Japanese Giant Salamander

The second largest salamander in the world, the Japanese giant salamander spends its entire life underwater. Lacking gills, it absorbs oxygen from the water through its wrinkly skin. With poor eyesight, the salamander relies on its sense of smell and touch while hunting for prey at night.

Ornate Horned Frog

The ornate horned frog has pointy folds of skin above its eyes rather than actual horns. It is also known as the Pac-Man frog for its wide mouth and voracious appetite. Blending in with the forest floor, an ornate horned frog sits and waits for prey to come close enough to grab.


The largest fully aquatic salamander in the United States, the hellbender absorbs oxygen from the water through its wrinkly skin. Found in fast-flowing streams and rivers, it hides among the rocks during the day. At night, the hellbender uses its sense of smell to hunt for crayfish and other small creatures.

  • Look closely! The hellbender is a master of disguise, often hiding among the rocks.
  • Hellbender nicknames include snot otter, water dog, lasagna lizard and Allegheny alligator.

Fire-bellied newt

Less than six inches long, this aquatic amphibian feeds on insects and other invertebrates in slow-moving or still waters. Named for the bright red-orange coloration on its belly, the fire-bellied newt is toxic to the touch, a defense mechanism against predators. In zoos, however, they seem to lose their toxicity.

Alligator Gar

Although few alligator gars approach the record size of 10 feet and 300 pounds, they are still among the largest freshwater fish in North America.  Gars can live in water that is too low in oxygen for many fish, by gulping air at the surface into their lung-like swim bladders.

Redear Sunfish

Commonly called the shellcracker, the redear sunfish specializes in eating snails. It has specially adapted teeth in the back of its mouth for crushing snail shells.

Spotted Salamander

Spotted salamanders can be very difficult to find because they hide under rocks, leaves or in burrows and only come out at night. They also are camouflaged by their dark brown, grey or black bodies and yellow spots.

Two-toed Amphiuma

Up to three feet long and slippery, the eel-like two-toed amphiuma is an entirely aquatic salamander and considered one of the longest in the United States. The top of its body is dark brown or black with a dark grey underside.


Cave Salamander

The cave salamander inhabits the twilight area of caves just inside the entrance where there is some light but it is too dark for plants to grow. With a short lunge and an extremely quick tongue flick—its tongue fully extends in just 5.5 milliseconds!—the cave salamander catches small invertebrates to eat.

Amazon Milk Frog

The Amazon milk frog spends its entire life cycle in the tropical rainforest canopy. During breeding season, males stake out water-filled tree holes and call for mates. About 2,000 eggs are laid in the water as a result of a successful mating, which hatch into tadpoles by the next day.