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Animal of the week

Graphic Illustration by Joe DeVoogd

By Ali Osgood

The coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) is a native species to Humboldt County and is certainly a critter to keep an eye out for. Growing up to 13 inches in length, this salamander is the largest terrestrial salamander in North America. Coastal giant salamanders have a purple-brown hue with dark spots across the top of their body and are most commonly spotted on rainy nights near streams or other forms of running water.

The coastal giant salamander eats invertebrates and even small vertebrates like mice and smaller salamanders. They sit and wait for prey to approach them, using their camouflage to blend into their habitat. Adults defend themselves by thrashing around erratically or by delivering a painful bite to their offender.

Where to find them:  While they have been spotted regularly in the Arcata Community Forest during the winter, they can also be found in the Jacoby Creek Watershed area regularly. However, they are distributed throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and Mendocino Counties and can be found near most running bodies of water.

Information sourced from CaliforniaHerps.com

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