Found a Salamander In Your Home or Basement?
In the Autumn it is not uncommon for salamanders to move into people's homes, especially their crawl spaces, basements, or around pools. Unfortunately, when entering human dwellings, salamanders may expose themselves to areas that can become too dry, or expose themselves to chlorine. Both of which can kill them. They may also become trapped. For individuals who have found salamanders the best thing to do for the animals is to move them outside. This may seem daunting in the cold Fall weather. However, salamanders are extremely cold tolerant. If the salamander has a flattened paddle-like tail it is most likely a newt. If there is a pond/wetland present on or near the property, this type of salamander should be placed at its edge. This will allow the animal to either enter the pond, or move away to other areas where it can find an over-wintering site.
Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), with flattened paddle-tail.
For salamanders that have stubby, fat tails, they can be released in forested/woodland areas, ideally one closest to where it was found. Areas thick with leaf litter, fallen debris, and upland habitats are especially good. When moving the salamanders, first wet the hands with chlorine free water. Try to 'cup' or scoop the animals up, opposed to grasping or restraining them. Amphibians have very sensitive skins, so this will help avoid tears or injuries.
Blue-Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale), with a fat tail. A terrestrial species.
If man-made pools are present on the property be sure to use both Critter Skimmers
. These are items that will help trapped salamanders escape pools. The Chlorine found in pools can kill salamanders, this is why providing them with an escape is important.
Salamanders may also be found in basements in the summer time as they search for cool places to hide. Again, the animals can be moved outside to cool, shaded, damp forested areas - or next to ponds for semi-aquatic species.
If you find a salamander and are unsure of the type and need assistance in identifying it, and choosing what type of habitat it needs please send in a photo. See the Contact page