Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Left: Unknown
Habitat: Japan
Why Endangered: Unknown

The salamander is a timid, harmless animal that looks like a lizard but is related to frogs and toads. It is a type of amphibian.
Salamanders mate and lay their eggs in water but otherwise live on land. They tend to dwell in rotten logs, under rocks, in caves, and in other cool, dark, moist places.

Salamanders have moist, dark skin and are difficult to see in their natural environment. Some are brightly colored.

Salamanders have a long tail that is used for swimming. They have four legs. Salamanders have a strong sense of smell, and have a long, sticky tongue for catching food. They eat mainly worms and insects.

Like all amphibians, salamanders are cold-blooded--that is, their body temperature remains close to that of their environment. During cold periods, they burrow into soil or lie on the bottom of a pond, where they are sluggish and generally inactive.

Female salamanders lay many eggs at a time, either in water or in moist ground. Eggs laid in water usually hatch within a few weeks, but those laid on land may require several months to complete their development.

After they have hatched, young salamanders are called larvae. Salamander larvae look somewhat like frog tadpoles but have feathery gills at the sides of their heads. Salamander larvae change into adults through a gradual process called metamorphosis. The period of metamorphosis ranges from 42 days to five years, depending on the species. During this period, certain features of the larvae may disappear. For example, most salamanders lose the gills they have as larvae just before they change into adults. As adults, these salamanders breathe with lungs and through their skin.

Source: World Book