There are hundreds of rumours surrounding salamanders, yet, they still make good pets. But there is a question about these reptiles that fly around: are salamanders poisonous?
Salamanders are a group of lizard-like amphibians that primarily live near water. While they’re more similar to lizards, they’re more related to frogs than lizards.
Newts are one of the main subfamilies of salamanders that people keep as pets. They are brightly coloured to save them from predators in the wild: predators ignore brightly colored animals because they associate them with toxicity.
Since salamanders mimic the traits of toxic animals, are they poisonous, or they’re just surviving by mimicry?
In this guide, you’ll learn if salamanders are poisonous and if they pose any serious threat to you when you keep them as pets.
Are Salamanders Poisonous?
Before we see if salamanders are poisonous, it’s crucial to note the differences between a poisonous animal and a venomous animal.
A poisonous animal harms you when it’s eaten or touched. They only secrete toxins; they don’t try to poison you.
On the other hand, venomous animals attack their predators to inject them with venom. Most venomous animals inject the venom through a bite, and they can potentially poison you without even handling them.
That said, most salamanders are poisonous. They do secrete some harmful toxins to their skin, so you can get poisoned if you ingest or handle them.
The toxins that salamanders secrete are not all on the same level of lethality. While some secrete very mild toxins that can barely make you sick, others can make you very ill or even kill.
Also, the poison from a salamander only affects you when you touch your face after coming in contact with a salamander.
If you’ve recently touched a salamander, you should wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to do anything else.
Are salamanders venomous?
As we’ve seen above, poisonous animals only secrete the poisons; you get affected when you touch or ingest them. On the other hand, venomous ones don’t wait for you to touch them; they attack you first.
There are some known species of salamanders that are more venomous than poisonous. These reptiles have sharp ribs throughout their bodies. Once they sense a threatening touch, they can stick out one of their rib bones to sting the attacker.
When the bones sting, they accompany it with some venom to be delivered into the pierced skin of the attacker.
Venomous salamanders are more dangerous than poisonous ones, but they’re also easy to spot. When you see a salamander with visible ribs below its skin, you’re looking at one.
Can a Salamander Kill You?
Humans understand that poison kills, but can a poisonous salamander kill you?
While salamanders are poisonous, with some featuring extreme degrees of toxicity, it’s unlikely that a poisonous salamander will ever kill you.
Salamanders are shy animals, and they won’t engage humans on sight. They prefer hiding away from predators rather than engaging them in combat, which is rather clever.
However, curious humans seek out salamanders and even keep them as pets, which is fine, as long as you’ll not be handling the lizard.
Venomous salamanders constitute another story entirely. Salamanders with visible ribs that sting predators are much more dangerous than poisonous ones.
If you’re keeping a salamander as a pet, you might want to pass on venomous ones. While they’re possible to keep without causing harm, the extra effort isn’t worth it.
Can you keep salamanders as pets?
The fact that an animal is poisonous or venomous doesn’t mean you shouldn’t interact with them.
Salamanders make interesting pets as long as you’re not looking for a cuddly pet. If you’ve ever kept snakes at pets, you won’t need any tutorials on caring for your pet salamander.
When keeping a salamander as a pet, you want to go with the captive-bred ones. Wild salamanders are often more poisonous, as they have fed on natural substances that enhance their poison.
Also, you’ll always keep your pet salamander inside a cage to observe it. Salamanders are not cats or dogs that you can groom, so you have to note that.
You might also want to go for a salamander that’s comfortable being in captive. The species that most people recommend is the Tiger Salamander.
Not only is the Tiger Salamander almost docile, but it is also ready to accept training when necessary. They also live longer than most salamanders, clocking 20 years on average.
What else do you need from a pet?
While Tiger Salamanders are better candidates than most other known salamander species, they’re still very poisonous. You still have to take all the necessary precautions that you would with a regular salamander.
Do Salamanders Bite?
It would be a nightmare to have a pet that stings, bites, and secretes toxins, or would it?
Interestingly, salamanders do bite. However, their bite remains their weakest weapon. However, salamanders do try their teeth on humans when they feel threatened.
So, when you get bitten by a salamander, you shouldn’t overthink it, as it should go away naturally after some time.
However, I’ll like to stress the fact that it’s almost impossible for a salamander to bite you. Onsight, they flee from humans. How could it attack you, let alone bite you?
The lizards only bite after provocation. If you’re feeding a salamander with food directly from your hand, you are at the risk of getting caught.
Salamanders are fascinating lizards, but they can also be very dangerous.
If you’ve seen a salamander around and you’re wondering if you can touch it, you cannot. Salamanders are poisonous, and they can make you very sick if handled without protection.
In addition to being poisonous, some salamanders can also be venomous. Venomous ones attack predators by stinging them using their rib bones.
Wherever you see salamanders, think about animals that you should neither touch nor ingest.