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What Is Unusual & Unique About the Chinese Giant Salamander?

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The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is full-time aquatic creature that, true to its name, is indeed enormous. These nocturnal salamanders are similar to Japanese giant salamanders (Andrias japonicus), although they are bigger than the latter species. Chinese giant salamanders live exclusively in China, in the nation's southern, southwestern and central portions.

Immense Size

One of the most unusual things about the Chinese giant salamander is its size. They are the planet's biggest amphibians, period, according to the Zoological Society of London. In certain cases, fully mature Chinese giant salamanders can grow to nearly 6 feet long.

Lengthy Life Expectancy

Chinese giant salamanders often have longevity on their sides. When they reside in captive environments, such as zoos, they sometimes can live for longer than 52 years, indicates the EDGE organization. Chinese giant salamanders generally become reproductively capable when they are approximately 15 years old.

Cannibal Tendencies

These massive amphibians occasionally practice rather unusual eating habits. Chinese giant salamanders sometimes feed on other specimens of their species. They also sometimes consume their own eggs, as well as their own shed skin. Apart from those habits, Chinese giant salamanders are relatively standard when it comes to diet, feeding heavily on components such as smaller amphibians, crustaceans, bug larvae, aquatic bugs, worms, fish, tiny mammals and the decaying remnants of dead animals. Fish and crustaceans are especially important and common elements of the Chinese giant salamander menu.

Skin Breathing

Although Chinese giant salamanders do indeed have lungs, their breathing generally occurs via the skin. Their lungs are not up to par for their respiratory purposes.

Weak Eyesight

Eyesight is not a strong suit for Chinese giant salamanders. Their beady eyes are situated distantly from each other—on their facial "edges." Because of the positions of their eyes, they can't look at a single thing with both eyes at once. Their circular eyes are completely devoid of eyelids as well. To make up for the disadvantage of weak vision, Chinese giant salamanders depend on their tactile and olfactory senses while on their quests for food.