ringed salamanders

A pile of ringed salamanders found trapped in a corner of a cement stairway. Photo from Missouri Department of Conservation Facebook page

Ringed salamanders seldom venture out into the open where humans can see them. They live in heavily forested areas and prefer hiding under logs and rocks, and burrows made by small animals. They are a rare sight for humans.

So when a Missouri homeowner looked down on an outside stairway, a surprising sight emerged—a huge pile of ringed salamanders were trapped in a corner.

GeoBeats News reported on the find:

In the news report, wildlife biologist Dr. David Steen offered this explanation: "So, the ringed salamanders that this Missouri homeowner found had undoubtedly just emerged from their subterranean lairs and were undertaking their annual terrestrial migration to a breeding wetland."

ringed salamander

A ringed salamander. Photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

"In autumn they travel by night to fishless woodland ponds where they may congregate by the hundreds for breeding," the Missouri Department of Conservation wrote on its Facebook page. "The salamanders were moved to a nearby fishless pond so they could continue."

The salamanders, ranging from 5 to 7 inches long, are stimulated by heavy rains and cool temperatures, according to the Missouri Dept. of Conservation. The ringed salamanders are found in southwestern and central Missouri Ozarks, and in the river hills of the Missouri River in the eastern section of the state.

And sometimes they are found congregated on a cement stairway.

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