Wildlife. Five things to know about the spotted salamander – Animals

  • 1 Humidity or nothing!

  • Katell Quistinic, director of the Kerdanet Terrarium, in Plouagat: “Salamanders are amphibians that depend on the temperature and humidity of the environment. The air must be charged with a certain amount of moisture for them to come out of their sleeping areas. Moreover, their skin is always moist. During long dry spells like this summer, there has been an outpouring of salamanders with little rain. In autumn, the temperatures remain mild, it rains more often, so we see more of them. This will stop the temperature dropping, which will cause them to go into hibernation, on the ground, under cover, under stones or piles of wood for example. »

  • 2 Yellow, orange or reddish, one species only in Brittany

  • “There is only one species of salamander in Brittany and even in France – apart from some very specific areas like the Alps where there are others – it is the spotted salamander. It is yellow and black, with small differences -various in color, from orange to reddish. It looks like a lizard but is actually a urodele (an order of amphibians that retain a tail in the adult state, editor’s note). Its natural longevity is 20 to 25 years.

  • 3 He Could Be Confused With A Newt

  • “It can be confused with newts, other amphibians whose way of life is different, however, because they return to the water to reproduce. Whereas in the salamander, when the aquatic larva metamorphosed (lungs formed, loss of webbing on the fingers, rounded tail), it exclusively leads a terrestrial life. But it is necessary to return to the water, because the salamander remains an amphibian: mating takes place on land (males never set foot in water), but females lay eggs in ponds, puddles or washhouses. And since they are viviparous animals, they give birth directly to the larvae, without going through the egg stage. »

    If you want to avoid drowning in wells, washhouses or troughs with steep walls, you should place small nets or branches inside to offer amphibians (frogs are also concerned) an emergency exit.

  • 4 His Deadly Enemy (And How To Save Him)

  • “The salamander has no predators, its bright color naturally prevents any hostility to it from wild animals. So, in the first place, road traffic. Egg laying, for females, is at risk also: they sometimes target wells, washes, or troughs whose walls are often too steep to climb out of. However, they no longer have the morphology of an aquatic creature (no more flat tail, no webbing) and are not that can swim. Then they will run out to the surface and end up drowning. Instead of direct manipulation, I recommend, if you want to avoid drowning, to put small nets or branches inside to offer the amphibians (frogs are also concerned) with an escape route. Although they are not lizards, they are very good at climbing surfaces if they are not too smooth. There are also places in the world that are true amphibian traps. The meter or water outside is one. The salamander that gets in here can’t get out”. It should be noted that to a large extent, the causes of the constant decrease in its numbers are the shrinking of wetlands, the fragmentation of the landscape by roads and the use of pesticides.

  • 5 Unadvised manipulations

  • “Because as a protected species, it’s not allowed. But we can handle it, a second or two, the time to pick it up and take it from a place where its life is in danger to put it in a safe place. During the rescue missions of amphibians on the roads, during the migratory period, where they are handled in large numbers, it is important to wear gloves so that they do not dry out, because amphibians do not have hair or scales to protect themselves and retain their moisture. . It should be noted that handling the salamander with empty hands is not only dangerous for the salamander, but also for the person who takes it: as its color indicates, it is poisonous: it has venom glands on its cheeks spreading an anesthetic poison over everyone. over his body. So wash your hands well. »

    In Morlaix (29), in the Langolvas wood, a sign warns of the presence of spotted salamanders and the protected status of the species. (The Telegram/Virginie Chenard)

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