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What are some facts about the California slender salamander?

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California slender salamanders are small, insectivorous salamanders that reach about 5 1/2 inches in total length. The salamanders are native to California and southwestern Oregon, where they inhabit moist, terrestrial habitats. These small amphibians are very shy, and sometimes occur in high densities.

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California slender salamanders have a number of defensive adaptations. They are cryptically colored to prevent predators from discovering them. They are primarily clad in brown, gray and black, but they often have a reddish-brown stripe along their back. When discovered, they often wrap themselves into a motionless, tight coil; when they believe escape is possible, they uncoil and attempt to run away. Additionally, California slender salamanders produce a sticky secretion from their skin that serves to dissuade predators. If a predator grasps the salamander’s tail, he usually breaks off. This usually allows the salamander, which has the ability to regenerate the lost tail, to escape with his life.

Like most other slender salamanders, the California slender salamander has four toes on its front and rear feet, making them the only species native to California to have less than five toes on each foot. Unlike many other salamanders, California slender salamanders deposit their eggs on dry land. The eggs hatch into young that resemble miniature versions of the adults.

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