Review and photos by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972
Being new to the blog I decided to go with something very European… [editor’s note: Lanthanotus may be new to the Animal Toy Blog, but he is a regular reviewer for the Dinosaur Toy Blog]
The Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra) is a livebearing, totally terrestrial species restricted to the Middle-European Alps and parts of the Dinarides. The totally black salamander grows up to 15 cm in length and inhabits alpine meadows, heaths, and screes from an elevation higher than 800 metres. While in some places quite abundant, it can be difficult to spot as they are mostly nocturnal and prefer lower temperatures and high humidity. Nevertheless, in summer they can be comparably often seen after a warm rain.
Alpine salamanders feed on the usual amphibian diet of worms, snails, insects and the like. They do not make use of water bodies for copulation or birth, the females give birth to one to two fully-developed young after a gestation of two or more years.
The figure introduced here is an exclusive to NaturimBild.at, a regional Austrian conservation society, dedicated to the conservation of the Mühlviertel. It is made from a solid plastic (maybe a thermoset plastic), dyed totally black and measures 11 cm in direct length, 13.5 cm along the body. That brings the figure to a 1:1 scale which is especially nice as the figure is basically flawless in terms of accuracy.
While the Alpine salamander may look like a black version of the more popular and wider distributed fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the former is more slender and more ribbed, also the paratoid glands (behind the eyes) are more prominent. All these differences are there. Four fingers on the front feet, five at the hind feet are correct, the nitpick downs would be the missing holes in the glands and the tiny folds on the skin. The belly and underside of the tailbase are just flat, NaturimBild.at is stamped there. As said above, the color is totally black, but rather dull than glossy as in the real animal. Nevertheless, all in all the figure is top notch and makes a nice toy as well as the most accurate model of the species if not the only.
NaturimBild.at also released a fire salamander figure, that comes in total black, but with a yellow paint stick (by Edding, a sponsor of NaturimBild.at) for individual painting. I unfortunately can not say, where you can get the figure(s), I got mine from an annual conference of The German Herpetological Society. Maybe directly contact NaturimBild.at.