies, crickets, beetles, moths, mites, and other insects. In Indiana, they are restricted to the southeast and extend northwest up through the south-central part of the state.


3. Eastern Newt

eastern newt red spotted
Image Credit: Melinda Fawver, Shutterstock
Species: Notophthalmus viridescens
Longevity: 12-15 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2-2.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Eastern Newts are one of the most widely distributed salamanders in the country and can be found across most of the eastern United States. They are found all over Indiana and frequent small lakes, ponds, and streams or nearby wet forests. The eastern newt produces tetrodotoxin, which keeps them safe from predatory fish.


4. Eastern Red-Backed Salamander

Eastern Red-Backed Salamander_Michael Benard_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Michael Benard, Shutterstock
Species: Plethodon cinereus
Longevity: Up to 25 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3-4.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Found in forested areas under rocks, logs, bark, and other vegetation, Red-backed salamanders are said to have higher numbers in the state. They are mostly insectivorous but have a wide variety of prey. They lack lungs and are entirely reliant on cutaneous respiration for gas exchange.


5. Eastern Tiger Salamander

Eastern Tiger Salamander side view_Milan Zygmunt_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Milan Zygmunt, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma tigrinum
Longevity: 12-16 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 7-10 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This is the largest terrestrial salamander in Indiana. They are thick, black to dark brown with an irregular pattern of yellow blotches. In Indiana, they are found in a variety of habitats but are rarely seen outside of their breeding season. This species feeds on terrestrial invertebrates, but will also prey on frogs, snakes, and other small vertebrates.


6. Four-Toed Salamander

Four-Toed Salamander close up side view_Jay Ondreicka_shutterstock
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
Species: Hemidactylium scutatum
Longevity: 5-9 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1.5-3inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These salamanders are the smallest species found in Indiana. The snout is blunter when compared to other salamanders. This salamander gets its name from the four toes on its hind feet. They are rarely found above ground outside of the breeding season.


7. Green Salamander

Species: Aneides aeneus
Longevity: 10-15 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 4-5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This is a lean, dark salamander with distinctive green blotching that looks like lichen. They are terrestrial salamanders and prefer damp, shaded, hidden areas such as rock crevices or underneath logs. Green Salamanders are widespread across low to mid-level elevations in the Appalachian Mountains but inhabit a very small area in southcentral Indiana.


8. Hellbender

Hellbender side view_Jay Ondreicka_shutterstock
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
Species: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
Longevity: Up to 30 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 18-29 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This is the largest species of salamander in North America. They may be the most distinguishable species with fleshy lateral folds, a flattened body shape, a wide head, and a paddle-like tail. They are generally yellowish-brown but can be darker. This species is dependent on clean flowing rivers. Hellbenders are very susceptible to pollution and because of this, their numbers are declining. They like to prey on crayfish, fish, and smaller aquatic invertebrates.


9. Jefferson’s Salamander

Jefferson’s Salamander side view_Michael Benard_shutterstock
Image Credit: Michael Benard, Shutterstock
Species: Eurycea lucifuga
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Jefferson’s Salamanders are named after Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. It is typically dark gray, brown, or black coloration on the dorsal surface with a lighter anterior. Their lungs are well-developed for burrowing. This species is nocturnal but can be spotted by day during the mating season in early spring.


10. Lesser Siren

Lesser Siren side view_Jason Patrick Ross_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Jason Patrick Ross, Shutterstock
Species: Eurycea lucifuga
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These eel-like, aquatic salamanders have a long, slender body and a narrow head, and visible external gills. They lack rear legs, and their front legs only have four digits. They have yellow stripes on the side of the head, but their base color can vary. Lesser Sirens captured in Indiana have been 20 inches in length or less.


11. Long-Tailed Salamander

Long-Tailed Salamander back view_Ray Hennessy_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ray Hennessy, Shutterstock
Species: Eurycea lucifuga
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Primarily found in rocky brooks, they are also commonly located at the mouths and inside of caves. Long-Tailed Salamanders are often found under rocks. Long-Tailed Salamanders are active from early April to late October and feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.


12. Marbled Salamander

Marbled Salamander close up side view_Jason Patrick Ross_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Jason Patrick Ross, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma opacum
Longevity: 4-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3-4 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These are large, stout black salamanders with marbled white or silver coloration. Females are larger and have a duller coloration while males are smaller and more vibrantly patterned with bright silver bands. Marbled Salamanders are more widely distributed across Indiana.


13. Mole Salamander

Mole Salamander side viewMatthew L. Niemiller_shutterstock
Image Credit: Matthew L. Niemiller, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma talpoideum
Longevity: 6-9 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3-5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This is a small, stocky species with a wide head and a short tail. They are gray to brown in coloration with some dorsal blue speckling that varies with each individual. Mole Salamanders are found throughout the coastal plain of the southeastern United States but are only known as a single population in Posey County.


14. Mudpuppy

Species: Necturus maculosus
Longevity: 9-12 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1-1.5 feet
Diet: Carnivorous

These are large, aquatic salamanders with bushy red gills and a large paddle-like tail. Mudpuppies are found in a wide variety of permanent, aquatic habitats They take cover under rock slabs and logs and are active all year. They have even been captured by ice fishermen in the winter months. Mudpuppies feed on a variety of aquatic species like fish, amphibians, and small invertebrates. They are also known to prey heavily on crayfish.


15. Northern Dusky Salamander

Northern Dusky Salamander side view_Steve Byland_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Steve Byland, Shutterstock
Species: Desmognathus fuscus
Longevity: 10-15 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3-5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This species is either brown or black with pronounced jaw muscles and muscular hind legs. They are distinguished by a distinct light line running from their eye to the posterior end of the jaw. They are an aquatic salamander and their habitat in Indiana consists of rocky gorges in the far western area of the state. They feed upon a variety of small invertebrates.


16. Northern Ravine Salamander

Species: Plethodon electromorphus
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3-4 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

This species has been found in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. They have short legs and an elongated body that exhibits a more wormlike appearance. Their habitat consists of temperate forests and rocky areas.


17. Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern Slimy Salamander_Jay Ondreicka_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
Species: Plethodon glutinosus
Longevity: 5-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 5-7 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These are black salamanders with white speckling found in the rocky woodlands and streams.  They will seek shelter under bark, logs, and rocks. They are rarely seen during daylight hours and are most active from April to October. These salamanders feed on mostly ants and beetles but include a variety of terrestrial invertebrates.


18. Northern Zigzag Salamander

Species: Plethodon dorsalis
Longevity: 5-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 2.5-3.5 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Northern Zigzag Salamanders are small, slender, and often marked with a zig-zagged red or orange dorsal stripe. This is a secretive species found under rocks, logs, and leaves. It’s more common to find them in spring and late fall. They are known to retreat underground during the winter and summer months. Their diet consists of insects and other invertebrates.


19. Red Salamander

Species: Pseudotriton ruber
Longevity: 10-20 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 4-6 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These red-colored salamanders come complete with black dorsal spots. Coloration in this species varies from bright red to dull reddish-brown. They tend to get darker with age. Active year-round and never far from water, they are commonly seen crossing roads on rainy nights.


20. Small-Mouthed Salamander

Small-Mouthed Salamander_Tyler Albertson_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Tyler Albertson, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma texanum
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1.5-2 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Gray or black with lighter gray mottling on the sides, Small-Mouthed Salamanders are identical to Streamside Salamanders. The two species can be identified by distribution and habitat preference. They are found in crayfish burrows but will remain underground during dry periods. This species is active in winter and rarely seen during the summer months.


21. Southern Two-Lined Salamander

Southern Two-Lined Salamander_Nathan A. Shepard
Image Credit: Nathan A. Shepard, Shutterstock
Species: Eurycea cirrigera
Longevity: 7-10 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 3.5-4 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

Identified by the unique two lines on their body, these species are most active in spring, summer, and fall. They are commonly found flipped under rocks and forage through streams to feed on invertebrates. This is one of the most widespread species of salamander in Indiana.


22. Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander
Image Credit: FredCCSTI, Pixabay
Species: Ambystoma maculatum
Longevity: Up to 20 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 8-10 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These stocky, large salamanders are gray or black with yellow spots. The yellow spots can become orange near the head. They have a wide distribution across the eastern United States. Spotted Salamanders are common throughout forests in Indiana, but do not reside in the northwestern sand prairies of the state.


23. Streamside Salamander

Streamside Salamander close up side view_Mike Wilhelm_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Mike Wilhelm, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma barbouri
Longevity: Up to 20 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 5-7 inches
Diet: Carnivorous

These large salamanders are either gray, brown, or black.  They breed in the winter, and eggs are deposited anytime between January and March. Streamside Salamanders are distributed in a small region that includes southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and northern Kentucky.

divider- reptile pawConclusion

Salamanders are unique and fascinating amphibians. They tend to be a secretive animal that likes to remain hidden. You may have to go out of your way to locate a salamander in Indiana and some species are more widespread than others.

Salamanders can be kept as pets but you will need to consider their unique needs and ensure you put together an ideal habitat, keep up with their dietary needs refrain from handling. It is never recommended to take a wild animal from its natural habitat to keep as a pet.

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Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.