Caecilians are resident to most warm-moist temperate climates of tropical regions in parts of Africa, Asia and America. They are wormlike amphibians that lack legs and are known to live underground.

Gymnopis multiplicata

Photo by Andy Kraemer

Caecilians can be mistaken for earthworms if not for one important detail which is unlike earthworms, they possess backbones and which makes them vertebrates, this goes without saying; earthworms are invertebrates. They are known to be dedicated soft soil burrowers and could only be seen when rains or floods displace them from their burrows.

Their lifestyle (underground) makes them quite difficult to study, and there are still a lot about them that we don’t know. It should be noted that most caecilians but not all live in the soil, there is a family group that is known to be resident to rivers.

Caecilians as Pets

Very few of the caecilian species are commonly kept as pets. They are peaceful and quiet pets, which makes them very interesting to observe. As a result of their nature, they require a little bit more care than most other amphibians; an owner should be an experienced amphibian keeper.

They have a size of within 12-37 CM (5 – 15 Inch) and life expectancy of about 20 years. When they are roughly handled, they might bite your fingers, but don’t look so glum, they barely bite. They feed on shrimps, insects, fish, and frozen bloodworms.

Caecilians need a split in their tank, with half being water and other half, a substrate that they can easily dig through. They tend to group together and can often be seen sharing the same hide outs. They would most likely spend time hiding behind filters, decors and under the wood. It is very vital you keep its enclosure clean at all times because any form of bacterial exposure can kill it.

  1. Cameroon Blue Caecilians: Adults grow about two feet in length. The aquarium where it lives should have a lid or cover. They are known to shed their skins as they mature; shed skins should always be removed from their tank. They prefer bait-size fishes such as rosy reds, earthworms. They can even learn to eat flakes and pellets.
  2. West African/Gaboon Caecilian: Adults species can grow about 40cm long. They have a superficial annulae due to the pull of muscle-connective tissue elements on the skin, which is grey. This species are viviparous and does not depend on water for breeding.

Gymnopis multiplicataPhoto by Andy Kraemer

In their nature habitat, they consume their prey by tearing its flesh off bits by bits by first grabbing their prey with their mouth, while rocking its body in a wriggly fashion until a piece of the prey tears off, they then swallow the torn off pieces in bits. In captivity they will eat white worms, special pellets, and earthworms.

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