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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Chinese Giant Salamander

Friends, it is with considerable sadness that I write this, the last ‘Animal of the Week’ of 2010. Since our wild ride began in June, we’ve learned about creatures both cute and clever, random and rare, newsworthy and novel. It’s been a pleasure sharing the natural world’s anomalies with you, and, with your support, the column will return in 2011—come hell, high water or VSM. But this week’s ‘Animal’ may not be around in 2011. That’s an exaggeration: the Chinese giant salamander is currently considered critically endangered, meaning its numbers will have decreased by 80 per cent within three generations—the point is, it’s on its way out, which is a great shame. These things are awesome: the largest species of salamander in the world, they can grow up to 180 centimetres in length. Unfortunately, they very rarely do so, as they’re considered a delicacy in their home country of China, where their habitat is being destroyed and polluted. Wikipedia describes giant salamanders as having “a large head, small eyes, and dark and wrinkly skin”—like Gandhi, a friend remarked, and the description stuck. The Gandhi of the salamander tribe. Now tell me that’s not worth fighting to save.

ANIMAL FACT!
Salient‘s spirit animal is the red panda. Because we are adorable and consume a lot of bamboo.

ANIMAL FACT!
Hamsters, due to their name, are not kosher.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

Comments (2)

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  1. stranger says:

    hey..according to this site http://www.strangeanimals.info/2010/10/chinese-giant-salamander.html the chinese giant salamander lives for 80 years..do you know if it true ? i really need this info for my school project

  2. You are a very bright person!

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