Ambystoma gracile: An overview


They are large, with a short round head and large paratoid glands behind eyes and have a thick glandular region on the upper part of their tail and ridged lines along the sides of their body. They look like dark brown, gray or black; sometimes have flecks of cream or yellow and almost 7-13 cm. The Northwestern salamander is restricted to the Pacific coast of North America. In Washington State they are found west of the cascades, including Whidbey, Bainbridge and Vashon islands. They are found in a variety of moist habitats including open grasslands, woodlands and forests near freshwater sources and spend most of their time underground or under rotting logs.

Larvae and terrestrial adults are mildly poisonous, because of this they can generally survive alongside predatory species, even introduced fish and species such as bullfrogs. When disturbed, make a ticking sound and get into a defensive posture. They butt heads and raise tails while emitting a sticky white poison from glands behind eyes and along back and tail when threatened and lash tails to spread the poison.

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