Amphibians are a cold-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that comprises the frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians. We’ve added Axolotls to this group on our website because even though they spend their lives under water, they are actually amphibians!
Amphibians inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terrestrial, fossorial, arboreal or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. So they typically start out as larvae living in water, but some species have developed behavioural adaptations to bypass this. They are generally not found in the sea.
On land, they are restricted to moist habitats because of the need to keep their skin damp. Amphibians use their skin as a secondary respiratory surface and some small terrestrial salamanders and frogs lack lungs, relying entirely on their skin! They’re fascinating, adaptable creatures.
Amphibians require water bodies for reproduction. While amphibians are superficially similar to reptiles like lizards, the latter, along with mammals and birds, do not require water in which to breed. Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that do not maintain their body temperature through internal physiological processes. Their metabolic rate is low and, as a result, their food and energy requirements are limited.
If you’re interested in the subject of climate change, amphibians are often ecological indicators; in recent decades there has been a dramatic decline in amphibian populations for many species around the globe. It’s sad and worrying to see.
The smallest amphibian in the world is the microhylid frog from New Guinea discovered in 2012 with a length of just 7.7mm. The largest frog is the African Goliath frog, which can reach 32cm and weigh 3kg. They’re a wonderful species full of colour and variety, making for excellent visual opportunities.
Frogs in particular play a variety of roles in culture, appearing in folklore and fairy tales such as the Brothers Grimm story of The Frog Prince. They often act as a helper of the heroes and heroines, such as in the beginning of the story of the Sleeping Beauty. Frogs are also the subjects of fables attributed to Aesop, of proverbs in various cultures and of art. Most of us are probably familiar with the very famous muppet frog named Kermit. First appearing in the year 1955, Kermit rose to fame as the leader of the Muppets and became famous for his love affair with an equally famous muppet by the name of Miss Piggy. Kermit has appeared in many TV shows including The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies and Sesame Street. He also stars in The Muppet Movie and each subsequent movie incarnation featuring muppets.
The character of Mr. Toad is one of the main characters in the book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and he is also the title character in the A.A. Milne play, Toad of Toad Hall which is based upon the book. Although he is a famous literary character, Mr. Toad has also made his way into many hearts by being animated into a Disney film entitled The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The film depicts Mr. Toad as an egocentric chaser of fads who is accused of car theft and ultimately winds up being acquitted.
The largest living amphibian is the 1.8m long Chinese giant salamander; impressive in stature for sure. However, in the UK we only have three native newts that are native: smooth newt, great crested newt and the palmate newt. That being said, newts and salamanders are increasingly being kept as pets within the exotics community.
So, are salamanders and newts the same thing? Yes, but a salamander is not always a newt! The word “salamander” is the name for an entire group, or scientific order, of amphibians that have tails as adults. This includes amphibians commonly known as newts and sirens.
In popular culture, they are thought to have magical qualities as well as being very wise. Salamanders appear as magical beasts in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. They are bright-orange lizards that can live in fireplaces. In gaming and film, throughout the entire Final Fantasy media franchise, salamanders can be found as fire-breathing enemies.
Native only to Mexico, Axolotls are known as Mexican Walking Fish. As legend has it, the axolotl is the Aztec god of fire and lightning, Xolotl, which disguised himself as a salamander to avoid being sacrificed. But these Mexican amphibians are impressive enough on their own, with the ability to regenerate lost limbs and stay “young” throughout their lives
More recently, axolotls found fame in Western popular culture. They’re sought-after pets with a massive social media following: the hashtag #axolotl has 1.8 billion views on TikTok. Axolotls also star in an ever-growing list of websites and games, including the hugely popular game Axie Infinity, in which users collect, breed, and battle cartoon axolotls. Some players have earned more in the game than in their traditional jobs. Their popularity soared more recently when Minecraft added them to the game.
Axolotls are no less iconic in Mexico, where they’re depicted in murals throughout Mexico City. The salamander is even the city’s official emoji and appears on the country’s 50-peso note. It’s no wonder they are so popular; they’re ridiculously gorgeous, in that weird ugly-cute kind of alien way! If you’re looking for an unusual looking creature for your branding campaign, look no further!
Each of our amphibian models are interesting in their own right and come in a variety of sizes and colours. This makes for fascinating photography and filming opportunities, particularly if you’re going for a more natural, living world theme.
We supply professional animal location handlers around the world to ensure you get all the shots you require and, as overseers to ensure the wild is not disturbed, the crew will always be safe and no welfare regulations are ever breached.
It isn’t just the animals that are well trained, our team including our handlers are also highly experienced and fully qualified experts in the field.
Your handler will take full control of any animals on set and ensure the entire shoot runs properly. They will also fully manage the welfare of all the animals both on and off set; the safety and welfare of the animals is their prime concern. All of our handling is strictly force-free and only positive, reward based practices are deployed. This way you can have total confidence that by booking With The Animal Talent everything is taken care of legally, professionally and ethically.
The Performing Animals Licence is no longer relevant (it was scrapped in 2019) and has been replaced with the Animal Activity Licence, which we hold.
Our amphibians are covered by a £10 million Public Liability Insurance policy.
All amphibians require strict water parameters for filming. Some of the frogs have poisonous skin and are therefore too toxic to touch. Handling of these species can only be completed by our experienced handlers.
If any species of animal listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act are required, special measures will need to be put into place for the shoot. Precisely what is appropriate will vary species to species, but may include sectioned off areas where only trained handlers are allowed. In the event of large and dangerous carnivores, a specifically built green screen studio can also be supplied.