Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts
(Order Caudata)

Four-toed Salamander
(Hemidactylium scutatum)

Adult Photo of Four-toed Salamander, courtesy of John White
Adult Photo and Foot Detail Photo of Four-toed Salamander courtesy of John White

SizeFour-toed Salamander foot detail courtesy of John White

  • 2 - 3 in. 

  • Record - 4 in.

  • Appearance

    Three distinct characteristics make identification easy:

    1. an enamel-white belly with small black spots (the only salamander with this),

    2. four toes on both front and hind feet (most salamanders have five toes on back feet), and

    3. a marked constriction at the base of the tail. A rusty brown back and gray sides.

    Habitat photo for Four-toed Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Habitat Photo for Four-toed Salamander
    courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


  • Forests surrounding swamps, bogs, vernal pools, sluggish streams and other fish-free wetland habitats.

  • Typically found in association with sphagnum or other mosses, where females lay eggs in late winter and early spring along wetland margins.

  • Maryland Distribution Map
    Maryland Distribution Map of Four-toed Salamander

    Return to Field Guide to Maryland Salamanders

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.