Coastal Giant Salamander, Dicamptodon tenebrosus

The Coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) is a member of the Dicamptodontidae family. The species is native to the United States and Canada. The Coastal giant salamander ranges from northern California to Oregon and Washington and throughout parts of south British Columbia.

The Coastal giant salamander inhabits freshwater lakes, marshes and rivers. The species may also be found in temperate deciduous forests. A nocturnal species, the Coastal giant salamander may or may not go through a metamorphosis, causing some of the species to remain gilled, aquatic creatures. Most of the Coastal giant’s life is spent hiding in damp areas beneath rocks and logs and underground in burrows.

Typically, the Coastal giant salamander grows to lengths of 13.4 inches. The salamander’s length is reached mostly from its long tail. Coloration is brassy, brown or tan and a marbled pattern covers the head, back and sides. A flattened body, massive head and shovel-like snout are all common characteristics of the species appearance.

Any prey the Coastal giant salamander can overtake is fair game. It is an opportunistic species and typically a sit-and-wait approach is used when hunting. A swift lunge and crushing bite will take down its prey. The salamander may expel skin secretions and will use its long tail as a whip when threatened or defending itself.

Breeding is typical in the springtime. Females produce anywhere between 80 and 150 eggs. Eggs are laid in ponds or slow-moving streams where they attach to underwater rocks or vegetation.

Image Caption: Coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus). Credit: Marjef07/Wikipedia (public domain)