by Clint Miller / 0 Comments
Salamanders are amphibians with a smooth skin devoid of scales, feathers, or hair. Slimy and/or moist to the touch, salamanders are predators that eat a variety of bugs and sometimes each other. Due to their lack of a protective skin covering, salamanders prefer to inhabit moist, damp areas devoid of direct sunshine to prevent rapid dehydration. Salamanders are shy and secretive, which means you may not see them as often as other outdoor species such as frogs and lizards.
There are three main categories for the many types of salamanders. These are aquatic, semiaquatic, and terrestrial. Aquatic salamanders are found in water, semiaquatic are found on land and in water, and terrestrial salamanders are ground dwellers preferring moist hiding spots with access to water.
While salamanders might be a scary sight for some, they pose no real threat to humans when left alone nor do they cause any sort of property damage. Since many species of salamanders secrete toxins, handling them or ingesting them in any way would not be a good idea. In addition, owners of small pets, especially cats, would be wise to prevent their furry friends from playing with or ingesting salamanders as well.
Their glass-like appearance and quick, slithery movements are similar to that of snakes, which could be an annoyance or disconcerting for some people when startled by an unexpected salamander while walking in the yard, working in the garden, or if they've intruded into a nesting habitat. Small children should not be allowed to handle or disturb the salamanders in any way as some species excrete toxins through their skin when threatened by perceived predators. While salamanders are one of the most prized pets in the world, it is best owners are those with the appropriate knowledge of how to handle them safely.
If you enjoy being outdoors, consider salamanders as beneficial to your comfort. If you have a garden, salamanders are worth their weight in gold as 24/7 pest eliminators. Salamanders are carnivorous and they have a healthy appetite for the many bugs flitting, flying, jumping, walking, or crawling through your property. Their palate=pleasing menu includes flies, slugs, worms, crickets, spiders, snails, centipedes, insect eggs, and mosquito larvae. By having salamanders eliminating these pests, time spent outdoors is more enjoyable and your garden has a better chance of flourishing. Salamanders are interesting to watch, diverse in their habitats, and provide natural control of unwanted pests.
Because salamanders are small, thin, and have long tails they are often confused with lizards as the two are similar in body structure. Whereas as lizards are reptiles with the scales and claws to prove it, salamanders are amphibians. One way to tell the difference between salamanders and lizards is by their body texture. Lizards with their scaled body tend to have dry skin. Salamanders with their smooth, non-scaly amphibian skin prefer their skin to be moist. They come in a variety of colors from solid to brightly spotted and some have only two legs. Others have four very short legs while others have webbed feet due to their aquatic way of life. Salamanders are not aggressive, stay to themselves and do not attack like a wasp or bee.
||Photograph taken by Brian Gratwicke
Ambystoma opacumMecklenburg County, North Carolina
They are not poisonous like many other salamanders.
Photographed in the North Carolina Southern Appalachian Mountains
Endemic to the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Salamanders set up house in dark, damp places to remain hydrated and avoid the drying effects of the sunlight. Areas around your home, such as the basement, offer these amenities making the real estate a prime target for salamander habitats. Like any other pest, the best way to keep them from entering your home is starting with a visual check of the exterior and interior for entry points; this also includes the crawl space, around a chimney, and in the basement. Since salamanders are small, slippery, and very agile, they can easily find and slither their way through small cracks, holes, and gaps. Check around doors, windows, and piping for gaps and look for any cracks and crevices. Ensure screens are secure with no rips or holes. Caulk and seal any holes leading into your home no matter how small.
Using natural and organic repellents in and around nesting and egg-laying areas is a viable alternative. Spraying a natural repellent or placing organic granules in these areas will encourage the salamanders to move far away. Placing mothballs in potential nesting areas works as a natural deterrent. It's also possible to carefully trap and remove them to a damp area such as a park or forest that has the two things salamanders want and need; humidity and water.
Unfortunately, some species of salamanders are on the endangered wildlife list in the United States so getting rid of them humanely is a good option. The information about sealing your property is a good first start. Keep your yard free of debris such as dead leaves and stacked mulch or compost as salamanders like moist areas and a stack of damp leaves is a great home base. Leaves that have accumulated in the gutters is also a draw for salamanders. Pooled of water is another attraction because as it stagnates it becomes attractive to bugs resulting in a food source for salamanders. Inside your home, keep food covered, garbage secure, and dishes clean so you don't have bugs. Remember, salamanders are meat eaters and like to eat bugs. If there is no food supply available, they will relocate elsewhere for their dining opportunities.
When you find that salamanders have become too much of a problem and created an infestation that's too big for you to handle, it's time to get help from the experts who have the knowledge and experience to take care of the problem professionally. For help removing salamanders quickly and efficiently, contact our team at Clint Miller Exterminating. We've been handling pest problems since 1978 and we know how to do it right. Call today for a free inspection.