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The olm (also known as the proteus or cave salamander) is a blind amphibian found only in southern European lakes and rivers’ underwater caves. The human fish is another name for the olm, which alludes to its skin color.

The olm is the only species in its genus, and it lives in subterranean waters that run across a vast limestone area, from the Isonzo river basin near Trieste, Italy, through southern Slovenia, south-western Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The olm is most known for spending its whole existence in the darkness of underwater caverns, which has caused this species to adapt to life without light in an unusual way. The olm’s greatest distinguishing trait is that it is blind because of its underdeveloped eyes, forcing it to rely on excellent hearing and smell to interpret its environment.

Like the axolotl, They do not go through the same dramatic transition from juvenile to adult that frogs and toads do. The olm is a completely aquatic creature that hunts, mates, eats, and sleeps in the darkness of underwater caverns.

Olm Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Caudata
  • Family: Proteidae
  • Genus: Proteus
  • Scientific Name: Proteus Anguinus
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Locations: Europe

Olm Facts

  • Main Prey: Insects, Worms, Snails
  • Distinctive Feature: Elongated body and undeveloped limbs
  • Habitat: Underground watery caves
  • Predators: Fish, Toads, Birds
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Lifestyle: Solitary
  • Favorite Food: Insects
  • Type: Amphibian
  • Average Clutch Size: 10
  • Slogan: Inhabits dark underwater caves

Physical Characteristics

  • Colour: WhitePinkPeach
  • Skin Type: Permeable
  • Top Speed: 5 mph
  • Lifespan: 10 – 50 years
  • Weight: 2g – 150g (0.07oz – 5.3oz)
  • Length:5cm – 30cm (0.9in – 12in)


The olm, like other aquatic creatures, is a carnivore, meaning it obtains all of its nourishment from devouring other animals. Worms, aquatic insects, larvae, and snails are among the small invertebrates that they feeds on.

Because they spend their whole existence in the protection of a dark, underwater cave, it faces fewer predators than it would if it lived on land or in the sea. Fish and other amphibians, as well as the rare mouse or bird, are the main predators of the olm.

Female olms lay between 5 and 30 eggs in between rocks in the water after mating, where she can protect them from ravenous predators. When olm tadpoles hatch, they are less than an inch long and take on the appearance of an adult olm after a few months. Their populations are falling now as a result of growing levels of water pollution, and the olm is currently considered vulnerable to extinction in its natural habitat.


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