This salamander is endemic to the Cascade Range near Shasta Lake in Shasta County, California.
These salamanders thrive around the cliff faces, walls of caverns and the mixed forests of pines and oaks. They can be found in moist caves and rock crevices. They can be found in volcanic outcrops and limestone outcrops or locations with not outcrops at all. Females lay eggs in caves in the summer. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
This is a small, thickset type of salamander that ranges in length between 1.75-2.5 inches (snout-to-vent) and 3-4.3 (total length). It has webbed feet, a flattened body with 13 coastal and nasolabial grooves, a broad head, and a tapered, blunt tail. The Samwel Shasta salamander has a tongue that can extend more than 2 inches from the mouth. It has a gray to dark reddish-brown color above and a pattern comprising of mottling with grayish-green to tan flecks. The tail has some yellow highlight and the venter is a grayish color. The young develop in the egg and hatch fully formed with no larvae process.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians