Can A Salamander Swim?

Can A Salamander Swim

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

Seeing salamanders wandering on land, you might wonder– can a salamander swim? Salamanders surely blow mass mind with their traits and behavior. Thus, we’ve researched about them whether they can swim or not.

Salamander can swim. Salamander’s flattened tail, short legs, feet shape, skin, gills, etc support them to swim. But, not every species of salamander can swim for a long time.

You might have other questions related to salamander swimming in mind. So, you’ve come to the right place to quench your interest. Let’s jump into this article to get enlightened more.

What Adaptions Does Salamander Have That Help Them Swim?

You might know that salamander is an amphibian. Like other amphibians, their anatomy has adapted in such a way to survive on both land and underwater.

Besides, all larval salamander spends their life underwater. As they grow up, some salamanders start living on the soggy lands. But, still, some grown-up species of them can swim very well.

Because salamanders contain some unique physical traits. Salamander has multiple organs that support them to swim.

 Firstly, let’s know which adaptions does salamander has that support them to swim.

  • Laterally flattened and strong tail
  • Webbed shape of feet
  • Pale and moist skin
  • Gills
  • Sensory Cells

Laterally flattened and strong tail

Tail is immensely important for salamanders. You must know the good sides of a salamander’s tail like attracting mate, deterring predators, assisting in movement, etc. But, what you might not know is that their tail helps them to swim.

Salamander’s tail is not only long but also strong. The tail’s being laterally flattened is an extra advantage.

 Also, the larval and aquatic salamanders’ tail has ventral and dorsal fins. As a result, it assists salamanders to swim like fish.

Flapping the tail side by side is the basic trick of salamander swimming. So, you can say that it’s their kind of balancing method in water.

Shape Of Feet

Have you ever noticed the shape of a salamander’s foot? These have got adapted so beautifully to help salamanders swim.

As salamanders are very diverse, the number of their legs varies according to species. That’s why some species of salamanders have four legs. On the other hand, some species have two legs. But, they do not have any hind or rear legs.

Hence, we can say that salamanders have four/two feet. These foot shapes are perfectly accurate to help them swim.

Though they’ve four fine legs, those legs are too short. For this reason, the salamanders have to drag their body while they’re on the ground. But, these short legs assist them to swim.

Again, if you notice the shape of their feet, you’ll see that their feet are fully webbed. Webbed feet of any animal increase the surface area of the feet. As a result, the webbed feet of salamanders enhance their swimming efficiency.

 So, the short and webbed feet shape of salamanders support their body to swim.

Pale And Moist Skin

Salamander’s skin is also unique. They contain pale, smooth, and moist skin. Also, salamanders have glands under their skin to have a slippery coating. Such skin can adapt to the darkness of underwater very well.

You might know that salamander’s skin is permeable like other amphibians. Hence, their skin makes them comfortable and feasible in their habitats near or underwater.

In the same way, this is an extra advantage to help them swim. Even skin helps salamanders breathe underwater while swimming. Moreover, their eyes are pretty farsighted in the water.


Perhaps you know that salamanders don’t have only one respiratory organ. Along with their skin, they develop their gills and lungs to breathe. Between these, gills help salamander swim.

Larval salamanders can swim and stay in the water. Because they’ve gills to breathe. Also, aquatic salamanders possess gills for their entire life. As a result, they can smoothly swim like a fish because their breathing doesn’t get hampered.

Sensory Cells

Salamanders have amazing sensory cells that respond to the chemistry of the environment. Such sensory cells can detect movement and pressure in the water. Otherwise, you can say that salamander’s sensory cells play a good role in territory maintenance.

In this way, sensory cells help salamanders save themselves from predators underwater. Amazing support to swim indeed!

Which Salamanders Can Swim Faster

Can A Salamander Live In Water?

There are almost 655 fascinating living species of salamanders. All of them are diverse in nature, behavior, etc.

Not all salamanders can live in water. All larval salamanders and aquatic salamanders live in water.  Semi-aquatic salamanders and terrestrial salamanders return to water to lay eggs. But, all salamanders live near water.

We know that salamanders need to keep their skin wet and moist. Again, they need to lay their eggs in the water. Thus, even if they don’t live underwater, they live nearby water sources and damp places.

Which Salamanders Can Swim Faster?

There are many assumptions about the responsible factors of salamander’s swimming fastness. Moreover, people are used to thinking that the larger salamanders can swim faster. We’ve researched about their swim fastness and found out an amazing factor.

The short salamanders can swim faster. Salamander’s swim fastness is negatively correlated to body size. That means, the bigger the salamander, the slower it swims.

Probably, the larger salamanders can’t swim faster because of their heaviness. Besides, their tail length doesn’t put much impact on their swimming fastness.

Are Salamanders Good Swimmers?

According to the amount of time spent in water, we divide salamanders into three groups. They are – aquatic salamanders, semi-aquatic salamanders, terrestrial salamanders.

All larval salamanders and aquatic salamanders tend to be good swimmers.

Aquatic salamanders live their entire life in the water. So, all aquatic salamanders are good swimmers. On the other hand, terrestrial salamanders aren’t good swimmers. Because they don’t have gills to breathe underwater.

Can Salamanders And Fish Stay Together Underwater?

This is a very common curiosity of people whether salamanders and fish stay together or not.

Salamanders and fish hardly stay together underwater. Because fish tend to eat eggs and larvae of salamanders.

That’s why salamanders choose to live in such water where fish can’t survive.

How Long Can A Salamander Stay Underwater?

All salamanders stay in the water in the larvae stage. As they grow up, they develop different respiratory organs.

Salamanders can stay underwater as long as they can breathe the dissolved oxygen of the water. Besides, water temperature is a factor of salamander’s staying underwater.

Hence, salamander can’t stay underwater if the water quality is poor. Because bad water denotes that there’s a lack of oxygen there.

Can A Salamander Drown?

Aquatic and semi-aquatic salamanders have gills among three types of salamanders.

 Without gills, no animal can breathe underwater. As a result, they will not drown.

Terrestrial salamander can drown in the water. Because terrestrial salamanders don’t have any gills. They have lungs to breathe.

For this reason, they can’t stay long underwater as well as they can’t swim well. Thus, terrestrial salamanders tend to drown in the water.

Final Words

Despite having diversity in species, maximum salamanders tend to have their quality time in the water. Their tail, feet shape, respiratory organ, skin, etc. – all play a satisfactory role to help them swim. Finally, we can conclude that a salamander can swim.

About Muntaseer Rahman

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