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 Fire Salamander  (Salamandra salamandra)


One of the largest amphibians anywhere, and extremely handsome, usually being liveried in some form of yellow and black pattern which in fact serves as a notice of its potential toxicity. The parotid glands behind the eyes are prominent: if seized, the Fire Salamander will use these to eject a foul-tasting fluid into the eyes or mouth of its would-be predator. Its skin is also toxic. Its habitat is usually forested hilly or mountainous country, not far from water. Although it cannot swim, this salamander likes moisture and is frequently encountered after rain. The Fire Salamander has also long been a popular terrarium subject which is also fairly hardy and thus easy to keep. There are about 15 subspecies with varying markings: most give birth to 50 or so larvae with four limbs and branchial gills, but some give birth to fully metamorphosed young, completely bypassing the larval stage. It should be noted that Fire Salamanders cannot swim and avoid water except for reproductive purposes. They also dislike hot weather, temperatures above 70 deg F. being potentially dangerous to them.


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