AN AMAZING FACT: Salamanders are timid yet fascinating little animals that look like lizards but are actually amphibians related to frogs and toads. There are about 550 species of salamanders and newts found mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, all the way from sea level to altitudes above 13,000 feet. The name salamander comes from two Greek words meaning “fire-lizards.” Ancient people linked salamanders to fire because they often saw them crawl out of logs that had been thrown onto fires, leading people to believe that these animals could walk through fire.
Most salamanders are about 4 to 6 inches long, but range from about 1.5 inches to the giant Chinese salamander growing up to 6 feet long and weighing 140 pounds! Some of these gentle creatures have long lifespans. Hellbender salamanders are capable of surviving for 25 years in their natural settings. Some fire salamanders have survived as long as 50 years in captivity.
Salamanders are earless and deaf to airborne sound, but hear by sensing vibrations from the ground. They have relatively good vision and a keen sense of smell but have little or no voice production. Most adult salamanders have saclike lungs for breathing air, but they can also use their permeable skin as a source of supplemental oxygen. They eat mainly worms and insects that are caught with a long, sticky tongue. Among the many unique characteristics of salamanders is their ability to shed their tails if a predator threatens them. Once released, the tail twitches about on the ground and confuses the attacker while the salamander slips away and later regenerates a new tail.
Jesus once spoke about symbolically losing part of your body for a good reason. When warning people about things that will cause others (or yourself ) to stumble, He graphically illustrates His point by saying, “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8). In other words, we should go to great lengths to escape being caught in the sin of hurting others.
Interestingly, salamanders have an amazing ability to regenerate lost body parts. In just a few weeks they can grow a perfectly new limb. Whatever losses we might sustain on this earth, God will restore in the earth made new!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. Matthew 18:8