12 Types of Salamanders in Canada

Types of Salamanders in Canada
Photo by Asha Taylor

Salamanders are amphibians that thrive in moist environments, swimming and catching prey underwater.

In Canada, you need to know about four salamander species to ensure their populations’ health and reduce your risk of coming into contact with them.

These types of salamanders in Canada include spotted, tiger, rough-skinned, and dusky salamanders.

Here’s what you need to know about each one. This guide will help you identify common and rare salamanders in Canada and their habitats and behavior when they’re out of the water.

1. Spotted Salamander

The spotted salamander is the only species of salamander native to Canada. It can be found in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but is mainly on Cape Breton Island.

They live close to freshwater sources, such as lakes and streams, but also inhabit forests and meadows with damp soil.

The average lifespan for these salamanders in Canada ranges from 20-30 years. These different types of Salamanders in Canada grow up to 15 cm long.

The head is large compared to its body and has short, thick limbs. It is a solid dark brown or black color with orange blotches covering its back and tail. 

Unlike salamanders, they don’t have spots on their legs or belly. Instead, three rows of small bumps run down its spine. These are called tubercles.

Another attractive characteristic of the spotted salamander is that it breathes through four small external gills behind its head.

This salamander lives all year round but hibernates during winter months under logs, rocks, or leaves.

2.Western Tiger Salamander

The Western Tiger Salamander is one of the most common types of salamander in Canada.

They are often found near streams, lakes, and ponds and can be identified by the markings on their back. These markings can vary depending on the individual. 

They are typically black with a yellow or orange stripe running down the middle, but they can also be completely black with no lines whatsoever.

These types of salamanders in Canada have a life span of five to ten years and an average size of six to eight inches long. 

For them to survive, they need clean water sources as well as enough food sources.

For this reason, people need to stay away from areas where these salamanders live so that the environment remains undisturbed.

Unfortunately, these salamanders are declining due to development and pollution in some areas. 

3. Common Mudpuppy

The common mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) is Canada’s most well-known type of salamander.

They are also known as water and live exclusively underwater, meaning they can’t breathe air. 

Mudpuppies typically range from 1-2 feet long, with females larger than males. Their broad heads, flat tails, and webbed toes help them swim through the water.

Mudpuppies spend their time hunting for prey like worms, slugs, crayfish, and fish eggs on the bottom streams or lakes where they live. 

Mudpuppies can’t see very well, so they rely on their sense of smell to find food. These types of salamanders in Canada often use their pointed tongues to catch their prey by quickly shooting it out of its mouth.

Mudpuppies reproduce by releasing eggs into the water and attaching them to rocks near the shoreline. Females release between 8-40 at a time, while males only release 2-6.

4.Eastern Tiger Salamander

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is one of the largest salamander species, weighing about four pounds. The females are usually more extensive than the males.

These types of salamanders in Canada have a thick bodies with dark gray or black coloring that resembles tiger stripes, hence its name. 

Its belly is yellow with some vertical brown streaks on it. This species can live up to 12 years but usually only make it up to 6.

The Eastern Tiger Salamander spends most of its time underground and burrows through moist soil so it can breed and lay eggs underwater when rain or snowmelt floods the ground. 

It feeds on worms, slugs, earthworms, and other invertebrates in the soil. It hunts using vibrations that it feels through its skin.

When threatened, this salamander will stay still as if dead or dash away into the water, where they dive to escape predators. 

It is a candidate for endangered status because of habitat loss from development and fragmentation from farming practices such as row cropping, which leads to compacted soil with very few places for them to hide from predators.

5. Northern Dusky Salamander

The Northern Dusky Salamander is one of the most common types found in Canada. It has a brown body and grey-brown blotches paired with black spots on its back.

These types of salamanders in Canada have two dorsal stripes, usually white or blue. 

Adults range from 2 to 5 inches long and can be found near streams, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.

They prefer humid environments and are primarily active during wet weather conditions. They will often swim underwater for up to 20 minutes before resurfacing for air. 

The Northern Dusky Salamander breeds between February and May and lays eggs at the edge of water sources, where they attach themselves to submerged objects like rocks or logs.

Females will lay between 8-40 eggs at once, often depositing them in bunches that look like rings around a tree trunk.

6. Northern Two-Lined Salamander

The Northern Two-lined Salamander is the giant and most common salamander found in Ontario.

It has a brown body with a two-line pattern along its back. These types of salamanders in Canada are typically located near water and feed on insects and worms. 

The Northern Two-lined Salamander is nocturnal and often hides under rocks or logs during the day. This species lays its eggs underwater, taking around six months to hatch.

After hatching, the tadpoles remain aquatic for several weeks before turning into terrestrial adults. 

These different types of salamanders in Canada can live up to twelve years. Like many other salamanders, this species suffers from human-induced threats, including pollution and habitat destruction.

Furthermore, because they spend much of their time near water, these salamanders risk being exposed to contaminants such as pesticides detected in nearby streams. 

In addition, since this species spends so much time underwater, it may also be exposed to fish diseases that spread quickly through the rivers.

If you come across a wild Northern Two-lined Salamander, please remember not to handle them without wearing gloves; never release them into your garden pond, and don’t allow pets or livestock near the animal.

7.Wandering Salamander

The wandering salamander is a type of amphibian that is found in parts of Canada.

These types of salamanders in Canada live in forests near rivers and streams, so it’s relatively easy for them to find food and water.

They can live for about 20 years and grow up to 18 centimeters long. 

Wandering salamanders have a brownish-grey color with dark spots on their back and sides, but they can also come in other colors, such as orange or yellow.

Like many salamanders, the wandering salamander has four toes on each foot and needs to stay moist to survive. 

They are often caught by people trying to pick them up because they do not move quickly.

One thing that makes this type of salamander unique is that when it feels threatened by something like an animal predator, the walking salamander may give off a foul odor from its skin glands to protect itself from harm.

8. Eastern Newt Salamander

Eastern newts are indigenous to the Eastern coast of North America, specifically eastern and central Canada.

They can be found anywhere from sea level up to high mountain ranges. The Eastern Newt Salamander is a small creature, usually no more than 6 inches long. 

Their color varies depending on their habitat and can range from dark green, brown, greyish-black, or reddish-brown.

These newts have slim bodies, moist skin, and small eyes on their heads.

These types of salamanders in Canada spend most days hidden under rocks or logs near water sources so that they may avoid the sun’s harmful UV rays, but when the sun goes down, they come out foraging for food. 

Eastern newts prefer areas with a mossy ground cover because it protects them from predators while at the same time allowing them to lay their eggs.

The breeding season lasts between late April and early June, after which females will lay around 500 eggs over ten weeks before dying.

If the eggs make it through this stage, they will hatch into tadpoles from July through September before finally turning into full-grown salamanders in late October.

9. Red-Backed Salamander

The Red-backed Salamander is one of the most common salamanders in North America.

They are often found hiding under logs and rocks or burrowing into the ground. They feed on insects, slugs, and worms. 

These amphibians have a reddish-brown back with black spots on their body, four toes on each foot, a long tail that is usually black or brown, and a head with small eyes with no eyelids and no ears.

The average lifespan for these types of salamanders in Canada is 20 years, but it can be as short as two years if they get eaten by other animals or die from the disease. 

If you see a red-backed salamander make sure you do not handle them since they will quickly lose their skin.

Be careful when you walk around at night because these amphibians need moist habitats.

Avoid stepping on the red-backed salamanders because it will cause them harm and could even lead to death!

10. Coastal Giant Salamander

 They are often called giants because they can grow up to two feet long, though some may only be a few inches long.

The coastal giant salamander lives near streams and rivers and eats crayfish, snails, and small fish. 

No other salamander looks like the coast giant salamander, making it easy for people to identify them.

The coast giant salamander has three toes on each foot, slimy skin with tiny bumps on its back, and an oval-shaped head with large eyes. 

It also has glands under its chin to protect itself from dry environments or hot days. A group of five or more giant salamanders will stay close together, but sometimes one will go off by itself.

11. Blue-Spotted Salamander

The Blue-spotted Salamander is the most common salamander found in Canada. They are olive-brown with speckles and spots on their skin. They can reach a length of up to 4 inches and live for up to five years. 

Blue-spotted Salamanders prefer moist, dark places like logs, caves, or near water sources. These types of salamanders in Canada are carnivorous, so they hunt other invertebrates, larvae, and worms.

Females lay eggs after mating. Blue-spotted Salamanders eat through the outside layer of soil by turning over leaf litter while they search for food. 

Their long tongues allow them to get deep crevices into crevices. When threatened, Blue-spotted Salamanders release harmful chemicals that repel predators.

These salamanders will defend themselves with sharp secretions or poisonous secretions. They feed on insects, arthropods, worms, slugs, and snails. 

12. Northern Slimy Salamander

The Northern Slimy Salamander is one of the most common species found in North America.

They are giant salamanders, growing up to 9 inches long and living for up to 20 years. They are typically brown or black with yellow spots on their backs and bellies. 

The Northern Slimy Salamander has moist skin that secretes a substance that can be harmful if it enters the eyes or mouth.

These types of salamanders in Canada have no lungs, breathing through their skin and taking air into their body cavity.

They live near vegetation near the bottom of ponds and lakes and feed off small invertebrates.  

A unique feature of these salamanders is that they have several vertebrae that are free-floating, which gives them more flexibility when moving.

This also allows them to be active at night when many other animals are sleeping.

Slimy salamander populations have experienced a decline due to introduced crayfish and bullfrogs, as well as water pollution and habitat loss.


Salamanders make great pets, but it is essential to know what you are getting into before you make the decision.

Many people mistakenly believe salamanders are relatively low-maintenance, while others find them difficult or frustrating.

For those who decide to take on salamander pet ownership, it is essential that they learn about these types of salamanders in Canada they have and how best to care for them.

It should also be noted that not all provinces in Canada have native salamanders, so please do your research before bringing one home! 

We hope this has been helpful for anyone interested in getting a salamander as a pet. Please comment below with any questions, and we will do our best to answer them.

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