Four-toed Salamander / Salamandre quatre doigts
This small salamander is reddish-brown above with gray sides. The belly is white with black
spots. It differs from all other terrestrial salamanders because is has only four toes on
the hind feet. Most salamanders have four toes on the front feet but five on the hind feet.
It also has a constriction at the base of the tail. Total length, including the tail, may
each 10 cm.
The Oregon Ensatina also has a contriction at the
base of the tail, but it has five toes on the hind feet and is restricted to the west
coast. The Northern Spring Salamander can
have similar colouration but has a pale bar from the eye to the nostril.
Four-toed Salamanders are found in southern Ontario, southwestern Québec, Nova
Scotia and Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. They are also widely distributed east
of the Mississippi River in the United States, with a few locations to the west.
These salamanders are restricted to bogs, boggy streams and flood plains in woodland areas.
They are often associated with sphagnum moss in which they lay their eggs. They can also be
found in the nearby hardwood forests.
Mating usually occurs in fall and eggs are laid in early spring. Two or more females may
share a nest, laying about 30 eggs each in small cavities in sphagnum moss, a few
centimetres above the water line. The females tend the eggs which hatch in one or two
months. The newly hatched larvae wriggle down to the water where they spend about six weeks
before transforming. They reach sexual maturity in about two years.
Four-toed Salamanders hibernate underground. Like many salamanders, they are able to escape
some predators by having their tail break off. This soon regenerates.
Declines have not been reported in this species.