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If a traffic policeman ever ran into the caterpillar of the Mother-of-Pearl moth he would give it a speeding ticket! It can travel 38.1 cm per second, the larval equivalent of 241 km/h, the fastest among caterpillars. When threatened, the caterpillar curls itself up and rolls away, travelling at about 40 times its normal speed!
In the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, the Mount Lyell salamander uses the same method to travel. It curls itself up into a ball, tucks in its legs and head, and then it simply rolls down the hill, just like a tyre. Its rubbery body cushions it on stony ground.
Its normal gait is also strange. It uses the tip of its muscular tail as if it were a fifth limb, to steady it on steep slopes.

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Salamanders are amphibians and most of them are found in fresh water where they feed on snails, worms and insects. In India, one species, the rare Himalayan newt, is found in Darjeeling.



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