Northern Dusky Salamander
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Eastern Red-backed Salamander
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Salamanders in Niagara
Salamanders are amphibian and there are almost 500 different salamanders in the world. They look like lizards and typically have narrow and thin bodies, short noses, four legs, and long tails. Salamanders are usually less than 6 inches long, but some species can be much bigger, such as Giant Salamander which is 6 feet. Most salamanders have the same size of the front and hind limbs, and most of them have four toes on their front legs and five toes on their hind legs. Some of them are very tiny, but some of them can be very huge. They have wet and smooth skin and like to live near water or under some moist ground, so wetland is one of their main habitats. Some salamanders live in water in their entire lives, some live both on the land and the water, and some live on the land in their entire lives. In fact, salamanders can barely hear because they do not have eardrum. Interestingly, they are able to regenerate their losing body parts.
Most salamanders have small teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. In the lungless salamanders, they use their sticky tongue to shoot and catch their prey. However, other species live in water do not use the tongue to catch their prey because they have no muscles in their tongue. Moreover, although some species have a mobile tongue, they are not able to shoot their tongue. Young salamanders usually eat small animals such as daphnids and mosquito larvae. Then they start to eat rainworms, earthworms, slugs, snails, crickets etc. Bigger salamanders may also eat mice, fish, and crayfish.
Fish, turtles, birds, and frogs will eat salamanders’ eggs and larvae. Also, turtles, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, snakes are some of the predators of salamanders. However, human is becoming the biggest enemy of salamanders because human induces the loss of habitats and pollution. When salamanders feel endangered, they will use tail autotomy to distract predators. Their tail will wriggle for a while, and the salamanders will escape while the predators are distracted. However, it does not matter that they lose their tail because salamanders will not die and the tail will grow again within a few weeks.
Moreover, salamanders can be an indicator of the environment because their body is very sensitive to the surrounding environment. Many current environmental problems can affect their development, such as global warming, acid rain, pollution, and climate change. The loss of some pre-existing salamanders may mean that their habitats are degraded, and they cannot survive with these rapid environmental changes.