An RSPCA officer had a surprise over the weekend when he attended a call to collect what he thought was a newt – but turned out to be a poisonous fire salamander.

The animal was found by a member of the public in a tupperware box in Woodbank Park, Stockport, on Sunday afternoon. (8 April)

When the call came in, animal welfare officer (AWO) Steve Wickham was sure it would turn out to be a harmless newt – but it turned out not to be the case!

“We don’t get many calls at all about salamanders so I was very surprised to look in the box and see a bright orange and black fire salamander – I know that these creatures are poisonous to humans so I knew I had to be careful,” said Steve.

Fire salamanders are native to central and southern Europe through to Africa and western Asia and secrete toxins from their skin.

The salamander is now at a specialist exotic boarding facility.

“As the salamander was in a box we can only assume that he had been abandoned,” said Steve. “Exotic pets often end up in our care after people realise they’re not easy to care for, or once the novelty wears off. Others are rescued after they have been abandoned, escaped or been released on purpose, which then could be an invasive alien species risk to our native wildlife.

“The main thing we want to stress to people who are thinking about bringing an exotic pet into their family is to research the needs of the animal thoroughly and make sure that you can provide everything that animal needs for the animal’s entire life.”

Anyone who has any information on who dumped the salamander should contact the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

More information on caring for exotic pets can be found on our website.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.