Seal salamanders have a range that extends through the southern Appalachians from the western parts of Pennsylvania to Alabama and Florida.
Seal salamanders thrive in ravines with shades and streams supported by spring seepages with a sandstone or clay bed. They can also be found in mixed-hardwood slope forest with cool, well-aerated water. They shelter in burrows or underneath ground objects. They are terrestrial and may descend below the ground in drought or cold weather. The reproduction is aquatic and breeding occurs in July – November. The eggs are deposited around streams or creeks and underneath rocks. Larvae feed on arthropods.
The seal salamander is medium-sized (with an average length of 4.5 inches) and semi-aquatic. The body is stout and its hind limbs are larger than the forelimbs. It has protruding eyes and a tail flattened at the sides. It has a dark brown ground coloration with a faint patterns on the dorsum. The dorsal patterns are black markings on lines of light brown, gray, or buff. The salamander has a diagonal line below each eye. Juveniles have more spots on the back and tail. And the larvae possess small gills.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians