Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum

Order: Caudata Family:

Natural History Information

  • The skin of a spotted salamander is blue-black or dark grey with two rows of yellow or orange spots that begin at the base of the head and continue down the back. The belly is slate gray. One of the larger members of the mole salamander family, spotted salamanders can reach 6 to 9.75 inches in length.
  • Breeding occurs in March and April. Heavy rains and warming temperatures prompt migration to breeding ponds, which are semi-permanent ponds without fish. The female will lay one or more egg masses, each of which contain about 200 eggs. Larvae hatch 1 to 2 months after the eggs are laid. They look like tadpoles, but they have feathery gills branching out from their heads. At about 2 to 4 months of age, the larvae will transform into their adult form, although they will only be about 2.5 inches long.

Range and Habitat

  • Spotted salamanders can be found from south-central Ontario to Nova Scotia, and south to Georgia and eastern Texas. Preferred habitat is hardwood forests and hillsides around pools and flooded areas.


  • Spotted salamanders can live up to 20 years.

Ecosystem Role

  • Adult salamanders spend most of their time underground or under logs in order to keep their skin moist. Due to this fact, not much is known about adult behavior.

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Life Cycle Natural History Relevant Information
  • Temperature, Humidity, Light Cycles
  • Substrate:
  • Social Housing/Colony Management
  • Other General Housing Requirements or Management information

Diet Requirements

  • Life Cycle Relevant Information
    • In the wild, spotted salamanders eat earthworms, snails, slugs, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, isopods, and insects.
  • Diet under human care
    • In captivity, they are fed crickets.

Veterinary Concerns

Enrichment & Training


  • Behavioral Relevant Information
  • Environmental Enrichment
  • Behavioral Enrichment
  • Schedule
  • Other Enrichment Resources


  • Behaviors Trained
  • Reinforcers used & schedule of reinforcement

Programmatic Information

Messaging Themes

  • Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park: Generally, our little “Spot” is a good tool for explaining things like cutaneous respiration and ecosystems, but he isn’t touchable and the kids are pretty (sadly) unimpressed.

Threats and Conservation Status

  • The overall population of spotted salamanders is stable, but some regional population populations in the Northeast are declining due to pollution that halts the development of salamander eggs. Salamanders throughout their range are also threatened by habitat loss.

Interesting Natural History Information

Did you know…

Handling & Presentation Tips

  • Presented in a carrier/terrarium.

Use Guidelines

Public Contact and Interaction Guidelines

Transportation Tips

Crating Techniques

Temperature Guidelines

Acquisition Information


Contributors and Citations

  • The Philadelphia Zoo