Besides Frogs, Salamanders are the other major group of Amphibians. Unlike Frogs, Salamanders have tails. There are nine recognized families of Salamanders with 350 species worldwide. Mudpuppies (of the family Necturidae) are large, fully aquatic animals, who have retained bushy gills. Newts (Salamandridae), who have toxic skin secretions, are found mainly in Europe and Asia. Mole Salamanders (Ambystomatidae) are thick-bodied animals that live their lives underground. Lungless Salamanders (Plethodontidae) lack lungs and breathe by taking oxygen through their skin. These Salamanders live mostly in North and South America.
People have long associated Salamander with fire. Before central heating, people would use logs for heat in the winter. The stacked logs, outside, provided the best place for a Salamander to hibernate. When the logs brought in and thrown into the fire, the heat would wake up the sleeping Salamander. To escape being burned, He would race out of the log. Hence, people thought that fire created Salamanders.
Salamanders teach us to experience the unexpected--whether it is brightly colored Tiger Salamander resting under a rock, foot-long Mudpuppy swimming by, or Fire Salamander racing out of a burning log. Learn to delight in these little surprises and look forward to them.
Salamander Family’s Teachings Include:
“Most absorb water through their skin, and some even breathe through their skin. Thus, they are highly aware of their environment, and know instantly when it has changed. A similar awareness can benefit us, and it is equally important to view our dreams and visions in the context of the environment in which they will exist.” Copyright: Beyond the Rainbow (Constance Barrett Sohodski).
Take time to read what the Individual Salamander Teachers have to teach.
Conservation Note: Due to habitat loss, Salamanders are endangered. Many species are protected in Europe.
Salamanders in a Massachusetts (USA) town were being killed, trying to crossing a busy street to get to their breeding ponds. The people of Amherst tried to save the Salamanders by carrying them across in buckets. To find a better way of saving the Amphibians, the local people worked with the British Fauna and Floral Preservation Society, ACO Polymer of Germany, the Amherst Department of Public Works, University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Hitchcock Center for the Environment (a local conservation group) to design and build a tunnel for the Salamanders to use to cross the street in safety. The tunnel was built, and hundreds of Salamanders were saved.
(Read about more of this at U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration: Critter Crossings: “Linking Habitats and Reducing Road Kill”.)
Salamanders' Crossing Sign and Ecopassage photos courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration: Critter Crossings: “Linking Habitats and Reducing Road Kill”. Check their website on how to save wildlife from becoming road kill.