Lizards vs. Salamanders

Lizards and Salamanders: Distinctions of Two Almost Visually Identical Creatures

The reality of life on earth has long been a mystery. It is one of the most studied wonders even in our generation. As humans attempt to be dominant among all life forms, the search for different existence on the planet has significantly appeared to be one of man’s inherited tasks. Nature has its way of distinguishing certain specie from the other. The uniqueness being marked by each creature seems to have an undoubted vagueness, making one be easily distinguished from the other. But as we discover new varieties of existence, some of them look to have so many similarities making it difficult to identify their differences from each other. Salamanders and Lizards are only some of those creatures having characteristics which are almost the same. How are we going to make a distinction among the two?

Both are creatures which appear to look the same because of their tetrapod body form (slender body, long tail, and four limbs) but differ in so many ways. First we can distinguish the two through their classification. Salamanders are considered as amphibians while lizards are reptiles. Having known this basic distinction, it would be now easy to distinguish one from the other.

Salamander is a term used to refer to an approximately 500 species of amphibians. Being considered amphibians, they prefer to live in a cool, moist environment and can usually be seen near water, or under some protection areas such as trees, some may spend their entire lifespan under water. They are characterized to have a smooth, moist and not scaly skin texture; though its length may range from 10-20 centimeters, some may be as small as 2.7 centimeters (minute salamanders) and some may reach to 1.8 meters (Chinese giant salamander). The most distinctive characteristic of a salamander is its ability to regenerate broken limbs or tails.

On the other hand, lizards are group of reptiles having about 3800 species. Unlike salamanders, they possess a dry, scaly skin texture, have longer toes, and are commonly seen on dry places because of their high adaption to warm climate. Like the snakes, they also have a movable quadrate bone. One’s length may range from 9 feet to 17 meters. Some of them are uniquely capable of detaching their tails for predators.

Though both creatures are commercially available to become pets, some (especially lizards) has the ability to inflict venom towards other creatures, and some (like the salamander) are currently being studied for its possible contribution to the field of medicine. It is important, especially to us humans, to know how each creation in this world differs from each other. Since we are held the most rational beings, it is our responsibility to protect and preserve these nature’s gifts for the benefits of the generation to come.

In brief:

  • Both appear to be the same because of their tetrapod body form
  • Salamanders are amphibians having a moist, smooth and not scaly skin texture with the ability to regenerate broken limbs.
  • Lizards are reptiles having a dry, scaly skin texture, usually found on dry places and have the ability to detach their tails for the predators.