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Salamanders and newts

Great crested newt, Europe and parts of Asia, up to 17 cm (6.7 inches) long Salamanders and newts are long-bodied amphibians with long tails. They are often nocturnal, and are all carnivorous. They feed on insects, worms, slugs and snails, and some also prey on frog tadpoles. Some salamanders live in water all the time, and several kinds even keep their gills into adulthood. Others live on land but return to the water to lay their eggs. Many species are brightly coloured to warn that they are toxic. Newts are salamanders with long, flattened tails. 


A close-up shot of the head of an olm
Axolotl, Lake Xochimilco in Mexico, up to 30 cm (12 inches) long.

Adults with gills

The axolotl is a large aquatic salamander that lives only in Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. Measuring up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) long, it retains many features into adulthood that it had as a larva, such as its feathery gills. In every other way it lives as an adult, and can still reproduce.

Animals that live in total darkness, such as cave salamanders, have tiny eyes or none at all.

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