The Giant Chinese Salamander is a rare animal that has been awarded the title of “the world’s largest amphibian” for its exorbitant size. This animal hides great secrets and one of them is its strange way of breathing.
Characteristics of the Giant Chinese Salamander
The Giant Chinese salamander is a rare amphibian with the scientific name Andrias Davidianus and belongs to the family Cryptobranchidae.
The size of this salamander, compared to other members of its family, has made it known as the largest amphibian in the world, measuring up to 1.8 meters in length, including its tail.
While it weighs approximately 64 kilos.
Physically, we can observe that it has a large head with protuberances, surprisingly small eyes without eyelids that are located on the top of its head and a muzzle with a rounded tendency.
The skin of this salamander is rough to the touch, wrinkled and lacks scales, in addition, it has a pigmentation of dark tones.
Its usual colors range from dark brown, black, green and some spots.
A special feature of this salamander, which makes it one of the rarest animals in the world, is its lack of guts.
Therefore, to breathe it sucks in oxygen through its porous skin and then releases it as carbon dioxide.
The body shape of this amphibian is elongated. Its sense of sight is bad, so in order to reward it it must sharpen other senses like smell and touch.
On the other hand, this animal has a fairly long life span, living approximately up to 58 years.
Currently, the Chinese Giant Salamander is in a critical state of fucking disappearance from our planet.
The main cause of the decrease of its specimens is the excessive hunting to obtain its meat which is considered a delicacy in many places.
In addition to this, the pollution and alteration of its natural habitat seriously affects its health, longevity and number of living specimens.
What is their habitat?
The Giant Chinese salamander is a rare animal native to China, hence its name.
These amphibians are distributed along the waters of the mountains of China and in the tributaries of the Pearl, Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
They inhabit waters with rapid currents and low temperatures, characteristic of muddy areas, lakes, streams and mountainous areas.
What do Chinese Giant Salamander eat?
This aquatic species feeds on organisms within its reach. But it does so only at night.
Because of its poor eyesight it has to sharpen its other senses to go in search of its prey, which it captures with amazing speed and precision, bringing it directly to its mouth.
As a process prior to the capture of its prey, the salamander keeps a careful eye on its victim, waiting for the perfect moment to attack and capture it.
It is precisely its mouth that is so large that it makes the process of feeding as easy as possible for them.
Their diet includes various fish, worms, crabs, insects, smaller salamanders and snails, among other animals.
Reproduction of the Giant Chinese Salamander
The reproductive process of the Giant Chinese Salamander begins in the months of August and September, when a large number of salamanders gather in rivers where temperatures are very low.
Before mating takes place, the males fight among themselves to determine who will have the honor of mating with the female.
It is usual that in these fights some die from the strong blows they give each other.
Once the courtship is over, the male breaks into the female’s reproductive cavities, and so the reproductive act occurs.
The female can lay between 400 and 500 eggs which are attached in a similar way to a pearl necklace.
The eggs are placed in a previously selected nest and from that moment on they will be in charge of the male, who will incubate them and take care of them until the hatching occurs.
The hatchlings are born 15 weeks after fertilization and will have larval characteristics and change a little as time goes by, but not completely.
In addition, at birth they are equipped with gills but these disappear soon enough to start breathing like the other members of their species, that is, through their skin.
Do they have predators?
As with other species of salamanders, their most common predator is fish. But they especially attack eggs or very small, defenceless young.