Pigeon Mountain salamander

Equipped with extraordinary toe pads, it fearlessly defies gravity as it effortlessly scales the steep cliffs and rocky terrains

Peter Paplanus

Imagine a salamander that lives only on one side of a single mountain in Georgia. That’s the Pigeon Mountain salamander, a rare and secretive amphibian. They are about 8 cm (3 in) long, with a brown or black body and white specks on their sides and belly. They have a distinctive row of pores on their temples, which are used for sensing chemicals in their environment.

But what truly sets it apart is its exclusive hide-and-seek lifestyle. Unlike most salamanders, which spend their days basking in the limelight, the Pigeon Mountain salamander prefers to remain hidden, concealed deep within the mountain’s rocky crevices. They are active at night when they hunt for insects, worms, and other small invertebrates. They are also able to survive without water for long periods of time by secreting a protective mucus layer on their skin.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
United States
2004
Georgia

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No