After two hours of sifting through mud, rocks and logs we were ready to give up. Finally a log hidden among the leaves revealed what we were looking for a salamander. Unfortunately we had no idea what kind it was, so we took lots of pictures.
This chubby little guy had us fooled for a while because we had no idea that it could even be a red backed salamander until we counted the costal grooves (lines in its side- marking ribs.) The red backed salamander can have between 18 and 22 and this little guy had plenty of them. After a trip to the Nature Center to confirm our findings, we had our answer-it was a lead phase red backed salamander. The shocking part was that there is no red on its body at all.