This guy was found in central Virginia, under a flower pot. He's about 3 inches long, because part of his tail is either missing or it's just short. He looked dried out, so of course I wet my hand, scooped him into a small container, and moved him to our birdbath (which is on the ground and had been recently rinsed so the ground was plenty moist). I ran my hand (still wet) over his back and he seemed happier and started moving around.

However, I can't seem to find on Google just what kind of salamander he is. The VA Herpetological Society has an entry for a Jefferson Salamander, but those are only found in North/West VA. Attached is a picture of him (blurry, sorry) when I found him. I have a video of him coming out of the container and going under the leaves next to the birdbath, but it's too big of a file to put on here. Instead, here is a link to the file in my Google Drive: Salamander

Edit: I checked some pictures I had of him, and he has five toes on his hind legs. He is a dark gray-brown with faint mottling and a semi-light underbelly. Sorry that I didn't say this earlier. Hope this helps!

Can anyone identify him?

better quality hopefully

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    $\begingroup$ be careful of tapwater with amphibians, you probably know, because of the chlorine content. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2021 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ yea i used spring water for my hand, but I used garden hose water for the birdbath. That should be okay, because chlorine evaporates out after 24 hours, and it's been about 48+ $\endgroup$
    – Cyanite17
    Jan 21, 2021 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @PvParkour thanks for the updated clearer photo. I think you should keep it, but I still want to recommend that you edit to also add a gif of your video. EZgif is a very easy website to use. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2021 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


Maybe it's a Mabee's Salamander, Ambystoma mabeei. Unfortunately, I can't really see the underside in your video, but I have the sense that it is a lighter color. The clubbed tail, with an apparent break, seems like it may have been autotomized or otherwise injured, making it harder to compare. I had the impression your example had dark spots dorsally and lightening ventrally, as can be seen in the image above. Some other images are a bit different. However, Mabee's Salamander is only found in "six localities in the coastal plain in extreme southeastern Virginia: the cities of Hampton and Suffolk and the counties of York, Southampton, Gloucester, and Isle of Wight. It is also found in Newport News." and is considered threatened, so unless your location matches what you read there it is still not likely to be the answer.

  • $\begingroup$ i updated it for a better picture i you want to look at it again $\endgroup$
    – Cyanite17
    Jan 25, 2021 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ The appearance seems similar to my eye, the frequently confused species suggested at the first site don't look like they could be options, but the range and rarity of Mabee's Salamander concerns me. If you're not in the area they describe, I'm very likely to be mistaken. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2021 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ no, Im close to richmond (central VA). its ok though, you're still helpful $\endgroup$
    – Cyanite17
    Jan 25, 2021 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ ok since the bounty expires in one day, i dont want 50 rep. to disappear, so ill give it to you $\endgroup$
    – Cyanite17
    Jan 29, 2021 at 14:08

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