Catawba County News

Salamander Capital of the World

Salamander Capital of the World

Published: July 08, 2022

You may have heard that Southern Appalachia or the Great Smoky Mountains are the salamander capital of the world but the whole state of North Carolina is a haven for salamanders. North Carolina has an amazing abundance of salamanders because of its diverse geography from mountains to coastal swamps, and that includes Catawba County!

Even though they’re slimy and move fast enough to make even the bravest adult squeal, salamanders are a really vital part of the ecosystem. They control pests by eating insects like mosquitoes, and sometimes become food themselves. They are exceptional indicators of ecosystem health and serve as an early warning system to scientists studying environmental impacts. Some have gills, some absorb oxygen through their skin, and others breathe through lungs. They burrow under rocks and in the soil of streams and rivers which helps plants grow (so leave rocks where you found them while visiting streams and rivers, it might be a salamander home). 

Salamanders are good friends to have, and so are Catawba County Park Rangers! Rangers recently taught us how to find and identify salamanders at Bakers Mountain Park! Enjoy these pictures from our adventure and make sure to visit one of our amazing county parks when you get the chance.

EXTRA TREAT: Enjoy this salamander ID sheet from North Carolina Parks!