Wildlife Wednesday 06/26/2024

Happy #WildlifeWednesday! The Wilderness Center’s high quality habitats are home to many species of salamanders. One of the terrestrial salamanders that can be found is the Northern slimy salamander.

Its common name comes from the sticky slime it produces in glands on its tail and lower back, which it uses to defend itself from predators. The glue-like slime is very adhesive and binds to the attacker, inhibiting its ability to move and bite.

An amphibian and member of the plethodontid family, this lungless salamander conducts respiration through its skin and tissues lining the mouth. Its preferred habitat is woodlands and ravines, where it spends its time under cover in moist soil and damp leaf litter beneath large stones and rotting logs.

This black salamander with silvery spots along its back is active at night, feeding on earthworms, slugs, spiders, ants, beetles, and other invertebrates. Fiercely territorial, it will defend its territory from rival slimies and other salamander species with tail whipping, slime secretion, vocalizations, and biting. In fact, its genus name “Plethodon” means “great number of teeth.”

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