Fire Salamanders: Beasts, Legends, And Cute Critters

*Photo is from Kathy2408 @ Pixabay

Did you know it was written thousands of Alexander the Great’s soldiers and horses died after drinking the waters of a river in which a Fire Salamander had a swim?

Did you know it was said of these creatures that they may infect the fruit of trees with poison, and all who eat of the fruit will perish?

They were also said to be immune to the effects of fire (possibly because they were seen running from fires due to they were inside the logs that were tossed in the fires). How many were tossed into fires to test this claim?

Sounds like they received a bad rap through the eons.

This is just one place such stories can be found:

The true facts of these amazing creatures do not sound as fantastical, but, are quite amazing in their own rights! Check ’em out …

  • With long life-spans, one specimen lived more than 50 years in a German museum!
  • The Fire Salamander is indeed poisonous! The reactions to Samandarin, an alkaloid toxin, are intense muscle convulsions, hyperventilating, and eventually death (depending on the creature/exposure ratio)!
  • The Fire Salamander can squirt, up to 12in. In distance, the poison (a neurotoxin) from glands behind it’s eyes into the faces (eyes or mouths) of potential predators, after which, the central nervous system, specifically the spinal chord is affected.
  • They are one of Europe’s largest salamanders (although Fire Salamanders can be found in other parts of the world), reaching a length of 15-25 cm. They live in forests & are most often active at night time.
  • The mating experience is odd – the male creates a spermatophore. He then leads his lizard lady to it. She then somehow, knows to hover above it to (…um…) upload it into her cloaca.
  • This beautiful salamander’s skin also contains glands that secretes the Samandarin toxin which may be deadly to the unlucky one that touches or attempts to devour it.
  • Fire Salamanders may be had as pets, but they should not be handled often or for long periods. The secretions will highly irritate skin. It is recommended to wash one’s hands prior to holding one to protect it. All salamanders’ skins are absorbent – the oils & salts of our own skin can harm them. It is wise to wash after holding one to protect our own skin, or simply wear latex/medical gloves. I recommend not having a pet that cannot benefit from companionship, leave those to live freely in their natural homes.
  • Supposedly, there is a Slovenian drink, called Salamander Brandy, made from the secretions of beautiful Fire Salamders. The act of which, however, makes me want to slap people (knock them out, really) for their greed & cruelty just for the sake of entertainment.

*The info above is found at the links below:

Murph needs & loves his humans. We need & love him. Murph secretes much love & cuddles.

“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn Renée


  1. This is a great text. I do not know if it is all truth. Probably a little bit.
    I grew up in the house of my great grandmother. In the backyard there was a spring coming out of a quarry. We had plenty of Salamander when I was a child in the 70th. I found them disgusting. Now, so many years later, there are still Salamanders and I just love them! The spring is gone, but the quarry is still there. There is a new house standing there. Sometimes the Salamanders are crawling or falling down the stairs to the basement. They can’t go back by themselves and would die. My cousin is picking them up regularly, putting them back into the green next to the quarry.
    We don’t know if they are poisonous. They are little dragons and they should be protected.
    Long live the dragons!


  2. Thanks, Moni. Same here, I just collected my reading material & injected them into one post. I am so pleased to know your cousin cares for those helpless salamanders. I am saddened to know your great grandmother’s home is replaced with another. I hope other happy memories are forming there. That is so neat that you grew up near a spring & quarry. Did the spring dry up, or did people alter it’s flow? It is amazing how our views may change, & I am loving those sweeties with ya. Right on…
    Long live the dragons!!!


  3. The house of my great grandmother was small and old. No bathroom, toilet outside 😉 this is how I grew up. It’s unbelievable. The new house belongs to the family as well. So, no problem. Next to the house was a little creek, connected with the spring. By rebuilding the street the creek was put under the street and the spring was gone.
    There is still water inside where the spring was. My uncle is pouring tapwater/rainwater in it. There are also ferns. I suppose therefore are still Salamander there.
    This probably makes the impression of a big place but it is a very tiny spot. But big enough for dragons! Wow. I should write about it in my blog. one day.


  4. How interesting! I determined the property remained accessible to your family, but I was not sure in what capacity. An in-home toilet is a luxury. My dad has spoken of being ill with the agony of trecking through high snowfall in freezing temperatures to frequent the ‘out house’ when all he wanted to do was lay in bed under the covers.
    I suppose a rebuilt road made travel improvements to the ol’ home but darn it about the spring.
    If you type it, I will read it. Ive been recording by video or pen, stories from my father. I could write a book about his life & the beloved oddities within my family. Hey, is your book available in English?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can understand your dad with your wish of staying in bed under the covers. I remember we didn’t go outside at night. Too cold, too scary.
    Great idea of recording the stories of your father. I wish I could do this with mine. He has a lot to tell but he’s always busy and in a hurry. No time to sit down and relax and talk to me for a while. He is restless.
    My book is only available in german. sorry. 😦
    I think about writing down the family story in english, so my family in Australia can read it. But this is a BIG project and I don’t know if I really want to do this.


  6. Poor dad & others that lived with an ‘out house’ toilet. I am sure folks had an ‘in house’ bucket of sorts back in the day. I have been forced to use such contraptions, which is another story, a story I hope is always in the past (oh my)!
    So, you have non-German speaking family in Australia? Murph has ancestors in Australia! : ) i’ve been torn between learning German, because of my ancestry, or Icelandic, due to it’s rareness. There is more German language spoken in multiple countries & it is easier to learn than Icelandic, so this is the wisest choice. I anticipate the day I may read your book in German. Know what ya do? Record your dad anyway in passive conversations … then download the audio &/or record it verbatim with pen & paper. And see to it he is cool with the recording of his tales. That is what I do, & Dad doesn’t mind. He has much cool stuff he wants to live on. Our fathers are a unique generation, the views, wit & humor the world may never see again. Love that stubborn generation!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yeah, I do have non-German speaking family down there. Where lived Murph’s ancestors?
    I found out if you don’t speak the language you learn you forget a lot and the best thing is practising. My english was very bad when we moved to Australia for a couple of years. But I was forced to learn! This helps a lot. So good luck, whatever language you are going to learn. But you can already read german!? a little bit..
    Good idea with recording just the normal conversations! I will think about it.
    Have a great day Dawn. 🙂


  8. “The Fire Salamander can squirt, up to 12in. In distance, the poison (a neurotoxin) from glands behind it’s eyes into the faces (eyes or mouths) of potential predators, after which, the central nervous system, specifically the spinal chord is affected.”
    Wow! What a cool critter it that!! When I was a kid, this insect professor from San Diego State University, used to take me to desert sand dunes to catch wild Horny Toad Lizards by hand. He explained to me that they will spit blood out of their eyes if they don’t trust the person who holds them. He showed me how to stroke their horns, to make them fall asleep in my hand. I have loved them forever. Not they are very close to extinct. He did the same with me and tarantulas, who I used to see a lot as a kid, and have only seen a few since I moved to The Holler. One played dead with me, and I believed him. Came back, he was gone.
    Dr. Hufffman gave me a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach as birthday present. I named him Barney Fife. He was a great pet and never hissed because he was never hungry or scared.
    I think Murph and you ROCK!!


  9. They are crazy neat! And likewise are the Horny Toad lizards! You can make one relax to sleep at any time that way?!! Oh, how precious is that? They have such cute faces! Are you saying you can put Tarantulas to sleep?
    “I believed him” …. that is hilarious! it has been my experience that all spiders are smarter than expected. I have a glass and postcard I use to capture them for releasing outdoors, and Cindy, I can’t tell you how many times I have been out-witted, out-manuevered, and out-strategized by the boogers!
    It’s neat you had someone expose you to such creatures, and that’s a heck of a gift. Barney Fife : ) I’m so glad you shared this.
    We think you’re awesome – you and all the support you’ve given through these years. Thank you.


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