This giant amphibian is generally active at night, when it relies on smell and touch to locate its prey. It lives in muddy, dark rock crevices along riverbanks and feeds on fish, smaller salamanders, worms, insects, crayfish and snails, catching them with a rapid sideways snap of the mouth. It has an extremely slow metabolism and can go for weeks without eating if necessary. During the day it retires beneath rocks. Both the Chinese and Japanese giant salamanders are long lived, with one specimen in captivity living for 52 years.