Fun Wandering Salamander Facts For Kids

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Jan 12, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Aug 19, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
You definitely need to read these amazing wandering salamander facts!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

You can find wandering salamanders in California, so keep an eye for them! The wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) is a native salamander species to California, United States of America. It is believed that the Aneides vagrans has been introduced to Canada, mainly around the narrow coastal strip of British Columbia through oak bark imports required for the tanning industry.

Their preferred habitats include forests of Douglas fir, redwood, cedar, and fir. However, this is a very shy species, hiding under woody debris or under leaf litter on the forest floor. This species is often confused for the Aneides ferreus.

Unfortunately, the population of this species has been rapidly declining, causing the conservation status of this species to be declared as Near Threatened.

For more relatable content, check out these yelllow spotted salamander facts and Barton Springs salamander facts for kids.

Wandering Salamander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wandering salamander?

The wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) is a species of salamanders. Out of all amphibians, salamanders form the second largest group under them.

What class of animal does a wandering salamander belong to?

Aneides vagrans (wandering salamander) belong to the mammals class.

How many wandering salamanders are there in the world?

Unfortunately, we do not have the count of the total number of wandering salamanders currently surviving. However, the IUCN has given them a status of Near Threatened so the population of wandering salamanders is declining.

Where does a wandering salamander live?

The wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) is entirely native to the state of California in the United States of America. It is also thought that this species has been introduced to the lands of British Columbia in Canada.

What is a wandering salamander's habitat?

The wandering salamander habitat includes temperate forests. These salamanders inhabit a narrow coastal strip along with vegetated lands in California. This strip has various trees like alder, cedar, Douglas fir, and old-growth redwood forests. These salamanders usually prefer forest edges. They are often spotted in regions with fallen trees and woody debris. They are found at elevations of about  5577.5 ft (1700 m) on Vancouver Island.

Who do wandering salamanders live with?

All salamanders prefer solitary lifestyles. Unlike the Anerides ferreus, the Aneides vagrans is not very territorial or aggressive.

How long does a wandering salamander live?

The average age of the wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) is about 8-11 years. However, certain specimens have survived for up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction is entirely terrestrial. Breeding male salamanders develop a mental gland. Male salamanders usually mature at the age of two years, whereas the females take an extra year. Female salamanders reproduce once every two years.

Breeding activities take place in the warm spring and summer days. The female salamander lays about six to nine eggs in a clutch. These eggs are usually cream in color and are laid in a grape-like cluster. They are suspended from the ceiling of the nesting region by gelatinous strands twisted together.

The area where a female lays is usually hidden, probably under bark or in tree holes. A female salamander looks after the eggs as they slowly develop. There is no intermediate larval stage and the eggs directly hatch open and mini adult salamanders enter into the world. Young salamanders prefer bark litter over leaf litter or rocks and stay covered until they are confident enough to walk out.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) is Near Threatened. One of the main threats leading to the decline of wandering salamanders is habitat destruction due to logging.

Wandering Salamander Fun Facts

What do wandering salamanders look like?

Speaking about the physical description, the wandering salamander is quite similar to the clouded salamander. In fact, the clouded salamander (Aneides ferreus) and the wandering salamander (Aneides vagrans) were earlier thought to be the same species.

The medium-sized Aneides vagrans have long, slender and slimy bodies. The males have broader heads than females. There is a pair of naso-labial grooves present between the mouth and the nostrils. These grooves participate in chemoreception and there are 16 costal grooves present on either side of the salamander body. The legs are really long, ending in large toes. These toes have large terminal pads with square cut ends. The innermost toes are short, while the remaining are comparatively long.

The wandering salamander has a prehensile tail which they clamber around with while they move across branches. The back color varies in shades of brown to light gray. It may be marbled, mottled, and may be adorned with multiple bronze speckles. Sometimes, you can spot a beautiful green sheen as well. Juveniles have a bronze line running down the spine.

The clouded salamander, Aneides ferreus, is closely related to the wandering salamander.

* Please note that this is an image of a clouded salamander, a salamander which belongs to the Aneides genus. If you have an image of a wandering salamander, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

We do not find this species very cute due to their slimy bodies.

How do they communicate?

All salamanders generally communicate with chemicals and touch.

How big is a wandering salamander?

The snout to vent length of the Aneides vagrans is about 1.75-3 in (4.45-7.6 cm), and the total wandering salamander size is about 3-5 in (7.6-13 cm). This makes them almost three times the size of the house centipede.

How fast can a wandering salamander move?

We do not know the speed at which the Aneides vagrans (wandering salamander) can move. In general, salamanders move quite slow, however if they sense danger, they run quite quickly.

How much does a wandering salamander weigh?

An adult Aneides vagrans is a species of feather weight. They weigh about 0.07-0.17 oz (2-5 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the female and male specimens of this species.

What would you call a baby wandering salamander?

A baby wandering salamander does not have any specific name.

What do they eat?

These amphibians feed mainly in the dark hours of the night. This species eats invertebrates like mites, ants, beetles, insect larvae, snails, woodlice, springtails and other isopods.

Are they poisonous?

No, wandering salamanders are not poisonous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

We do think this salamander can make a good pet. However, it is important to maintain a water source close to them as they need to remain moist at all times. Also, keep woody debris or large rocks so that they can get comfortable and adjust quickly. Salamanders are very sensitive to touch so you must clean your hands well before handling them. Salts present in unwashed hands can harm these little creatures. However, with their Near Threatened status, we think it is best if these salamanders are left to live in their natural habitat.

Did you know...

These salamanders actually have no lungs or gills, and main respiration takes place through the skin as well as the lining of tissues in the mouth.

These salamanders in California are known to aestivate in the hot summer days, and they become more active in the winter season. Salamanders residing on the Vancouver Island follow the opposite trend. They are more active in summe  and aestivate in the cold days of the winter season.

Wandering salamanders can survive underwater for a short amount of time.

Believe it or not, salamanders have the ability of regenerating their limbs if they lose one!

How many species of salamander are there?

There are about nine different families of salamanders, and about 600 species come under them.

The Cryptobranchoidea suborder has two families under them, the Cryptobranchidae (giant salamanders) and the Hynobiidae (Asiatic salamanders). Some species under this suborder include the Chinese giant salamander, hellbender salamander, and Japanese giant salamander. The Cryptobranchidae family has six genera with 13 species under it. Family Hynobiidae has 81 species distributed in nine different genera.

The Salamandroidea suborder has six families falling under them. These are the Ambystomatidae (mole salamanders), the Amphiumidae (Amphiumas or Congo eels), the Plethodontidae (lungless salamanders), the Salamandridae (newts and true salamanders), the Rhyacotritonidae (Torrent salamanders) and the Proteidae (Mudpuppies and olms). The black salamander, spring salamander, fire salamander,  nd green salamander are members of this suborder. The family Ambystomatidae has one genus, family Amphiumidae has three surviving species, Plethodontidae family has 478 species belonging to 29 genera, and family Proteidae has two genera with a total of 13 species. Four species belong to the Rhyacotritonidae family, while the Salamandridae family has 21 genera with more than 120 species.

Lastly, the Sirenoidea suborder has only one family, the Sirenidae (Sirens).  The southern dwarf siren and northern dwarf siren are members of this family. This Sirenidae family has five genera with a total of 16 species under them. Only five of them are currently surviving.

Do wandering salamanders bite?

There have been records that the wandering salamander bite each other.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our dwarf salamander facts and African bullfrog facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable spotted salamander coloring pages.

Wandering Salamander Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects and snails

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

6-9

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.07-0.17 oz (2-5 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

temperate forests

Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

3-5 in (7.6-13 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Amphibia

Genus

Aneides

Family

Plethodontidae

Scientific Name

Aneides vagrans

What Do They Look Like?

Brown to gray bodies

Skin Type

Slimy

What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat destruction

What is their Conservation Status?

Near Threatened
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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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