Salamanders are lizard like creatures that are a part of the amphibian class of animals. There are approximately 655 living species of salamander and many of these are known for their distinctive coloration. They are commonly found near water and some species live a complete aquatic existence. They were once believed to be able to withstand fire and the skins were used to create fire proof clothing. However, we now know that this is a myth. Some species are poisonous and their bright coloration is a warning to predators. Like some other amphibians, they are capable of regrowing a lost limb. Now we know a bit more about these remarkable creatures, let’s find out which species of salamander is the largest in the world.
What is the largest species of salamander in the world?
The Chinese giant salamander is the largest species of salamander and is so large that it is also the largest amphibian in the world. This species can reach lengths of 180 cm (5.9 ft) and it can weight up to 36 kg (80 lb). However, the average size of an adult giant salamander is 115 cm (3.77 ft) long and weighs between 25-30 kg (55-66 lb). They have a large head, small eyes and dark skin. As the name suggests the Chinese giant salamander is native to China where it can be found in rocky mountain streams and lakes. It is also found in Taiwan, but it is thought that it was introduced to this country.
Unfortunately, large Chinese giant salamander’s are rarely found today. The species is listed as critically endangered and the population continues to decline. The main threats to this species are over hunting and poaching, pollution and habitat loss. Even though this species is under threat of extinction there are many thousands of these salamanders purchased for food consumption each year. It is considered a delicacy and is also used in Chinese medicine. This species can be bred in captivity, but there are doubts that a breeding program would be able to supplement the wild population.
Did you know?
The second largest species of salamander is the Japanese giant salamander, which grows up to 1.5 m (5 ft). These two species are also similar in appearance and are very closely related.