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Salamanders: Frequently-Asked Questions

Are hellbenders poisonous?

This is folklore. Although they can bite, they are neither venomous nor poisonous to handle.

What is the difference between a salamander and a newt?

Many salamanders have an aquatic larval stage and a terrestrial adult stage. Newts, which are a type of salamander, have a terrestrial juvenile stage (red eft) and aquatic adult stage.

What is the difference between a salamander and a lizard?

Salamanders are amphibians typically with moist skin, while lizards are reptiles with dry scaly skin. Lizards also have an external ear opening, a claw on each toe, and lay leathery (shelled) eggs.

How long do salamanders live?

Woodland salamanders may live up to 32 years. However, a hellbender was recorded living up to 55 years.

Where do salamanders go during the winter?

During the colder months, many terrestrial species seek refuge underground in burrows or under leaf litter. For ambystomids, they can sometimes be found on rainy, winter nights migrating to breeding sites.

How far will salamanders travel?

Many woodland species never move more than a few feet from where they hatched, while tiger salamanders have been known to travel up to half a mile from their breeding site.