Yesterday I was leading a hike in the mountains surrounding the UNESCO world heritage site called “Devil’s Town” in southern Serbia. On the way up this particularly steep hill, we found two dead Fire Salamanders, both looking like victims of a car. They were about 100 meters apart. I stopped and took a photo of this one.
They are quite common in Europe, although most of the races have yellow spots instead of orange like this specimen. The orange dots have glands that secret a toxin. It is a protection mechanism. In Serbian they are called Šareni daždevnjak.
There are two cool facts I learned abou them while identifying it on the internet. The first is that they live an extremely long time for an amphibian. One lived in a German natural history museum for over 50 years. The second is it is reported that the Slovenian use them to make Salamander Brandy, which is supposed to give the drinker a psychedelic experience.
It was sad to see two of them as road kill. It did however, give me a chance to see one and learn a bit more about them.