The Red-Backed Salamander, or Plethodon cinereus, is one of just a few salamanders found in Massachusetts. It is chocolate-brown with a rusty-red stripe on its back. Hence its name!
We should all praise the red-backed salamander. They eat carpenter ants! They also eat a variety of spiders.
Red-backed salamanders can get to be about five inches long. They live all along the eastern stretch of North America. They're peaceful little salamanders and like living under leaves and in rotting stumps. They actually breathe through their skin! So they need to stay moist, but they don't live in the water. They can live 25 years or more as a pet.
While they do hibernate in the winter, in snug underground burrows, they also will come poking out to explore if the weather warms up.
We found this one in our basement in late November. We put it out in a dense woody area with lots of leaves and stumps, so it'd have a chance to make its burrow before the snows came.
Salamanders in Sutton Massachusetts
Animals and Birds in Sutton Massachusetts
Sutton Massachusetts Photo Collection