The salamander gets its name from the Greek word meaning 'fire lizard'. It is an amphibian which has a strong resemblance to lizards. It has a long and thin-shaped body with four legs and a long tail. There are over 700 species found all across the world. Most of them are bright in color and have a soft and moist skin. This creature does not have any scales, ear openings, or claws on its body. It is either aquatic, semi-aquatic, or terrestrial. Its habitat differs according to the different species.
- There are three different types of habitats depending on the species. The aquatic species lives in water throughout its lifespan. The semi-aquatic species prefers to live on land. It lives in water during the winter season for hibernating. Also, with the onset of breeding season, it starts living in the water. The terrestrial species lives on land all its life. It hardly enters the water but prefers to live close to water bodies or wetlands.
- The skin of this creature secretes a special kind of mucous substance that enables it to stay in moist condition while living on dry land. When in water, this mucous helps it to retain the salt balance of its body and acts as a lubricant to help it swim.
- Most salamanders are carnivorous in nature. Common foods are insects and small invertebrates. Some large ones eat frogs, fish, and other salamanders as well. The larvae eat tiny aquatic animals.
- It is basically a nocturnal creature. During the daytime, it hides under fallen logs and damp leaf litter. Basically, it prefers to live a secretive life.
- A unique characteristic of this creature is that it can regenerate its lost limbs and other body parts. This gives it an added advantage when it is attacked by predators. When the predator catches hold of its body part, it drops that part and runs away.
- Even though an adult look like a lizard, its larvae have a lot of similarity with frog tadpoles. They can be differentiated by the presence of gill structures near the neck region.
Creating the Habitat
In the wild, this creature lives in or near water and is found in brooks, lakes, creeks, ponds, rivers, swamps, and such places. It needs moist and damp surroundings to keep its skin from drying out.
If you are planning to keep one as a pet, then you have to create a living place for it. Depending on your species preference, you have to make either an aquatic, semi-aquatic, or land habitat. First, you have to select a strong and sturdy aquarium with a well-fitted lid. For an aquatic habitat, the floor should have 3 inches of aquarium gravel. Place the gravel in a gradual slope. Some aquatic plants should also be placed. Use bottled spring water in the tank, as it is safe for drinking.
The land habitat should consist of coarse sand and aquarium gravel of about 2 inches depth. It should be topped with sterile potting soil, peat moss, and garden loam. Keep some bark and rocks so that your pet can hide and sleep under them. You can use some terrestrial plants as well. For a semi-aquatic species, the tank has to be divided into two different sections with the help of a Plexiglas. One part for the land habitat and the other one for water habitat. On both sides, there should be a slope created in such a way that it can climb and move from water to land and vice versa.
The temperature requirement for the habitat is in the range of 69 to 75°F (20 to 24°C), and humidity should be around 80 percent. Rows of holes with a diameter of one-fourth inch each should be created on the walls of the tank to ensure proper ventilation. Otherwise, the atmosphere inside the aquarium will become unfit for your pet.
The population of the salamander is decreasing at an alarming rate. One of the key reasons behind this problem is the lack of a healthy habitat. Its skin is very delicate and is highly-sensitive towards pollution. For this reason, it requires a clean environment to live in.