Are Salamanders Poisonous (And Dangerous For People)?

Are Salamanders Poisonous (And Dangerous For People)?

Salamanders are not very common pets to have, but if you want a salamander as a pet you probably want to know which salamanders are poisonous. I was interested, so I got on Google, did some research and this is what I found out.

Are salamanders poisonous? Yes, salamanders are poisonous. They secrete toxins over their skin and when these toxins get ingested it can be poisonous. The toxicity varies per species and generally, the juveniles are more toxic than adults. Therefore it is good advice to keep handling salamanders to a minimum.

How To Know If a Salamander Is Poisonous

Normally salamanders are creatures that do no harm. But it is good to know that all salamanders species are poisonous. This means that salamanders are toxic when you eat them, when you ingest their secretion or when you “play” with them (such as taking him into your hands) and after that rub your eyes or something like that.

Now the poison that a salamander carries with him is made in the parotoid or granular glands. and some people say that salamanders get poisonous through eating and drinking or otherwise obtaining strong bacteria such as Vibrio spp.

Now, there are some things that are also good to know and that is the fact that normally juveniles are far more toxic than adult salamanders and this toxicity varies from species to species. It can even vary between different groups of the same species!

Fun fact: The Rough-Skinned Newt is the most toxic of all!

Are Salamanders Dangerous To People?

No, salamanders are not dangerous to people. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one, but normally they are very shy creatures that would rather flee from you than come up to you. They are completely harmless if you don’t touch them or otherwise ingest their toxins. That is also why it might be better to only look at salamanders. I think this is not only the best thing for us to do, but it is also best for them.

You know, salamanders have very absorbent skin and the bacteria, oils, and salts from our hands can harm them. You might have not thought about this, but things like sunblock, hand lotion, and other things can cause serious damage to the animal.

That’s why, again, it might be better to only look at salamanders. But, if you need to handle them, make sure that you have washed your hands beforehand or you can always go out and buy some vinyl gloves. This way the salamander is safe from anything that is on your hands.

What Is The Most Poisonous Salamander?

We touched briefly on this already with a fun fact, but the most toxic salamander is the Rough-Skinned Newt. The rough-Skinned newt is found in North America from Santa Cruz County all the way to San Francisco Bay and Alaska. Not only that, but this salamander is also found on several islands including Vancouver Island.

Do you need more information about where you can find not only the Rough-Skinned Newt but also other salamanders? Read it in the article I wrote about where salamanders live, here.

Habitat Of The Rough-Skinned Newt

The rough-skinned newt is both found in both aquatic and on the land, but most of the time he spends his time on the land. When they do go to water, it is mostly breeding season and they go there to breed. An interesting fact is that the Rough-Skinned Newt becomes temporarily aquatic when there is a dry season going on. It is also possible for this newt to spend its whole life in the water.

What Does a Rough-Skinned Newt Look Like?

Rough-skinned newt. The moist poisonous salamander
Rough-Skinned Newt

This newt has a rough and grainy skin (that is where he got the name “rough-skinned from) that is dark-colored as well as orange-colored and is about 12.7 to 21.6 cm in length. The eyes are small and do not extend past the edges of his head as you can see in the picture below. What you can also see is that he has yellow irises and that the lower part of the eyelids is orange. What you can’t see on the picture are the vomerine teeth. These teeth are arranged in a V-shaped pattern.

Does a Salamander Make a Good Pet?

Now that you know that salamanders are poisonous, you might want to know if it makes a good pet… If you just want an animal to look at behind glass, I think it is a great pet. If you want a pet that you can really interact with, hold and play with I would say you better go for some other animal. If you have decided to go for a salamander as a pet, I can recommend the Tiger salamander (also known as Ambystoma tigrinum).

This is a common pet salamander because they are attractive and fairly easy to care for. This species grows to become 13 cm in length and have a lifespan of about 25 years if you take good care of them.

What about the habitat?
What kind of tank you should set up is largely depended on the stage your tiger salamander is in. If he’s still in the larval stage you need a fully aquatic tank. But when the salamander ages and grows gills, you would need to set up a semi-aquatic and land habitat so they can also go on the land.

When this salamander is fully grown you want to move it to a 20-gallon tank. Make sure that the temperature in the enclosure is around 65 to 70F and add plenty of hiding spaces, rocks, and enough bark and rocks.

The feeding of this salamander is fairly easy. when he is still in the larval stage you can feed him shrimp, insects, small fish, and worms. When he grows into an adult you can feed him crickets, earthworms, and other insects.

Again… Keep the touching to a minimum!

What Are Salamanders Good For?

Believe it or not, but salamanders are quite good for the environment and human beings in general. Why do you ask? It is because they play an essential role in keeping insect and arthropod populations in balance. Salamanders hunt very much on the above species and in this way they are helpful to humans because they act as a natural “pest control”.

Another way in which salamanders are good for us is in the fact that they can prevent serious health issues with their preying on insects. What I mean by that is the fact that salamanders also hunt on mosquitoes and ticks. The bites of both of these animals can be very dangerous and by eating those insects, they help minimize the spreading of diseases.

There is also a good thing that you probably haven’t thought of and that is the fact that salamanders help reduce the impact of global warming! There is a website called that says that global warming occurs when the gases of greenhouses are released in the atmosphere. Now, this is a serious thing…

But luckily salamanders help by feeding themselves on animals like beetles, snails, ants, and other vertebrates. These animals would otherwise release carbon through the consumption of fallen leaves forest debris.

So even though salamanders are poisonous, they also help us survive here on planet earth!

What To Do if You Find a Salamander

First of all, you need to know that you should not touch the salamander because they are poisonous. But if you find one in your home or basement, you should move them outside. Now again, you do not want to do this with your hands. Grab a small net and transfer the salamander outside.

Where Do I Put The Salamander?

If the salamander you found has a flattened and paddle-like tail, it likely is a newt and therefore you should put him nearby a pond or wetland. Put him on the edge and not already in the water. This way the newt can decide for himself if he wants to go into the pond or move to another place.

Now, if the salamander you found has a stubby and fat tail, you can release him in areas like a forest or some woodland areas. Preferably close to where you found the animal. The best place would be a place nearby leaf litter and/or forest debris.

Related Questions

Can salamanders regrow limbs? Salamanders are capable of regrowing limbs within a few weeks! This includes tails and toes. This is awesome because it helps them to survive attacks from predators and other harmful situations.

Where does the name salamander come from? The name comes from the Greek word for Fire Lizard. Salamanders are masters at hiding, and when they hid in logs that were thrown in a fire, they came running out. When the greek saw that, they named the creatures salamanders.

What is the largest salamander in the world? The largest salamander in the world id the Chinese Giant Salamander. This particular type of salamander can grow to a length of 5 feet!