14 Types of Salamanders in Oklahoma

Types of Salamanders in Oklahoma
Photo by Tawnyowl

Oklahoma is home to an amazing variety of salamanders! Fourteen types of salamanders can be found throughout the state, each with unique characteristics.

Oklahoma’s landscape provides a perfect habitat for these fascinating creatures, from the Spotted Dusky Salamander to the Red Hills Salamander. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the 14 types of salamanders in Oklahoma and where you can find them. So, if you’re interested in discovering more about these amazing amphibians, keep reading!

1. Eastern Newt

Regarding types of salamanders in Oklahoma, the Eastern Newt is one of the most common. Found across the state, these amphibians range from two to four inches in length and come in several different colors, including yellow, orange, red, and black.

They have a smooth skin texture, an elongated body with a flattened tail, and a few distinctive spots on their back. 

The Eastern Newt is found in lakes, streams, ponds, and wetlands, usually along the banks or near vegetation.

They are active day and night, although they may be more active at night. During the winter months, they retreat underground and become dormant.

2. Spotted Salamander

Oklahoma is home to various salamanders, including the Spotted Salamander. These amphibians are identifiable by their black body, yellow spots, and smooth skin. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma usually grow about 5-7 inches in length and live for about 15 years.

Spotted Salamanders are mostly nocturnal creatures and can often be found in deciduous forests. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma thrive in damp environments and often bury themselves in soil or under leaf litter during the day to remain cool and moist. They are also attracted to ponds, where they lay their eggs, and often travel far distances to find food.

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are listed as threatened due to the destruction of their natural habitats. With their loss of habitat, they are increasingly facing difficulty finding food and places to breed. Conservation efforts such as wetland restoration, promoting healthy ecosystems, and restoring water levels have all proven to help protect these species.

3. Eastern Tiger Salamander

The Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) is one of Oklahoma’s most common salamanders. This species is native to North America and can be found in many states. The Eastern Tiger Salamander typically has a black body with yellow or orange spots along its back, sides, and tail. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are usually between 5 and 8 inches long and can live up to 15 years. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are primarily nocturnal and are often seen after rains or when temperatures drop in the evening. The Eastern Tiger Salamander is an important part of Oklahoma’s ecosystem and is listed as a Species of Special Concern.

4. Western Tiger Salamander

One of the most common salamanders in Oklahoma is the Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium). It is a large species with adults reaching up to 8 inches in length. This species is mainly found in grasslands but may also be found in open woodlands and agricultural areas. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are usually dark brown or black, with yellow or orange spots and streaks. The Western Tiger Salamander is nocturnal and eats small insects, worms, spiders, and other invertebrates. Its lifespan is about 5 to 10 years in the wild.

5. Common Mudpuppy

When you think of types of salamanders in Oklahoma, the Common Mudpuppy is often the first to come to mind. This species is one of the most widespread salamanders found in Oklahoma. The Common Mudpuppy has a broad, flattened head and wide body with short legs and a long tail. 

Its coloration can vary from black or gray to brown or olive, often with a mottled pattern of black spots. This species can reach up to 7-9 inches long, but the average length is 5-7 inches. The Common Mudpuppy is found in many of Oklahoma’s streams, ponds, and rivers. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are usually found in slow-moving, shallow water bodies, where they can hide among rocks and aquatic vegetation. In addition to Oklahoma, this species is also found in parts of Canada and the Eastern United States. The Common Mudpuppy is an aquatic species that breathes through its gills. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma feed on small invertebrates, including insect larvae, crustaceans, snails, worms, and even small fish. As an amphibian, it must return to the water to lay its eggs. The female will lay eggs in underwater vegetation or under rocks in the springtime. After hatching, young Common Mudpuppies may stay near their birthplace for several months before venturing into open waters.

6. Four-Toed Salamander

One of the types of salamander found in Oklahoma is the Four-Toed Salamander. This species is native to the eastern United States and can be found in wooded areas of the state. These types of salamander in Oklahoma are one of the smallest salamanders in Oklahoma, reaching a maximum length of 3.5 inches. 

Its body is usually a light greyish brown or olive green with darker blotches or stripes along its back and sides. Its four toes on each foot have black tips, which give it its common name. The Four-Toed Salamander lives in moist places like streams and ditches and typically feeds on small insects. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are active species that are most often seen during the summer when they can be found near bodies of water. Because it is a sensitive species, the Four-Toed Salamander is important for helping to maintain the natural balance of its environment.

7. Marbled Salamander

The Marbled Salamander is one of Oklahoma’s 14 different types of salamanders in Oklahoma. Its scientific name is Ambystoma opacum, and it’s easily identified by its coloration, which is black and gray with marbling throughout its body. The Marbled Salamander has a wide range of habitats in Oklahoma, including prairies, forests, meadows, and wetlands. 

You can find them near streams, ponds, and marshes in the summertime. During winter, they hibernate in underground burrows or under logs and rocks. This salamander species is non-venomous and feeds mainly on insects, worms, slugs, snails, and other invertebrates.

8. Small-Mouthed Salamander

When it comes to the types of salamanders in Oklahoma, the small-mouthed salamander stands out as one of the most common species. Small-mouthed salamanders are slender creatures that range in size from three to six inches long, with a tail that can extend up to double their body length. They have smooth skin and typically display a dark or black coloration with yellow spots. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are found near streams, rivers, and ponds across much of the state but are especially plentiful in the eastern half of Oklahoma. Small-mouthed salamanders prefer habitats with plenty of rocks, logs, and leaf litter for cover and food. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma feed on small insects and other invertebrates and may also eat snails and worms. These salamanders are also adept climbers and have been known to climb trees in search of food.

9. Lesser Siren

Oklahoma is home to a wide variety of salamanders, including the Lesser Siren. This unique type of salamander is found in rivers, streams, and other bodies of water throughout the state. The Lesser Siren can reach lengths up to 8 inches and is distinguishable by its large head, long body, and two dorsal fins along its back. 

This salamander prefers slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation to hide in and hunt for food. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are carnivorous and feed on insects, worms, crayfish, and other small aquatic animals. It’s important to note that although the Lesser Siren is relatively common in Oklahoma, it’s still considered a threatened species due to habitat loss and pollution.

10. Three-toed Amphiuma

When it comes to the types of salamanders found in Oklahoma, one of the unique species is the Three-toed Amphiuma. These odd-looking amphibians have three toes on their front feet and two on their back feet. The body of the Three-toed Amphiuma is thin and serpentine, typically growing to 18 inches. 

These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are most often found living in swampy areas, where they feed on small fish and insects. While they are not necessarily considered dangerous to humans, they can still bite if provoked.

11. Mole Salamander

Mole salamanders are one of the fourteen types of salamanders in Oklahoma. These small, burrowing creatures are typically nocturnal and can hide under logs or rocks during the day. They range in color from brown to gray and have slimy skin. 

These amphibians are unique because they have toe pads on their hind legs, which help them to dig into the soil. Mole salamanders feed primarily on worms and insects, and they are often mistaken for a type of lizard.

12. Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander

The Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus) is one of the many salamanders in Oklahoma. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma are usually found in the state’s northern areas, particularly in rocky streams and mountain creeks. It is typically gray or brown with a yellow stripe along the sides and has small eyes and a blunt snout. 

The Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander prefers to live in cool, moist places where they can hide during the day and search for food at night. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma can grow up to 3 inches in length and eat worms, insects, and other invertebrates. It is important to note that these salamanders are sensitive to environmental changes, so keeping their habitat safe and healthy is important.

13. Long-tailed Salamander

The 13th among types of salamanders in Oklahoma is the Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda). This species is commonly found in stream valleys and deep forested ravines, where it hides among rocks and logs. Its coloration is variable, ranging from yellow-brown to reddish-brown. 

Its distinguishing feature is its long tail which is as long as the rest of its body. In addition to its tail, the Long-tailed Salamander also has a unique pattern of spots on its back. These types of salamanders in Oklahoma can reach lengths of up to 7 inches in adulthood. The Long-tailed Salamander is an omnivore and eats small insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

14. Dwarf Salamander

The 14th among types of salamanders in Oklahoma is the Dwarf Salamander (Eurycea quadridigitata). These small salamanders can reach lengths of up to two and a half inches and are usually black or brown. They live in the moist soil and leaf litter of forests and can sometimes hide beneath rocks or logs. 

These amphibians rely on their moist habitats for survival and reproduce by laying eggs. Although they have a limited range, they are common in Oklahoma, especially in the western parts of the state.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Oklahoma is home to a variety of salamanders. From the small and secretive Eastern Red-Backed Salamander to the rare and stunning Oklahoma Cave Salamander, many types of salamanders in Oklahoma make for interesting study and observation. Although these amphibians may not be well-known, they are important to the state’s diverse ecosystem. 

Whether you’re a biologist or just curious, take some time to explore the different types of salamanders in Oklahoma. You’ll be amazed at the variety of species and habitats they inhabit.

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