Mallard kills a salamander; any similar observations?.

Roger Smith rgsmith at
Sun Mar 10 15:41:36 PST 2002

Dear all,

I made the following observation recently at a local pond and I was
wondering if anyone had experienced similar Mallard behaviour:

A male Mallard had a brown salamander in its beak (its beak was at right
angles to the salamander's longitudinal body axis, gripping the body
between the fore and hind legs) and when I first saw it it was shaking the
salamander on the surface of the water (perhaps to try to work a better
grip) until the salamander stopped moving. It then pushed the salamander
down into a grassy area beneath the water (indeed it looked as if it was
prodding it down with its beak) and then dabbled at it. I saw some narrow
brown parts (strips) being taken into the Mallard's mouth (whether these
were limbs or not I could not tell) and this continued for about 30 seconds
or so before the Mallard moved away; I saw no actions on the part of the
Mallard that would suggest that it swallowed the whole salamander.

Would this be an example of a meat-eating Mallard?; or perhaps there was
vegetation on the body of the salamander that the Mallard was interested in?.

Yours faithfully,

Roger Smith
Port Coquitlam, BC. Canada.
mailto:rgsmith at

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