Olm Facts

Olm Facts
Olm is aquatic salamander and the only member of the genus Proteus. It can be found in the underwater caves of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Olm is distant relative of axolotl. It belongs to the group of ancient amphibians that developed 190 million years ago. Unfortunately, olm is classified as vulnerable due to increased pollution of the water in its natural habitat.
Interesting Olm Facts:
Olm can reach 1 to 16 inches in length and 0.1 to 5.3 ounces of weight. Females are slightly larger than males.
Olm has pink or yellowish-white skin on the back. Internal organs on the ventral side of the body are nearly visible due to translucent skin on the belly.
Olm is also known as "human fish" because of its human-like, pinkish skin.
Olm has pear-shaped head, rounded snout and mouth filled with small teeth. It has snake-like, elongated body, short, thin limbs with three fingers on the front and two fingers on the hind legs and short, flat tail surrounded with thin fin.
Adult olm has fully-developed lungs, but they are not used for breathing because of the aquatic lifestyle of this animal. Olm breaths via three pairs of short, red-colored, frilly gills located behind the head.
Olm moves its body like a snake while it swims through the water.
Olm has small eyes covered with fine layer of skin. Blindness represents adaptation to the life in complete darkness. Even though it cannot see, it has excellent senses of hearing and smell which facilitate navigation in the space and finding of food.
Olm is a carnivore. Its diet is based on the snails, worms, aquatic insects and larvae.
Olm can survive around 10 years without food by using glycogen and lipids stored in the liver.
Fish and other amphibians are the only natural enemies of olm.
Olm is gregarious animal that is often found in groups. Sexually active males are solitary and territorial. They aggressively defend their territory and produce pheromones to attract females.
Olms can mate all year round. Female lays 5 to 70 eggs in between the rocks and guard them until they hatch. Tadpoles are 0.7 inch long after hatching. They grow and attain morphology of adults at the age of 4 months.
Olm reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10 to 15 years.
Due to risk of becoming extinct in the near future, group of French scientists initiated conservation project dedicated to the preservation of olms in 1952. They brought group of olms to the cave in France which has the same environmental characteristics like the caves in their homeland. Today's population of olms in France consists of around 400 animals.
Olm can survive 50 to 100 years in the wild.

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