סלמנדרה כתומה בבניאס
A fire salamander in the Banias
Photo: Ofer Shinar, Nature and Parks Authority
A fire salamander in the Banias

Rare fire salamanders make surprise appearance in Israel's north

National Parks and Nature Reserves worker films the species, which is nearly extinct in Israel, crawling out of its shelter in Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve, looking to breed during Israel's wet season

Noa Fisher |
Published: 11.10.20 , 09:38
The rainy weather in Israel has brought not only brought cooler temperature to ease the unbearable heat but also allowed for some rare species of animals, including fire salamanders, to reappear in the nature.
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  • The species, which appear to be on the brink of extinction in Israel, have been spotted in Israel's north in recent days as they look to breed in puddles and shallow bodies of water filled to the brim due to intense rainfall seen last week.
    Fire salamander caught on camera in Israel
    (Video: National Parks and Nature Reserves)
    One such specimen was documented in Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights.
    The single fire salamander was caught on camera by National Parks and Nature Reserves employee Ofer Shinar as the animal was running around between the many wet shrubs and rocks dotting the area of Mount Hermon during rainfall.
    סלמנדרה כתומה בבניאססלמנדרה כתומה בבניאס
    A fire salamander in the Banias
    (Photo: Ofer Shinar, Nature and Parks Authority)
    The black and yellow spotted fire salamander is a poisonous amphibian that lives only in clear or running bodies of water. This means the waters where the salamander is found in, is clean and safe.
    The species are active in the winter, especially in the evening hours and at night as it prefers temperatures ranging between 4 and 16 degrees Celsius.
    סלמנדרה כתומה בבניאססלמנדרה כתומה בבניאס
    Fire salamanders are nearly extinct in Israel due to the destruction of their natural habitat
    (Photo: Shai Mesika, Nature and Parks Authority )
    The fire salamander is the best-known salamander species in Europe. In Israel we can find a specific subspecies of the amphibian called the Near Eastern fire salamander, which is most common in the Upper and Western Galilee, in the Carmel area, on the slopes of Mount Hermon and in Tel Dan.
    Despite being a rather common species, in Israel the fire salamander is nearly extinct, with no more than a few hundreds to thousands individual salamanders remaining. Their extinction was brought on mainly by humans encroaching on their natural habitat, and people collecting their eggs as souvenirs

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