Salamanders

Salamanders

They might seem so similar to lizards, but it should be noted that there are many differences between a salamander and a lizard; they don’t have scales, claws, or an external ear opening which lizards have. They eat meat and most of them lay their eggs in water and are nocturnal animals.

Ambystoma maculatum

Photo by squamatologist

There are four (4) types of salamanders which are; mudpuppies salamanders, lungless salamanders, mole salamanders and newt salamanders.

Most salamanders have four toes on their front limbs and five toes on their hind limbs. Salamanders vary in size; some can stretch as long as 5 feet and as little as just an inch. Salamanders have been observed to regenerate body parts like their limbs and some other body part like other vertebrates and thus are said to have regenerative abilities.

Salamanders have an absorbent skin, this makes them able to absorb particles from their surroundings which could include toxins that can kill them, and since salamanders inhabit moist environments, they are often exposed to toxic water bodies due to pollution, and this makes the general salamander population prone to extinction.

Salamanders as Pets

If you want to keep a salamander has pet, here are some few things you should know;

  • As stated earlier, they have a preference for damp environments, so you could put a saucer of water in their paddock;
  • They also eat meaty foods like wood lice and slugs and it is imperative you feed them at night;
  • You should also provide them with secrets spots they can hole up in as they love to hide;
  • Their enclosure must be kept at temperatures within 50 and 60F;
  • You should regularly clean their enclosure with just ordinary water, preferably distilled water;
  • And like I said earlier, they have an absorbent skin and as such you shouldn’t overly handle them – our palms are adsorbent and can pick up germs from our surroundings, so you might want to properly clean your hand before touching them.

Common salamanders kept as pets are:

  1. Fire salamander: They are dark with bright yellow patterns. The patterns warn off potential predators as it suggests they are toxic. These toxins are discharged when a predators tries to eat it.

If you have a fire salamander, ensure you keep them in an enclosure with a sealed top.

They can grow to as long as 30 cm and can be fed with wax worms and crickets which can be purchased; always feed them till they have their fill.

  1. Blue-spotted salamander: This specie is quite old and has being successfully adapting to the negative effects of human activities on its habitat, its sleek and slimy body aids it in proper movement which is also why they are easily found almost anywhere, even in the streets of a city.

Blue SalamanderPhoto by Carol Dolin

This salamander family starts mating as early as 2 years and can live up to 12 years in captivity. An adult blue-spotted salamander is about 14cm long and eats a variety of insects, slugs, snails and spiders.