Fire Salamander

With a yellow-and-black warning costume

Fire Salamander (Ralf Kubosch)
Fire Salamander (Ralf Kubosch)

A species of large deciduous forests with clean streams

The Fire Salamander belongs to the family of "true salamanders" and is our largest native amphibian, with a body length of up to 20 centimetres.  Unlike newts, its tail is round, not flattened laterally. The yellow and black pattern on the backs of adult animals is unique to each individual and is therefore like a fingerprint. In Germany, there are "easterners" with a pattern of spots and "westerners" with a striped pattern. In both cases, the pattern is a warning costume because the Fire Salamander can actively defend itself by exuding an effective skin poison, which it can even spray for a short distance. Adult Fire Salamanders have few natural enemies. It has been proven that they can reach an age of 20 years in the wild.

Fire salamanders prefer large, damp deciduous and mixed forests, and are mainly active in the evening and the night. During the day they hide in fallen leaves and around mossy tree trunks, under wood or in crevices. However, on warm, rainy days they may be active in daytime as well. Unlike most other native amphibians, they do not lay eggs, but deposit 10-70 gill-bearing larvae in the water, preferably in fish-free, clean and well-oxygenated streams.