|Chinese Giant Salamander|
Class : Amphibia
Order : Caudata
Family : Cryptobranchidae
Genus : Andrias
Species : davidianus
Length : 40in (1m)
Weight : 25lb (11kg)
IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest Salamander species in the entire world. Individuals measuring 6ft (1.8m) have been recorded, though most specemins today around only around 3ft (.9m).
Chinese Giant Salamanders are found in the mountain streams of China, but due to habitat loss, harvesting for food and the pet trade, and the introduction of pesticides, these gigantic amphibians are fragmented in their population and are near extinction. They have been bred in captivity, but very few are actually kept in zoos around the world.
Chinese Giant Salamanders are most active during the night time, when they come out to hunt and feed on fish, small vertebrates, and various types of invertebrate species. They hunt primarily by smell and touch.
During the fall breeding season dozens, if not hundreds of Salamanders congregate and fight over breeding cavities. Females enter these lairs and lay up to 500 eggs, which are then guarded by the male until they hatch about two months later. A newly hatched Chinese Giant Salamander is only 1.2in (3cm) long!
Chinese Giant Salamanders are a long-lived species, and captive individuals have lived over 50 years.