They are endemic to the United States and can be found in the mountainous areas, from the Great Smoky Mountains in the east to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pygmy salamanders are frequently found in the southwestern areas of Virginia to the Georgia state line in southwestern North Carolina.
They are generally found in forested areas with high humidity. They thrive under mosses and rotten logs. Larger populations may be found in highly elevated spruce-fir forests. Breeding occurs in late fall and late spring. Females lay eggs in late summer near a lake or a stream or moist ground. The pygmy salamanders feed mostly at night and prey on arthropods in the soil and leaf litter.
The adult salamanders range between 1.2-2.0 inches. They have a coppery red stripe that runs down their body and ends at the rounded tail. The tail is half of the total body length and its eyelids are also copper-colored. They are typically light brown but they coloration can range from red to yellow. They also have a rounded snout. Female pygmy salamanders tend to be larger than males at sexual maturity. Hatchling salamanders are very similar to adults.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians