Salamanders are not reptiles but amphibians, which spend much of their lives in and around water. Toads, frogs, and newts are other types of amphibians that also need moisture on their skin to survive.
Unlike reptiles, salamanders cannot generate their own body heat. These amphibians must seek out areas to live that will keep their body temperature similar to their surroundings.
Salamanders seek out moist areas such as creek beds, under rocks and under firewood. Certain species of salamanders live in the water occasionally and others are aquatic for their entire lives. Salamanders lay their eggs in the water, where they remain until time to hatch. When these amphibians are seen near homes, they are most often found in damp, wet basements where moisture is abundant.
The United States is home to more species of salamanders than any other place in the world. While most salamanders are harmless, certain species are poisonous and can cause symptoms of poisoning when ingested or handled. Most salamanders are small, measuring up to 5 feet in length. The population of salamanders has drastically decreased due to environmental factors such as pollution and the destruction of their habitat. The chytrid fungus has also killed many species of salamanders, causing some species to become endangered.
“Salamander Information | Salamander Fun Facts | Reptile Gardens.” Wild Animal Park | South Dakota Attractions | Reptile Gardens. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. http://www.reptilegardens.com/amphibians-bugs/amphibians/salamanders.php
“Reptiles & Amphibians.” Morgan Arboretum. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. http://www.morganarboretum.org/fma/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=32