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salamander

We found a salamander today in our basement. It is about 4 inches long. The back is about 1/2- 3/4 inch wide. It's black with bright yellow spots going down it's back in 2 rows, & 1 row on it's tail.The closest I could find on this is a fire salamander, but the pages I see mention Europe, Asia & Africa, not North America or N.Y. My son wants to keep it as a pet. Could you give me any information on this. We live in Greene County New York.

Wildlife Expert - David Herlocker

My guess is that this is a Spotted Salamander, a fairly common species in your area. The one you have may not perfectly match the one in our photograph, but the pattern of yellow spots varies from one individual to another, and so you should compare the overall shape and size to our description. This poor creature probably found its way into your basement through cracks, drainpipes, or some other opening. He would like to be released into a wooded area where he can find his way underground before it gets too cold. Try to convince your son that wild salamanders make lousy pets: they like to hide in dark places, they sometimes refuse to eat, and the more they are handled the more likely they will get skin diseases and die as a result.

Related to this Question
species:

Spotted Salamander
Ambystoma maculatum

    
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