Prague Zoo displays probably the largest Giant Salamander in the world

News

20. 12. 2015


Karlo, who lives in the Giant Salamanders' Pavilion which opened last year in Prague Zoo, is probably the largest Chinese Giant Salamander in the world and therefore also the largest amphibian in the Planet. With his length of 158 cm he beats by up to twenty centimetres the Giant Salamander recently discovered near Chongqing (China), about whom the international media reported as a huge sensation.

Karlo, the male, whose age is estimated to be less than 40 years, already measures an unbelievable 158 cm. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Karlo, the male, whose age is estimated to be less than 40 years, already measures an unbelievable 158 cm. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

Karlo was lent to the Giant Salamanders´ Pavilion by Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Karlsruhe originally for one year. However, it is now clear that he will stay in Prague Zoo for good. "It is recognition of the work of our keepers and at the same time the best Christmas gift," Miroslav Bobek, the Zoo director, said.

When Karlo arrived to Prague Zoo 19 months ago, he measured 155 cm and was 26 kg in weight. Friday´s check up revealed that he is now 158 cm long and he has 35 kg.

"We researched if there is a larger Salamander known anywhere in the world, but we did not discover any in any databases, technical literature or during consultations with our colleagues. The reported average size of Chinese Giant Salamanders is 114 cm and weight is 25 to 30 kg. Historically the largest specimen mentioned in the Guinness World Records lived in the Chinese Province of Chu-nan. He had 180 cm and 65 kg," Petr Velenský, the curator, stated. Karlo is today less than 40 years old; he can live in Prague Zoo approximately for the same length of time, and if he continues growing at the same speed, he might break the mentioned world record.

Also the other adult Giant Salamanders from Prague, Natali and Šmíca, did not stop growing at the age of 20. Šmíca is currently 110 cm long and is 14 kg in weight and Natali has also grown, being 137 cm long and weighing more than 25 kg.

The keepers decided last week to move the largest salamanders within the exhibit. Following the direction of the tour in the pavilion, the visitors will see Šmíca first, Karlo remains in the same place, then 4 four-year-old young follow and Natali is the last (to be seen from below).

Probably the largest Chinese Giant Salamander in the world and therefore the largest known amphibian Karlo lives in Prague Zoo. Photo Štěpán Kotrba, Prague ZooProbably the largest Chinese Giant Salamander in the world and therefore the largest known amphibian Karlo lives in Prague Zoo. Photo Štěpán Kotrba, Prague Zoo