Natural Area Preservation

Four-Toed Salamander

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​​​Hemidactylium_scutatum.jpgHemidactylium scutatum. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.​

Natural History

This species is generally uncommon, and populations tend to be localized. They inhabit moist deciduous woodlands usually near creeks, sphagnum seepages, bogs or boggy ponds. Four-toed Salamanders are usually found under logs or other debris.  Hibernation occurs in rotting logs, beneath leaf litter, or below ground. Many may congregate in a suitable area. 

Reproduction and Growth

Courtship and mating occur in late summer and fall. The females migrate to breeding sites from late March-June. During this season, they seek woodland ponds or creeks where mosses, rotting logs, leaf litter, or grass are by the water. ​Sphagnum moss over shallow, permanent or semi-permanent water appears to be favored where available. Female deposits 15-70 eggs in the nest. They moisten their eggs through skin secretions. Frequently, two or more females lay eggs in communal nests, but only one female at a time attends the nest. Larvae hatch in 1-2 months. Metamorphosis occurs within 3-8 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached in the third year.


Populations are often restricted to isolated colonies. The chance​ for dispersal into new habitats may be very limited. This species is vulnerable to the effects of human activities.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands

  • Permanent wetlands

  • Forests

​​​​​Natural Area Preservation
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Remy Long​
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Hand
  Stewardship Specialist