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Due to exceptionally dry conditions, the Department of Wildlife Resources has implemented a complete ban on any open burning (e.g., campfires, grills) on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95, effective immediately and lasting until further notice.

Peaks of Otter Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon hubrichti

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 5 inches

Distribution: This species is endemic to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in Rockbridge, Bedford, and Botetourt counties. They occur in mature hardwood forests with densities peaking at elevations between 2,950 and 3,600 ft.

Identifying Characteristics

The body is uniformly dark brown to black with variable brassy flecks on the back that look like moss. Sides may have small spots. Belly is dark brown to gray.

Did You Know?

While female Peaks of Otter Salamanders at higher elevations will only reproduce biennially, females at lower elevations will reproduce annually.

Role in the Web of Life

Surface activity peaks on warm rainy or humid nights with only about 3–5% of the population typically active. They forage on a variety of invertebrates, and are occasionally found climbing trees. Home range is only a few square feet. Females deposit 1–12 eggs in June and remain with their clutch until hatching occurs in August or September.


Tier I Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan. A 1994 Conservation Agreement protects this species and its habitat.

Last updated: February 22, 2021

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.