Fun Arboreal Salamander Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
May 09, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Abdulqudus Mojeed
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Discover exciting Arboreal salamander facts like its habitat, diet, and appearance.

The Arboreal Salamander, Aneides lugubris, are amphibians that are indigenous to California and Mexico. They are insectivorous amphibians belonging to the Plethodontidae family. Plethodontidae is Latin for 'many teeth'.

Arboreal Salamander teeth are pointed and its jaws are strong to capture their prey. These species inflict a gash on their victim using their teeth which can become fatal. Since they breathe through their skin, these nocturnal critters like to live in moist environments.

They will emerge on humid days during the spring and winter months, and we can spot them then. They get their name 'Arboreal' from their habitat. They can be mainly seen across California.

This species can climb trees very well and are tough to capture. They are dark brown or gray colored and possess spots of white or yellow color. They can be found in tree cavities or the forest floor.

The Arboreal salamander diet is plentiful in insects as well as invertebrates. Interestingly, these tiny creatures can be kept as pets! They can live for up to five years on average in captivity.

If you like reading about Arboreal Salamanders, then you'll surely love reading about the Barton Springs salamander and dwarf salamander too.

Arboreal Salamander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an arboreal salamander?

The arboreal salamander, Aneides lugubris, is a species of salamander that lives in trees. This insectivorous animal is an excellent tree climber because of its prehensile tail, enlarged toe tips, and enlarged fingers. They are mainly active during the night instead of the day.

What class of animal does an arboreal salamander belong to?

It belongs to the class Amphibia.

How many arboreal salamanders are there in the world?

The population of arboreal salamanders is unknown. Although, we do know that salamander populations are stable and widespread across Southeast Farallon Island (California), Sierra Nevada foothills (California), Los Coronados islands, Santa Catalina, and Santa Monica mountains.

Where does an arboreal salamander live?

The Arboreal Salamanders, Aneides lugubris, reside in oak woodlands near coastal areas and foothills, as well as yellow pine and black oak forests, which are where they can be found. The Arboreal salamander distribution is across Mexico, and the California coast in the USA, from Humboldt County to the Baja California del Norte.

They can also be spotted in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Los Coronados islands, Santa Catalina, Santa Monica mountains, and South Farallon. The Arboreal salamander has an inland population in the Sierra Nevada foothills (California).

What is an arboreal salamander's habitat?

Arboreal salamanders are limited to places with abundant humidity as they don't have lungs, thus they breathe through their skin and mouth, and throat membranes. This species spends most of its time on the forest ground under leaf litter.

In the summers, they take shelter inside cavities of oak trees to survive the dry season. They are nocturnal species, they are more active during the night time as compared to the daytime.

Who do arboreal salamanders live with?

Arboreal salamanders gather in clusters of a dozen or more when area and moisture are constrained. This species also make great pets and can live with humans easily, if provided with a suitable environment.

How long does an arboreal salamander live?

An arboreal salamander's life expectancy range is four to five years.

How do they reproduce?

Arboreal salamanders lay their eggs in the spring or early summer and await the rains. The female adults normally lay within the range of 12-24 eggs.

The Arboreal salamander nest is constructed by the adults in a damp log or hollow of trees or under the ground. The eggs are brooded by the female and hatch in three to four months. These salamanders do not have a larval stage.

Arboreal salamanders that have recently hatched from eggs resemble small adults. The nymphs are roughly an inch in length and camouflage in well underwood and leaf litter.

What is their conservation status?

The Aneides lugubris is widespread and has a stable population. Its IUCN conservation status is Least Concern. This species' major threats are pollution and habitat loss. They breathe through their skin and their throat and mouth membranes as they don't have lungs making them especially vulnerable to pollution in the air.

Arboreal Salamander Fun Facts

What do arboreal salamanders look like?

The Arboreal Salamanders, Aneides lugubris, have wide toes and a prehensile tail which helps them in climbing heights as high as 60 ft (18.2 m). It has a broad and triangular head. It has a 7 in (18 cm) long, thick body. Its back is gray or dark brown and is dotted with yellow or white color.

This species can easily camouflage with the ground color. It has a cream-colored underside. The population on Farallon Island is genetically similar to the mainland population.

A slimy black-colored arboreal salamander.

How cute are they?

The A. lugubris is quite cute because of its tiny body, triangular head, toe tips, and patterned skin. But their teeth and the painful bite that they can inflict take away points for cuteness.

How do they communicate?

The Arboreal salamanders communicate by making sounds that are similar to a dog's weak bark.

How big is an arboreal salamander?

The Arboreal salamanders, A. lugubris, are in the range of 2.6–3.9 in (6.5–10 cm) in length, from head to tail. This species is the same size as microteiids.

How fast can an arboreal salamander move?

The Arboreal salamanders, A. lugubris, have prehensile tails which move to counterbalance this tree-climbing species. Their tail helps them in movement. They can climb up to heights of 60 ft (18 m) above the ground.

How much does an arboreal salamander weigh?

They are small creatures that weigh anywhere between the range of 0.05-0.1 oz (2.5-2.9 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no separate name for the male and female population.

What would you call a baby arboreal salamander?

The baby Arboreal salamanders are called salamander nymphs.

What do they eat?

The Arboreal salamander food consists of what most reptiles and amphibians consume like insects and invertebrates of various kinds crickets, fruit flies, caterpillars, and small mealworms. This is the ideal food for these small creatures. Their predators include snakes and birds.

Are they poisonous?

Like all bites of amphibians and reptiles, the Arboreal salamander bite can freak us out easily. If it bites you, the first question that will surface in your mind is 'How to treat an Arboreal salamander poisonous bite?' Let us assure you, their bite is not at all poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, a salamander can be kept as a pet and these spotted creatures make very cute pets. You must evaluate their individual needs and preferences and ensure that their environment and food needs are proper.

They are excellent pets and can live for at least five years if cared for appropriately. Your pet will require feeding twice a day. To ensure your salamander gets enough nutrients, sprinkle their diet with an amphibian or reptile calcium powder.

Did you know...

If another salamander is small enough, they may consume it!

These tiny creatures are cold-blooded.

Only the South Farallon Islands in California are home to the Farallon Arboreal salamander, a subspecies of the Arboreal salamander.

The name Salamander derives from the Greek term for fire lizard. Salamanders rushed out of the logs they had been hiding under when the logs were set on fire, giving the species its name.

How to care for arboreal salamanders?

Arboreal salamander care takes a moderate amount of time but is not that hard. The salamander must be kept in an enclosure with the appropriate level of humidity. We recommend building little rock heaps with plenty of damp cavities that could serve as good nesting places.

The rocks must be maintained wet. A little waterfall would help to keep the humidity at an apt rate. Keep moistened tree stumps or thick branches with loosened bark as a refuge for them during the day.

Since they are strong climbers who can readily climb out of the enclosure, the cage must be escape-proof. It also has to be well-ventilated to avoid a suffocating environment.

Lack of ventilation can cause bacterial or fungal outbreaks. As they are nocturnal, they do not need a special kind of lighting. They also cannot tolerate temperatures over 74 degrees F.

What to do if an arboreal salamander bites you?

They take a defensive position, shriek, jump, and try to run away if startled. They will use their sharp teeth to inflict a gash on their foe if needed for their protection.

While their bite is ineffective against big mammals, the open, long, and deep bite can get infected and become potentially lethal. You must visit a doctor if this spotted creature bites you.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including the tiger salamander, or fire salamander.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Spring Salamander coloring pages.

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Abdulqudus Mojeed

Bachelor of Law

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Abdulqudus MojeedBachelor of Law

A versatile professional with a passion for creative writing and technology. Abdulqudus is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Law from the University of Lagos and has experience as a tutor, intern assistant, and volunteer. He possesses strong organizational skills and is a detail-oriented person.

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