​Giant Salamander China Cave: Chinese Fishermen Step On Large Amphibian In Water

Giant Salamander China Cave
Author: Jennifer HongBy:
Staff Reporter
Dec. 18, 2015

Giant salamander China cave: A giant salamander was found by a fisherman is estimated to be more than 200 years old. The salamander was found alive in the waters at a size of 4-feet, 7-inches and weighs 104 pounds, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The cave where the salamander was found is in Chongqing, China. The giant amphibian was discovered when a fisherman stepped on something “soft and slimy.” He contacted conservationists who took the animal to a nature preserve after determining that it was sick.

Giant Salamander China Cave: Huge amphibian found by fishermen

Giant Salamander China Cave: Huge amphibian found by fishermen

The animals are critically endangered, with only about 50,000 left in the wild. They are under threat due to habitat loss, pollution and poaching, and the population has dropped 80 percent in the past 50 years.

While the age of the giant salamander found in the China cave cannot be determined, they are known to reach about 50 years of age in captivity, but it isn’t known how old they may get in the wild. Experts believe this animal to be older than 200 years, but it is unclear how they reached that estimate.

The giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world, and this isn’t even the biggest one. They have been known to reach up to six feet in length.

They are considered a delicacy to some in China, though there is no scientific evidence supporting claims that eating the animals has any positive effect on human health. It’s been reported that poachers have turned to measures like explosives to capture the increasingly elusive animals.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the giant salamander critically endangered, and says the species has experienced a more than 80 percent population decline over the last 45 years.

Finding a Chinese giant salamander in the wild is thus a marvelous achievement in and of itself. Finding one that’s more than 200 years old? Well, that may just be a historic event.

The giant salamander has been transferred to a special research facility for study and protection.

Salamanders never have more than four toes on their front legs and five on their rear legs, but some species have fewer digits and others lack hind limbs. Their permeable skin usually makes them reliant on habitats in or near water or other cool, damp places.

Some salamander species are fully aquatic throughout their lives, some take to the water intermittently, and others are entirely terrestrial as adults. Unique among vertebrates, they are capable of regenerating lost limbs, as well as other damaged parts of their bodies.

Ancient living creature

Members of the family are mostly known as newts and lack the costal grooves along the sides of their bodies typical of other groups. The skin of some species contains the powerful poison tetrodotoxin and these salamanders tend to be slow-moving and have bright warning coloration to advertise their toxicity.

Salamanders typically lay eggs in water and have aquatic larvae, but great variation occurs in their lifecycles. In some species and some harsh environments, salamanders reproduce while still in the larval state.

The giant salamander found in a China cave has a lizard-like appearance. They usually have slender bodies, blunt snouts, short limbs projecting at right angles to the body, and the presence of a tail in both larvae and adults.

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