Salamander Facts

Salamander Facts
Salamander is a type of amphibian, close relative of frogs and toads. They live mostly in the northern hemisphere, in the wet areas near the lakes and ponds. Depending on the species, some salamanders spend their life in the water, other on the land, while the most species live part of their life in the water, and part on the land. There are 500 known species of salamanders. Large percent of them is endangered due to habitat loss and pollution.
Interesting Salamander Facts:
Salamanders vary in size. Minute salamander is the smallest salamander, reaching only 1.1 inches in length. Chinese giant salamander is the largest salamander, reaching over 6 feet in length and weighing of up to 140 pounds.
Salamanders look like lizards because of their long and slim body, but unlike lizards they have smooth and glossy skin.
Just like all amphibians, salamanders have four limbs, with four toes on their front legs, and five toes on their hind limbs. They do not have claws.
Salamander's skin is highly sensitive to environmental pollution because toxins easily pass the skin and reach inner organs. By tracking the number of salamanders in the wild, scientists can estimate whether environment is healthy or not. If there is a large population of salamanders that means that environment is clean, and vice versa.
Some salamanders are brightly colored, some others are not. It all depends on the amount of the pigments in the skin.
Light colored species spend most of their time hidden underground, or in the dark caves. Body coloration, especially bright colors, indicates that animal can be poisonous. Their skin is covered with mucus which contains bitter substances which make them inedible (poisonous) for predators.
Another important technique used against the predators is known as "autotomy" or an ability to reject a limb or a tail when animal needs to escape from the predator.
Salamanders will develop missing limb or tail in the next couple of weeks due to incredible power of regeneration.
Spotted salamanders are characterized by uneven rows of yellow spots, which can be used for the identification of the individual animals.
Salamanders breathe using the lungs, gills or their skin, depending on their life style (water or land). Aquatic forms have gills located behind their head, as a bushy mass. Animals which breathe by skin have a dense capillary network in the skin, which is used for the gas exchange.
Salamanders eat worms and insects. Some species have tongue which can be ten times longer than their body.
Male salamanders perform special type of dancing in the water, a ritual which precedes mating. By moving his head and tail, he sends chemical signals (pheromones) to alert the female that he is ready for the mating. If the dance attracts the female, she will join him in dance.
Depending on the species, females lays one, two or couple of hundreds eggs during a single mating season.
Most salamanders are born from the eggs without a hard shell that are laid in the water.
Salamanders can live very long period of time. Chinese giant salamander can live up to 55 years.

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