A lizard in Michigan?

Asked November 29, 2019, 3:38 PM EST

I work in a plumbing supply in Oak Park Michigan and for the past few weeks kept forgetting to pick this little dead lizard up. It looks like a worm but I was convinced it had little legs from the angle that I could see. I guess my question is do we have lizards like this in Michigan if not where did this lizard come from? I wish you could tell me

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Thank you for your inquiry! I believe this specimen is actually a salamander, a blue-spotted salamander to be more specific. This species is fairly common to locally abundant in southern Michigan, although they are rarely seen because they typically spend most of their time underneath logs or leaf litter. Occasionally during rains they emerge and sometimes get stranded and die, which may be what happened to the individual you found. I attached a picture of a blue-spotted salamander I took near my home in Lansing to show what they look like when alive. Hopefully this helps verify what you found.

Regarding lizards in Michigan, we actually have two distinct species, the Five-lined Skink and the Six-lined Racerunner. The skink can be found throughout the Lower Peninsula, but has a scattered distribution and the racerunner is a State Threatened species found in east-central Michigan.

So it is possible that you could find a lizard in Michigan, but believe you have found a salamander this time.

You can learn more about Michigan's salamander and lizard species on the Michigan DNR's webpage: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79135_79218_79616_83199---,00.html

Thanks and hope this helps!