A beautiful creature like a salamander is in a tricky position on the natural food chain where they have a long list of predators in the wild habitat.
In nature, salamanders have to go through the larvae stage, the juvenile stage, and finally the adult stage. The combination of their body size, defensive approach, and adaptation helps them to be a 24/7 potential predator. But they’re equally potential prey for others.
In every step of life, salamanders have different levels of predators. At larvae-stage salamanders are eaten by aquatic bugs, newts, crayfish, and some species of fish.
When they reach juvenile and adult stages, unfortunately, the predator list gets longer which includes wading birds, versatile snakes, raccoons, mammals, larger fish, turtles, otters, skunks, etc.
Now, we’re going to look at what a salamander eats in more detail in the following paragraphs. So, let’s begin..
Salamander’s greatest foes: A list of predators that
The predator list for juvenile and adult salamanders will vary from one place to another due to different levels of biodiversity levels. Here in the following, you will explore varieties of salamander species and their predators in nature…
|Salamander species name||Predator that eats salamander||Range|
|Marbled salamander||Owls, weasels, skunks, snakes, and raccoons eat on the adult stage.|
Newts, insects, etc try to eat the eggs.
|Eastern part of USA, Texas, Illinois, Northern Florida.|
|Spotted salamander||Eggs are eaten by Newts & crayfish.|
In the larvae stage other salamander species, snakes, fish, and aquatic bugs eat them.
Turtles, snakes, skunks, and raccoons eat adult marble salamanders.
|Atlantic coast, Texas, Eastern forest of USA, Mountain area of South Carolina.|
|Blue-spotted salamander||Birds, raccoons, large-size aquatic species, fishes, and dogs.||Indiana, Northern New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, and New york.|
|Red hills salamander||Snakes, opossums, owls, raccoons, and feral pigs.||Alabama.|
|Texas salamander||No predator||Texas.|
|Red salamander||Woodland bird, skunk, raccoons.||Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, New York, Michigan, and Alabama.|
|Mole salamander||Bluegills mostly eat mole salamander eggs.|
Wading birds, water snakes, garter snakes, and black racers eat the adult ones.
|In Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Canada, and Mexico,|
|Northern dusky salamanders||Garter snakes, red salamanders, striped skunks, water snakes, shrews, spring salamanders, raccoons, and birds.||North Carolina, Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, and Southern Indiana.|
|Olympic torrent salamander||Garter snakes, giant salamanders.||California, Washington, Northwestern Oregon.|
|Mole salamander||Black racers, wading birds, northern water snakes, ribbon snakes.||Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Carolina, Virginia, Northern Florida, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee.|
|Cave salamander ( Spotted tail salamander )||Squirrels, skunks, snakes, raccoons, turtles.||Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Missouri.|
|Eastern tiger salamander||Badgers, owls, snakes, bobcats.|
Aquatic insects and other salamanders hunt larvae.
|Spread over the Atlantic Coast. Long Island, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, Northern Florida, and Delaware.|
|Fire salamander||Grass snakes, hawks, larger reptiles, eagles.||Southern Europe, Eastern Asia.|
|Long-tailed salamander||Larvae are mostly eaten by sculpins and sunfish.||Appalachian Highland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.|
|Pygmy salamander||Spring salamander, carabid beetles.||Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina.|
|Four-toed salamander||During the larvae stage fishes, other salamanders and aquatic beetles eat them.|
Shrew and snakes mainly hunt down them when they are adults.
|New England, Minnesota, Michigan, the Gulf of Mexico, Appalachian mountain range.|
|Small-mouthed salamander||Blue jays, water snakes, garter snakes, dragonfly larvae.||Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Kentucky, Gulf of Mexico, and Tennesse|
|California Tiger salamander||Fish, Bullfrogs, Great Blue Herons.||Central California, Eastern foothills.|
|Common mudpuppy||Large turtles, herons, otters, crayfish, water snakes, hellbenders, and large fish.||Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont, New York, Midwestern part of the USA.|
|Japanese giant salamander||No natural predator||Japan|
|Black bellied salamander||Aquatic insects, other salamanders, and fishes usually eat the eggs.|
Water snakes, Spring salamanders, Norther short-tailed shrews, crayfish, and garter snake kills the adult.
|Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.|
|Northern slimy salamander||Snakes.||Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Connecticut.|
|Red-backed salamander||Large frogs, snakes, raccoons, Virginia opossums, American crows, striped skunks, blue jays, and American robins.||Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, New England, Virginia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.|
|Fire-bellied newt||Birds.||Japan & China.|
|Hellbender||Young hellbenders are targeted by other salamanders, water snakes, turtles, and raccoons.|
Adult hellbenders are eaten by minks, river otters, and raccoons.
|New York, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri.|
|Eastern newts||Larger salamanders, garter snakes, raccoons, snapping turtles, birds, fish, and painted turtles.||Florida, Eastern Texas, Ontario, Great lakes, Canada.|
|Northern Spring salamander||Watersnakes, Gartersnnakes.||Appalachian mountain, Alabama, Ohio, Ontario, Georgia, New England, Virginia, Southeastern Canada|
|Alpine newt||Fish, adult newts eat them in the larvae stage. |
Birds, rats, hedgehogs,grass snakes, and ducks eat the adult alpine newt.
|France, Romania, Southern Denmark, the north Mediterranean, the Balkans, Greece, and the Alps.|
|Ensatina salamander||Garter snakes, Western scrub jays, and raccoons.||Washington, California, Oregon.|
|Two-toed Amphiuma||Wading birds, rainbow snakes, mud snakes, cottonmouths, and water snakes.||Louisiana, Florida, Virginia, Atlantic coast.|
|Green salamander||Ringneck snake, black rat snake.||Indiana, Carolina, Southern Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi, Appalachian zone.|
|Jefferson salamander||Garter snake||California, Southeastern Alaska, Pacific coast.|
|Seepage salamander||Spring salamander, ringneck snake.||Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.|
|Imitator salamander||Birds, spring salamanders, mammals, and snakes.||North Carolina, Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountain.|
Hopefully, this table showed you data easily that took hours to make and you can enjoy the information at one glance.
What is the defense mechanism of salamanders from their predator?
To save themselves from their potential predator, salamanders have some defense mechanisms which help them to a certain level. If these critters were not blessed with fine-tuning defense features, it would have been very tough for them to live in nature.
First of all, salamanders can secret sticky, poisonous, and bad taste substances from the skin which makes them bitter taste food for their predator. So the predator often moves out leaving them alive.
Fire salamanders are a great model of this which squirt toxins directly on their enemies for protection.
A huge species of newts falls in the salamander category and they are also experts to ward off their predators using some chemicals. Newts secret milk-like substances from their skin which are poisonous to their predator.
But secreting toxins doesn’t make them lethal. If you’re thinking that salamanders are poisonous to the point of death, then you have nothing to worry about as long as you’re a normal human.
You will be shocked to see the endless color variation of different salamander species. And all these color blendings on their skin help them to survive in the forest.
Some species of salamander show their stomach color by arching their back which gives the potential predator a signal to not mess with them. A good example of this is a Rough-skinned newt. This process is known as Unkenreflex and it’s an ultra-effective tool for them.
Plethora of colors makes the entire salamander species an unique species on the phase of earth. These little fellas have hundreds of color variations which include red, orange, yellow, black, gray, blue, black, brown, yellow, green, etc.
Due to this color combination salamanders can easily become invisible and hard to see on the forest floor or tree branches. This natural camouflage system helps them a lot to live a long life.
Dropping their tail
If unfortunately, a salamander gets under the bite hold of any predator some of them can drop their tail which allows them to escape. Then the predator gets busy with the tail part while the salamander runs away.
Here the good thing is they can regrow their tail after a specific time period. Some salamanders that drop tails are greenhorn mountain slender salamanders, sharp ribbed newts, rough-bellied newts, rough-skinned newts, etc.
Is there anything that eats salamanders from the inside?
Though salamanders have some awesome natural protection abilities they are not free from the attacks of a few parasites.
The most common one is a leech which is also called a flatworm. This parasite keeps feeding the salamander’s blood which leads to anemia and further health problems.
Moreover, some parasites like roundworms, flukes, tapeworms, etc can get into the intestine, mouth, and nose and keep making them weak by eating from their inner body parts.
In which countries do people eat salamanders? Do humans eat salamanders?
It’s been hundreds of years of tradition in China to eat Chinese giant salamanders as a luxury food. Due to the over-collection of this species, their number in wild has gone close to extinction level.
Some studies found that even in japan though it’s illegal to catch Japanese giant salamanders some people still hunt them as a luxury food.
Apart from these two countries, no other country’s people consume salamanders as table food.
What animal kills salamanders?
Salamanders are killed by a large variety of animals. There are many different salamander predators, however, the most common and feared ones are usually snakes and large amphibians such as frogs or newts.
Certain species of salamanders have been known to be eaten by beavers, raccoons and other small mammals. Some salamanders have even been eaten by humans, but this is extremely rare.
Will fish eat salamanders?
Yes, fish like Sunfish just love eating salamanders in their natural habitat. Moreover, tiger salamander larvae are often eaten by bass, muskie, and walleye.
Do squirrels eat salamanders?
Not all salamander species are hunted down by squirrels. Spotted salamanders are a favorite meal of squirrels.
Do raccoons eat salamanders?
Yes, salamanders are one of the top-notch and most accessible food for raccoons.
Is a salamander a predator or prey?
Almost all salamanders are both predator and prey. While few species like Japanese giant salamanders, Chinese giant salamanders in their adulthood do not have a natural predator.
What birds eat salamanders?
Varieties of birds like egrets, wading birds, great blue herons, blue jays, gray jays, eagles, and shore birds etc prey on salamanders in the wilderness.
Do bears eat salamanders?
No! Bears have no interest in eating species like salamanders, frogs and snakes etc.
Protect your salamander!
Wow, who knew salamanders had so many threats? But now you do, which is the most important part. It is up to you now, to set up a habitat that will keep your pet salamander healthy and safe. Although they have their own defense mechanisms, you have some responsibility too.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what animals eat Salamanders. Wishing you a lovely day with your Salamander.