Zoo Animals


Japanese giant salamander

Andrias japonicus

At the Detroit Zoo
Our Japanese giant salamanders – two males (Bob and Dieter) and two females (Hetsu and Helga) – arrived in 1999 from Japan’s Asa Zoo where they were captive bred from wild-caught parents. The Japanese giant salamanders can be seen at the award-winning National Amphibian Conservation Center – a leader in amphibian conservation and research – which houses a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians.


The second largest salamander in the world, it can reach more than 4 feet in length and weigh as much as 88 pounds. Its skin is a mixture of gray, black and white, and is heavily wrinkled. This species has an elongated body, a long broad tail and two pairs of legs that are similar in size. The eyes are small and positioned on top of the broad, flat head.


Fun Facts

  • Its small eyes make the salamander rely on its other senses to hunt.

  • It can go weeks without eating, if necessary.