Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!

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Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

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AMPHIBIANS

Yonahlossee Salamander

Plethodon yonahlossee

ON EXHIBIT:  Tennessee River Gallery at River Journey

Yonahlossee Salamander

FUN FACTS
The Yonahlossee is a large, handsome salamander with a broad red or chestnut stripe down its back extending from the neck to the base of the tail. Yonahlossees prefer second growth deciduous forests. They live in fallen logs and rotting stumps or in long burrows designed to enable them to move about underground. In the twilight of evening they will venture out of their daytime refuges to search for insects and other invertebrates. This agile salamander will beat a hasty retreat into its burrow or under forest litter or any nearby rock if it is disturbed. E.R. Dunn, a noted salamander biologist, first described this salamander in 1917. Mr. Dunn named the species after the old Yonahlossee road on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, a location very near his collecting site.

CONSERVATION
Populations are stable.  All amphibians are at risk due to factors such as habitat destruction, pollution and diseases such as ranavirus and chytrid fungus.



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About This Animal

SIZE: 4.3-8.7 in (11-22 cm)

RANGE: Southern Blue Ridge Mountains and the French Broad River valley from northeast Virginia to southwest North Carolina and extreme eastern Tennessee, North America 

HABITAT: Deciduous forests at elevations of 1,400-5,700 feet

DIET: Earthworms, snails, slugs, spiders, insects and smaller salamanders