Species Spotlight

Chinese Giant Salamander

Names: Chinese Giant Salamander / Wáyáyú AKA baby fish (a Chinese nickname after the crying sound they're most famous for – which is eerily similar to a human child!)

Size: There's something huge lurking in the depths. Is it a crocodile? A shark? Nope, a Chinese giant salamander is under the surface, dreaming of snacks. This hefty hunk can weigh a whopping 60kg and reach up to 1.8m in length (the largest amphibian around!). They're basically as tall as Zendaya.

Favourite hangout: The coldest, fastest-flowing streams and lakes across China, surrounded by the finest forest, where they can slurp and snack on tasty treats all day long.

Favourite snack: This salamander is a carnivore connoisseur, gobbling up anything with fins or shells. From little fish to crunchy crustaceans and even the odd (smaller) Chinese giant salamander, they'll chow down on anything meaty. Got to keep that chonk in check!

Chinese Giant Salamander

Love language: Forget flowers and chocolates – the way to a Chinese giant salamander's heart is through tummy rubs. These underwater romantics love chasing each other, belly-bumping, and even sneaking in a smooch or two.

Glow-up: Aging isn't easy at the best of times, but Chinese giant salamanders handle their somewhat unusual transition like pros. As they mature, they lose their gills and embrace a more refined way of breathing – through their skin.

Red flags: Being eaten as a local cuisine is probably their biggest bum out. Sadly, they're farmed for their meat, which makes wild ones an even more prestigious hunting prize. As if that wasn't enough, pollution is jeopardising their watery homes – it's tough out there for these gentle giants.

Chinese Giant Salamander resting on its legs

Personality type: The zen loner. And they love it. With a lifespan of up to 200 years, there's more than enough time to perfect the art of solo living. Which, for them, means grabbing a few snacks and chilling on the riverbed under a nice rock.

Fun fact 1: Did you know Chinese Giant Salamanders are the OG chillers? Legend believes they're the inspiration behind the Yin and Yang symbol. On a spicier note: they unleash a slimy, toxic mucus with a peppery aroma when threatened. Salamanders with sass!

Fun fact 2: They’ve been around longer than India’s purple frog, having emerged 150 to 170 million years ago, they have hardly changed since the time of the dinosaurs!


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