While walking along a quiet country road near the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas, I came across an unusual little creature – a Four-toed Salamander! I had never seen one of these small amphibians before and had to do some research to identify it.
The Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) is a species native to the eastern United States. They are lung-less salamanders that breathe through their skin and lay their eggs on land rather than in water like other salamanders. These salamanders get their name from having four toes on their hind feet instead of the usual five found on most salamanders.
I was excited to have the opportunity to photograph this Four-toed Salamander up close. I got low to the ground and handheld my camera and lens to capture some detailed shots without frightening it away. One interesting fact I learned is that Four-toed Salamanders will eat ticks, so they are helpful to have around areas like the Ouachita National Forest where ticks are common.
All in all, it was a great wildlife encounter! Part of the joy of nature photography is coming across animals you don’t expect and then getting to learn about them. I’m glad I took the time to identify and appreciate this little Four-toed Salamander. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen one before!
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM
- Location: Near The Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas)
- Date and Time Taken: October 15, 2016 (09:24:24 A.M.)
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f7.1
- Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec. (as determined by the camera)
- ISO: 200
- Exposure Compensation: -1/3
- Focal Length: 400 mm