Chinese Giant Salamander
The Chinese giant salamander is the largest living species of salamander in the world being endemic to the mountain streams and lakes in China. Their length can reach an astonishing 1.8 metres although the average salamander will weight 25 to 30 kilos and have a length of about 1.1 metres. Their limbs are short and their tails can be up to 0,9 metres.They can live for up to 80 years.They have large heads combined with small eyes.Their skin is smooth and slick with black blotches. Their colourations can vary from dark brown or plain black to green with lighter underparts. . An adult giant salamander is able to breathe through pores and wrinkles in the skin.
Despite their poor vision, they manage to be exceptional hunters by using sensory nodes on their heads and skin to feel even the slightests vibrations produced by the prey's movement. Chinese giant salamanders mainly feed on fish,shrimps,inscects,frogs and crabs.
Zoos with chinese giant salamanders
There are many zoos and parks featuring chinese giant salamanders:
- Five giant salamanders are kept in US zoos (Zoo Atlanta, Cincinnati Zoo, and Saint Louis Zoological Park).
- Four in European zoos (Zoo Dresden, Rotterdam Zoo).
- The shangai aquarium has a few
- And of course many zoos and parks in China
Conservation Status of the Chinese Giant Salamander
Unfortunately this beautiful animal is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. The main threats are pollution and habitat alterance. They are also hunted and killed for many reasons including pet trade,food consumption, and usages in chinese medicine. As a result a protected area was created in Mount Wuyi, China to preserve the species.
Let's just hope that one day the Chinese Giant Salamander will thrive again..