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 Illinois

  SALAMANDERS   

HOW WILL I KNOW?

Salamander adults have the following traits:
*4 legs (most species)
*relatively long tail
*definite head
*no scales, feathers or fur.

WHERE WILL I FIND THEM?

Most salamanders may be found in moist places. They tend to be active at night. Sometimes you can find them roaming on land in the spring or fall after a rain. In the spring you might see them at ponds when they are ready to reproduce.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THEM?

Salamanders have mucous glands in the skin. The mucous keeps the skin moist and slick. These animals can breathe through their skin. Because they are slick, predators may have a hard time catching them.

Salamander eggs are laid in water and covered with a jellylike substance. Eggs hatch into larvae that breathe with gills. As they grow, larvae develop legs, and in most cases, lungs. Although a few remain entirely aquatic, most adults leave the water and live on land.

Salamanders are carnivores. They are also a food source for many other organisms.

TIGER SALAMANDER

Ambystoma tigrinum
(am-BIS-toe-muh tie-GRIN-um)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

statewide in Illinois

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

A large (7-8.25 inches) blue-black or brownish-black salamander with irregular yellow blotches. The belly is olive-yellow with dark streaks.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

The tiger salamander is active at night and spends most of its time underground. It may live in disturbed areas like cites and farm fields. It eats about anything that it can catch, especially worms and insects.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

Breeding occurs in early spring. Clusters of 25-100 eggs are attached to objects on pond bottoms. Eggs hatch in about three weeks. Larvae transform in July.

Read & Color

Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.

MUDPUPPY

Necturus maculosus
(NECK-tour-us MACK-u-low-sus)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

statewide in Illinois

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

This large (8-13 inches), aquatic salamander has permanent, bushy, external gills. Its head is flat. The body is gray with scattered black blotches.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

Also called the waterdog, this animal lives in lakes, lagoons, rivers and large creeks. It is sometimes caught by fisherman especially in debris around bridge supports. The mudpuppy is very slimy. It eats fishes, arthropods, annelids, and mollusks.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

A female lays about 100 eggs under rocks or logs in the water. Each egg is suspended in a jellylike sac. Eggs hatch after about two months.

Read & Color

Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.

SMALL-MOUTHED SALAMANDER

Ambystoma texanum
(am-BIS-toe-muh tex-A-numb)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

southern two-thirds of Illinois

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

The small-mouthed salamander is medium-sized (4.5-5.5 inches). It is gray, black or brown and often has patches of gray on the sides of its tail and body. The head is narrow, and the mouth is small.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

This salamander may be found in woodlands, prairies, pastures and cultivated fields. It feeds on earthworms, slugs and arthropods. It is mainly active at night and tends to spend most of its time hidden under objects or in underground burrows.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

Breeding occurs in the early spring. Masses containing 6-30 eggs are laid on vegetation in any standing water that can be found. Eggs hatch within a few days, and the larvae transform in late May through July.

Read & Color

Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.

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