Garden slender salamander, Batrachoseps major

The Garden slender salamander (Batrachoseps major) is a member of the Plethodontidae family. The species is native to southern California and Mexico. The Sequoia slender salamander inhabits coastal sage scrub and woodlands, coniferous forests and rocky slopes. The species may also be found in common suburban gardens.

The Garden slender salamander typically reaches lengths between 1.2 to 2.3 inches long from snout to vent. Its tail may measure almost 40% of its entire length. As its common name implies, its small, slim body gives this salamander an almost worm-like appearance. Characteristics of the species include a narrow head, slender body and a very long tail.

The Garden slender salamander’s coloration ranges from light to dark grays. A copper, red or orange color may be found on its tail and upper body. Although other California salamanders usually have 5 toes, the Sequoia slender only has 4 toes on both its front and rear feet.

The Garden slender salamander is a lung-less species; it breathes through its skin. This feature forces the salamander to find and dwell in moist, land environments. The species is nocturnal and can be found most often hiding beneath logs, bark, leaf litter and rocks.

Typical behavior of the Garden slender salamander includes, coiling and camouflaging when threatened. A swift, springing action may assist the salamander in its getaway. The species can easily regenerate and will shed parts of its tail as a distraction for its predators.

Typical diets of the Garden slender salamander consist of small arthropods and invertebrates and the sit-and-wait approach is taken when feeding. Its projectile tongue is used when catching its prey.

Image Caption: Garden slender salamander, (Batrachoseps major). Credit: Jengod/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)