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Are Salamanders Poisonous?

are-salamanders-poisonous

ANSWER:

Some species of salamanders are poisonous.

Salamanders are common in many areas of the United States, with some species being poisonous. Marshes, ponds, lakes and streams are common areas where salamanders are found during breeding season. Other times they are seen in drier areas such as forests and fields. Salamanders are amphibians, which characteristically breathe through gills, have smooth skin, and produce jelly-coated eggs.

Identification

There are many species of salamanders but some of the most toxic are tiger salamanders, spotted salamanders, and the rough-skinned newt. Salamanders excrete milky toxins through their skin when touched or eaten.

Symptoms

Some species of salamanders may produce mild symptoms of toxicity, while others can cause difficulty breathing, seizures, and eventual death.

Characteristics

Salamanders are cold-blooded and live up to 15 years. Most salamanders do not like to be touched or handled and excrete toxins in response to touch. These amphibians feed on worms and insects and are most active during periods of high humidity. Most species of salamanders grow up to 10 inches in length. Some salamanders such as the tiger salamander, can reach up to 14 inches in length. Other species are quite small. The Eastern newt reaches just 2 1/2 to 5 inches in length at maturity.

 

Resources

“Six Slippery Salamanders.” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Nov. 2012.  http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/volunteer/young_naturalists/salamanders/salamanders.pdf

“Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) Species Profile: Housing, Diet, Temperament, and Reproduction.” Pet Health Care | Dog and Cat Behavior Information by Veterinarians. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Nov. 2012.  http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=17+1848&aid=2953

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