Salamanders are inspirational. Salamanders, and the related newts, are amphibians with four legs, a slender body, moist skin, and a long tail. Amazingly, these animals can lose their tails and have their bodies damaged by predators and then regrow or repair body parts. Their skin secretes substances predators dislike and/or can cause them damage, so a species of salamander can even play dead until they are regurgitated and left alone by their predator. Salamanders and their ability to repair/regrow body parts are studied for regeneration to benefit humans. Scientists hope stem cells and a reverse engineering process can lead to healing spinal cord and brain injuries, repair damaged organs, and reduce scarring and fibrosis after surgery.
Most salamanders species are found in the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 655 species. Their permeable, moist skin make living in or near water or a cool, damp place ideal for them. The species that secrete poison from their skins have bright colors and patterns on their skin that warns predators. Salamanders usually lay eggs in water and have aquatic larvae. External, as well as internal, fertilization can occur however. Eggs can be in still ponds or concealed sites in flowing water. They may be guarded by the female. Some species lay eggs on well-hidden spots on land where the female guards them. A larvae stage usually occurs before the adult stage, but some may go from eggs to a miniature adult stage as well. Some have gills, some have lungs, and others depend on their skin for respiration. Salamanders may go through stages of respiring by different means or a combination of them. Salamanders can be just over an inch to almost 6 feet in length.
Salamanders do have teeth and have sticky tongues. Depending on their species, salamanders may eat crabs, fish, small mammals, amphibians, earthworms, and many types of insects. Their teeth and/or sticky tongues can help them with their prey. Their muscles and tongues, usually in almost all species, help in the capture of their prey.
Salamanders are present in literature and legend. Their skin has been depicted as impenetrable to fire. Cultures have even used the poisons from their skin to enhance liquor. They are said to add hallucinogenic or aphrodisiac effects to alcoholic drinks made with them.
There is a lot to know and appreciate about salamanders. Be inspired! Have a bright day!