Thursday, November 3, 2016


Last week we attended a ranger talk at the Oconoluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, NC. Ranger Ann Kidd talked about salamanders and showed us pictures of some.

Here are things I learned:

1.     Hellbender - aquatic, can be 2 feet long, found in Deep Creek, like deep pools, eat crawfish, tadpoles, frogs, other salamander, none in Oconoluftee River, nocturnal

2.     Mud puppies - found anywhere, aquatic, red feathery gills, 16 inches

3.     Red spotted newt - olive green with yellow belly, 2 phases of life: aquatic, land, back to aquatic, land phase and changes to red and is called the red eft. Toxic in land stage. About 2 -3 inches. Found in Oconoluftee area

4.     Red cheeked or Jordan salamander found at 2800 feet elevation. Found at Kephart Prong trail. 3 - 7 inches., woodland species, not toxic but will secrete a sticky substance, blueish black with rounded snout, only in the GSMNP

5.     Imitator salamander looks a lot like the red cheeked.  Brown color with pointed snout. Above 2800 feet, only in the GSMNP

6.     Mole family -  around Cades Cove, burrows in the dirt
a.     Marbled below 2200 feet
b.     Spotted below 2200 feet

7.     Black chinned red- 4-6 inches, found in the water

8.     Southern Appalachian- black, little white spots,  big, woodlands , common,

9.     Dusky salamander family- common
a.     Seal salamander - in water,
b.     Blackbelly- 3-8 inches, can eat other salamander, found in both sides of the park
c.     Spotted dusky found the most of in Mingus Mill, 2-5 inches, color varies

Many found in Mingus mill and Collins creek area

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