Fire Salamander

The fire salamander, one of the most recognizable salamander species in Europe. This vintage 1856 engraving is lovely. But, just imagine if all of those white spots were a bright yellow. How pretty would this little lizard be in real life?

Is it any wonder that Jean-Charles Chenu (1808-1879) included these beautiful creatures in his natural history encyclopedia? They live throughout Chenu’s native France and the rest of Europe.

Pretty, but not for touching. The fire salamander emits an alkaloid toxin that causes muscle convulsions and hyperventilation in all vertebrates – that means us humans too. They primarily eat insects, spiders, earthworms and slugs. However, they’ll also eat newts and young frogs.

In this vintage fire salamander drawing, we have a single animal sitting on the edge of a waterway. He’s peering over the edge, perhaps looking for his next meal or simply getting a drink. You could leave this black and white illustration along or you could add some strategic coloring. His spots, some of the grass, wouldn’t that make it really pop from the page.

Plan on using this fire salamander in your own work? Make sure you grab the biggest version of the file by downloading the linked file or clicking on the one shown below.

vintage fire salamander drawing

This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.