Facts on the Japanese Giant Salamander

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The Japanese giant salamander is a large amphibian that typically lives in rivers and streams. Like other amphibians, Japanese giant salamanders are capable of living on both land and in water. Japanese giant salamanders look a lot like smaller versions of the amphibian found in North America, though their diet varies more.

Size and Lifespan

  • The Japanese giant salamander usually weighs between 55 and 60 pounds. These amphibians are typically between 3 and 5 feet in length. In their natural habitat, Japanese giant salamanders can live as long as 60 years, though they usually live closer to 40 years. They have lived for up to 75 years in captivity.

Population and Breeding

  • The Japanese giant salamander is a threatened creature that is also sometimes called the giant Japanese pepper fish despite not being a fish at all. The main reason for the limited amounts of these salamanders is pollution, though erosion also plays a part. After laying their eggs, they take anywhere from 12 to 15 weeks to incubate. The salamanders lay their eggs near river areas where they make their home. Female giant Japanese salamanders lay as many as 500 eggs. The baby salamanders are usually about 3 centimeters long, hardly an indicator of the huge size they later attain.

Diet

  • The Japanese giant salamander does not limit its diet to creatures in the water. It will eat fish and crabs in the water, but it will also eat small creatures near the river banks or the outskirts of the forest. Since it does not see well, the salamander sometimes has difficulty getting the prey it wants and can not be too picky. The salamander employs a suction ability to get hold of all types of food. It usually goes after food at night and spends the days resting.

Other Facts

  • The scientific name for the Japanese giant salamander is the cryptobranchus alleganiensis. The first known skeleton of the creature was found in 1726, but was not immediately identified as an amphibian. To get more oxygen while submerged in water, Japanese giant salamanders have skin flaps on their necks.

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