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Fire Salamander Quick Facts
- Other Name(s): Common fire salamander, European fire salamander
- Scientific name: Salamandra salamandra
- Type of Animal: Amphibian
- Animal Family: Salamandridae
- Where Found: Throughout Europe
- Length: up to 25 cm (10 in.)
- Weight: 10g (0.7 oz.)
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
- Other interesting Fire Salamander facts: Fire salamanders have been known to live over 50 years in captivity.
Fire Salamander Video
Watch the video below to see the Fire Salamander in the wild:
Meet The Fire Salamander: Introduction
The fire salamander is a distinctive yellow and black amphibian that lives throughout Southern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the most familiar wild salamanders in Europe, and is also kept as a pet in many parts of the world.
The fire salamander’s scientific name is Salamandra salamandra. It has several subspecies.
Fire Salamander Facts: Habitat
The fire salamander is usually found in cool, wet forests in hilly regions. It is rarely found at altitudes lower than 250 m (820 ft.), or higher than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.).
Deciduous forests are preferred because the fire salamander lives on the forest floor among leaf litter and moss.
The fire salamander requires the presence of streams or ponds nearby for the development of its larvae.
Fire salamanders are mostly active after dark, and don’t stray too far from home. They will usually return to the same sheltered spot during the day.
Fire Salamander Diet
The fire salamander’s diet consists of invertebrates such as insects, spiders, worms. It will also take small vertebrates, including other amphibians. Pet fire salamanders are fed crickets, mealworms, and similar foods.
Fire Salamander Poison
The fire salamander’s bright colors are an example of ‘warning coloration’, or ‘aposematism’. The colors are a warning sign to would-be predators that the salamander is poisonous.
The fire salamander has poison glands on its head and along its back. The poison glands often correspond to the yellow areas of the salamander’s body. Through these glands are secreted the alkaloid samandarin and other toxins.
The salamander’s poison irritates the mucous membrane and affects the nervous system of the victim, causing muscle convulsions or paralysis, which in turn affect the victim’s circulation and breathing. Large doses can be fatal.
If threatened, the fire salamander can also spray poison at would-be predators.
Fire Salamander Breeding
The time of year during which mating takes place differs from region to region. During the mating season male fire salamanders act aggressively towards each other, forming territories and fighting.
Mating takes place on land. The male confronts the female and crawls under her, grabbing her front limbs. He deposits a spermatophore (a ball of reproductive material) and maneuvers her over it. She takes it inside of her and fertilization occurs internally.
Some Fire Salamanders Give Birth To Live Young
The eggs develop internally, and are laid in water just as the larvae are about to hatch. The larvae undergo metamorphosis in the water. During this process they lose their gills and become able to live and breathe on land.
However, in some subspecies, the larvae hatch and continue to develop inside the female. They are born in their adult form.
Are Fire Salamanders Endangered?
Fire salamanders are found over a large range. Although some local populations are becoming scarce, and their overall population is decreasing, the fire salamander has the conservation status of ‘Least Concern’.
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