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9 Salamanders Found in Maine

Blue Spotted Salamander front view_Mike Wilhelm_Shutterstock

Although most people know what a salamander is, only few know that there are different types of salamanders all across the United States. In Maine alone, there are nine types of salamanders, such as the Mudpuppy, Eastern Newt, and Redback Salamander.

Because salamanders are amphibians, you will typically find them in moist environments, though some salamanders in Maine are fully terrestrial. To learn more about the nine salamanders found in Maine, read on.

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9 Salamanders Found in Maine:

1. Mudpuppy

Species: Necturus maculosus
Longevity: 11 years
Good to own as a pet: Yes
Adult size: 10 – 16 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

Maine’s largest salamander is the Mudpuppy, and it is the only reptile and amphibian that is known to have been introduced to Maine. More specifically, Mudpuppies were accidentally introduced to Maine in the late 1930s by biology professors.

Today, you can find Mudpuppies primarily in the Great Pond, Long Pond, and other surrounding bodies of water. Mudpuppies are different from other salamanders in that they are very large, brown, and completely aquatic. Not to mention, they have three red eyes.


2. Blue-Spotted Salamander

Blue Spotted Salamander side view_James DeBoer_Shutterstock
Image Credit: James DeBeor, Shutterstock
Species: Ambystoma laterale
Longevity: Unknown
Good to own as a pet: No
Adult size: 3.5 – 5.5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The best time to spot the Blue-Spotted Salamander is whenever Wood Frogs and other creatures are waking from their annual hibernation. You can find Blue-Spotted Salamanders on days when it is raining. Other than that, Blue-Spotted Salamanders like to hide in densely packed wood areas so that they cannot be seen by others.

The Blue-Spotted Salamander has been compared to old time enameled cookware. That’s because it has a dark blue background with blueish-white spots all over. You can be on the lookout for these gorgeous-looking salamanders in 16 of Maine’s counties.


3. Spotted Salamander

spotted salamander on a water lily
Image Credit: Fred Ménagé, Pixabay
Species: Ambystoma maculatum
Longevity: 20 – 30 years
Good to own as a pet: Yes
Adult size: 6 – 10 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

Much like the Blue-Spotted Salamander, you can see the Spotted Salamander whenever the warm spring rains emerge and start melting the snow from the winter. During the spring, you can easily find Spotted Salamanders breeding in streams, pools, and ice. Other than their mating season, it can be hard to find the Spotted Salamander.

Although the Spotted Salamander has the same general pattern as the Blue-Spotted Salamander, they look very different. Most importantly, the Spotted Salamander is either gray, brown, or black with orange spots down the mid dorsal line. They also have bright yellow eyes that are impossible to miss.


4. Eastern Newt

eastern newt
Image Credit: lakewooducc, Pixabay
Species: Notophthalmus viridescens
Longevity: 12 – 15 years
Good to own as a pet: Yes
Adult size: 2.5 – 5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The Eastern Newt is Maine’s native aquatic salamander. Once again, the Mudpuppy is aquatic, but it is not native. So, the Eastern Newt is unique among Maine salamanders because it is only found in the water. Shockingly, you could find the Eastern Newt in every single county in Maine.

The Eastern Newt can come in many colors, such as olive green, bright green, yellow, and brown. They often have black specks and freckles all over their bodies. Similarly, the Eastern Newt has red spots that have black borders.


5. 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: 2.5 – 4.5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The Dusky Salamander is easily the most unique and individualistic salamander. Instead of having one standard color, Dusky Salamanders can come in many colors and patterns. Not to mention, those colors and patterns can change or darken as the salamander gets older. As a result, Dusky Salamanders can be a bit difficult to identify.

If you look hard enough, you are most likely to find Dusky Salamanders around woodland streams, springs, and other small bodies of water in forests. That being said, they cannot handle a wide range of water temperatures like other salamanders, such as the Mudpuppy.


6. Two-Lined Salamander

Southern Two-Lined Salamander_Nathan A. Shepard
Image Credit: Nathan A. Shepard, Shutterstock
Species: Eurycea bislineata
Longevity: Unknown
Good to own as a pet: No
Adult size: 2.75 – 4.5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The Two-Lined Salamander is a specific type of Brook salamander. In fact, it is the smallest and most populous of the Brook salamander types. You can find Two-Lined Salamanders in just about every watershed or stream in Maine. So, you don’t have to look too hard to find one.

As you would expect from its name, the Two-Lined Salamander has two dark stripes that are dorsolateral. The rest of its body has a yellowish color, and its tail has a ridge so as to aid in the swimming process. The ridge is relatively easy to see, considering the salamander’s small size.


7. Redback Salamander

RedBack Salamander side view_Mike Wilhelm_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Mike Wilhelm, Shutterstock
Species: Plethodon cinereus
Longevity: 25 years
Good to own as a pet: Yes, for experienced salamander owners
Adult size: 2 – 5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The Redback Salamander is the most common of all amphibians and possibly the most common vertebrate in all of Maine. Interestingly, even though Redback Salamanders are so common in this state, they are rarely seen. The best time to look for one is in the forest between the seasons of spring and fall.

What makes Redback Salamanders so unique is that they are entirely terrestrial. Most other salamanders are semi-aquatic, if not fully aquatic. What this means is that the Redback Salamander is the only kind that spends its entire reproductive life on land.

Redback Salamanders come in three color versions. In Maine, you are most likely to see the red back phase or the lead back phase. There is a scarlet phase as well, but it has not been identified in Maine.


8. Four-Toed Salamander

Four-Toed Salamander close up side view_Jay Ondreicka_shutterstock
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
Species: Hemidactylium scutatum
Longevity: Unknown
Good to own as a pet: No
Adult size: 2 – 4 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

The Four-Toed Salamander has been a bit of an enigma in Maine. It was first spotted in the 1930s, but it wasn’t spotted again until the late 1950s. After that, the third spotting wasn’t documented until 1976. Needless to say, it can be a bit difficult to spot Four-Toed Salamanders.

Nevertheless, Four-Toed Salamanders are super easy to identify. They have only four toes on the hind feet, a tail with a unique basal constriction, and a bright white belly speckled with little bits of black.  Although it may be really difficult to find a Four-Toed Salamander, at least you will be able to identify it with ease if you happen upon one!


9. Spring Salamander

Species: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Longevity: 15 – 20 years
Good to own as a pet: No
Adult size: 5 – 7.5 in.
Diet: Carnivorous

Finally, the last salamander found in Maine is the Spring Salamander. Of Maine streamside salamander varieties, the Spring Salamander is the brightest, largest, and least common. These salamanders are very muscular and powerful, but they are typically found in some of the coolest habitats.

Spring Salamanders are pretty large, and they have a unique coloration that is somewhere between salmon, pink, and orange. They also have a bit of mottling on their sides, tail, and back. One really pretty feature of the salamander is that there is a light line that begins at the salamander’s eye and curves down over its nose.

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Conclusion

Salamanders can be found all over Maine, whether it be in the streams, under frozen sheets of ice, or on the ground. Of course, certain salamanders are easier to find than others. It won’t take much effort to locate a salamander near you, but you have to be quiet, still, and patient so as not to scare the salamander away.


Featured Image Credit: Mike Wilhelm, Shutterstock

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