The Maryland DNR website shows a list of 21 salamander species in Maryland. In this fair Free State I have only seen 3: the Red Backed Salamander (common woodland vertebrate and the tiny one you see when you turn over rocks) and the Spotted Newt (in breeding pools, also Newts are just salamanders with a different name (source: the internet)). And this one!!!!! The Spring Salamander. This photo is from the month of November in the year 2012. I was on an ANS walk at Sugarloaf Mountain and of course I was lagging behind the group looking under various debris searching for what-have-yous. This guy was beneath a log, and I almost didn’t see him! Yet he is large- at least twice as long as a little Red Backed and quite plump. The biggest Spring Salamander recorded here in MD was a whopping 8.5 inches! Stephanie Mason, ANS Naturalist, carries multiple field guides into the woods, and thanks goes out to her for IDing this amphibious friend on our walk. The real stand out feature of these guys is their thick, webbed tail. Maryland’s DNR website describes it as “keeled”.
Though bigger than the little Red Backed, Spring Salamanders are likewise lungless, breathing through their skin… and so their name comes from their preference for staying wet or damp. Fall is a good time to find salamanders out and about, particularly on wet days… So go forth and if you are lucky enough to find one remember not to dry out that external breathing apparatus by holding them with dry hands (also please tell me!) :-).