Salamanders are arguably the cutest amphibian around, but they also have quite a lot of meanings associated with them if you dig down into the lore. As it happens, we’ve done exactly that for you, and today we’re going to tell you all about salamander tattoos, their symbolism, meanings, and more.
We’ll give you a little hint about what to expect without getting too ‘spoilery’ – these little guys and gals have quite the fiery reputation. Read on and we’ll tell you why!
What is the History of Salamander Tattoos?
Salamanders have been around for a long time, indeed. Longer than we have, really, as the first fossil finds we have of these creature date back as far as the mid Jurassic period – 174 to 164 million years ago! At some point, these cute little creatures were dodging hungry dinosaurs, and that’s some serious history as far as we’re concerned.
In 1758, a man named Carl Linnaeus got the credit for ‘discovering’ these critters, providing various diagrams and drawings to go with an extensive list of technical for the scientific world at large to consume, though we’ve certainly known about them longer. The name ‘Salamander’, incidentally, come from Greek and means ‘Fire Lizard’.
Fire is probably the last thing that you would associate them with, but the ancients tied them to this element and even said that there were salamanders who natively lived in and could control this force of nature.
The myth likely comes from sleepy salamanders holing up in logs, waking up in campfires, and quickly scurrying out – but who’s to say? The only thing we can say with some real authority on the issue is that we’ve known about them a long time, so they’ve definitely been in the skin art world for literally AGES!
What Do Salamander Tattoos Symbolize?
Salamanders have a lot of symbolism to them.
Salamander tattoos may represent a love of fire, for instance, if one is well-read on the ancient customs and myths, though these cute little amphibians can also represent having a foothold in two worlds.
For the salamander, that would be the land and the water (and yes, there are saltwater Salamanders as well as freshwater ones). They can also, just by their adorable good looks, be representative of Nature and the peculiar way that she expresses herself in the animal world.
Granted, they’re not as odd as the Australian platypus, but these little creatures are certainly a bit on the odd side. You might not know it, but these animals can regenerate lost limbs, which is definitely a trait that you don’t see every day.
This adds to their well of symbolism so that the humble salamander can be seen as a symbol of rebirth and even immortality. So, whether it’s fire, eternal life, a two-world existence, or simply an exercise in reminding the world that Nature makes cute and powerful animals, the result is the same – there’s a lot of meaning behind these amphibians.
What Do Salamander Tattoos Mean?
Salamanders are popular tattoos for Nature lovers. Some will choose to wear one simply for it’s cuteness, while others will display salamander tattoos as a nod to their special abilities and curious design in the diverse world of Nature.
As they are associated with fire, a ‘firebug’ personality with a sense of humor might choose to wear one of these adorable amphibians as a subtle way to tell the world that the tattoo’s owner loves fire quite a bit.
By contrast, a scientific type might wear one as a way to say that science is going to catch up with this animal’s secrets someday… that it’s just a matter of time! There’s not even always a deep meaning involved when you see a salamander tattoo. Sometimes they are chosen simply because they are adorable.
With so many meanings and a history that goes back to a life of avoiding becoming Jurassic snacks, it’s safe to say that this ancient (and cute to boot!) symbol has got a lot of potential to say a lot of things, so be sure to take your time with the design. It’s not often you get symbols so deceptively-deep!
Where Do Salamander Tattoos Usually Go?
Salamander tattoos can go just about anywhere. It’s largely due to the fact that our familiarity with these creatures means that tattoos on any size are going to be unmistakably recognizable as salamanders. As such, bolder folks might put a little salamander on each finger if they liked!
More commonly, you’ll see them on the lower or upper and outer arm, but salamander tattoos on the hip or ankle are not uncommon, either.
Sometimes you’ll see them on a backpiece, though when this is the case they are usually part of the background, adding a healthy dose of symbolism or simply aesthetically enhancing the scene. It’s really up to you, of course, but these amazing creatures are naturally photogenic, which translates beautifully into skin art – any place that you’d like to put one.
Characteristics and Styles of Salamander Tattoos
You almost never see a salamander tattoo where it is laying straight-out, as these little creatures look their best depicted as being quite curved and sinuous, as if crawling around on your body. The style options pretty much fall into ‘all of them’, which is kind of rare with a skin art subject.
You could depict a salamander in a serious and stark Japanese style and it would be just as at-home as a New School cartoony-salamander. A photorealistic tattoo of these amphibians is also an excellent choice, and gives you a chance to combine stark realism with some truly amazing color work.
Don’t rush your decision – you might find the perfect style waiting in a portfolio page of your artist that you simply overlooked and it would be a shame to learn this too late. Just a little food for thought and a humble bit of advice!
Some closing comments on Salamander Tattoos
In this article we’ve talked about the salamander and while these critters seem humble on the surface, they are anything but. We’re talking about an animal here that has literally dodged dinosaurs and captivated our imaginations since the dawn of time.
If the symbolism isn’t important, they’ve still got an edge, being the cutest amphibians around. Say what you will – it’s really hard not to like the salamander – so these tattoos won’t be going away anytime soon!