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nic 20th April 2007 22:26

I've got a question. With conservation and preservation of the species in mind, which caudate is the easiest, most fun, most visible, most rewarding, most hardy, and best for the environment to keep? In other words, which is the "greenest" pet, optimum in all levels. All opinions welcome.

jennifer 20th April 2007 22:50

That's a lot of things to try to optimize at once!

Probably the "greenest" way to obtain a pet caudate is to get a captive-bred one, but that imposes some limitations (few species available; CB are always juveniles, some of which are difficult or not very hardy). Among the species that are obtainable CB, I have two I would propose: the crested Triturus, which are hardy, visible, and easy (even as juveniles). And Salamandra, the fire sals, as they are hardy and colorful. Both of these species tend to become "tame", which I suppose would make them more "fun" to most people.

nic 20th April 2007 22:59

thanks Jennifer Are the crested Triturus and Salamandra able to breed easily in captivity? Or does that require a seasoned breeder?

jennifer 21st April 2007 04:35

Crested newts are difficult NOT to breed, as long as you have both sexes and good basic newt care (including winter/summer temperature variation). I've never worked with Salamandra, but they are reputed to be fairly easy to breed.

This was posted as a poll... any other ideas out there?

kyle 21st April 2007 05:40

My vote would go towards CB Pleurodeles waltl. They seem fairly indestructible, and as long as you have a male and a female you'll probably end up with eggs any time you do a water change ;). If you just have two males... well... you get plenty of "wrestling" for lack of a better descriptor.

They are very active/visible, and seem to survive well enough even if you can't keep a room extra cool all summer long, being fairly heat resistant. They also stay relatively aquatic, which makes feeding a whole lot easier, especially for someone new to newts.

william 21st April 2007 07:30

from what i've heard i'd second P. waltl. I can vouch for Triturus marmoratus as being pretty indestructable.

Some people find Axolotls rewarding. And i would have thought Taricha would fit many of your requirements.

A bad side to Salamandra is that if you do want to breed them, then they take a bit of patience. They also prefer the cooler temperatures and are pretty inactive as they are nocturnal. However if you have the patience then they would become tamer.

joseph 22nd April 2007 01:23

Agreed with Jenn on the crested triturus. Even though they don't seem to be doing well in many places in the wild they are great captives and as we've all seen breed quite well. Never kept pleurodeles waltl but if you want something bigger like a tiger but want something CB that is a good option.

david 22nd April 2007 02:31

Cynops pyrrhogaster, the Japanese Fire Belly Newt, is said to be one of the hardiest of all amphibians. I've had mine for 15 years, since I was 10 years old, and only recently I've realized that I've been doing all the wrong things in my newt care. She's still as aggressive and active as ever. Just be sure you don't confuse a C.pyrrhogaster for a C.orientalis (which is easy to do on a cursory glance).

I would also recommend any of the Taricha newts, particularly T. granulosa and T. torosa. Active and hardy fellows.

nic 23rd April 2007 22:39

Okay, so far of all the "green" caudates that have been suggested (I'm assuming all are captive bred suggestions), we have:
CB crested Triturus
CB Salamandra
CB Pleurodeles waltl
CB Triturus marmoratus
CB Axolotls
CB Taricha
CB Cynops pyrrhogaster

Thanks for all your comments
I wanted to put together a list so if anyone were interested in this type of information while considering a Caudate as a pet, than they could have this information to avoid the pitfalls of at least one of the main considerations which is the environmental impact of our actions (you know, it's a big topic these days).
If anyone wants to add more to the list of conscious free captives or can elaborate on how one can be certain that the species they aquire is a real captive bred species, then please do! Also, if anyone wants to confess that owning a pet like these can be even more rewarding (for whatever reasons) than owning a more endangered rare species than here's your chance to chime in!
thanks in advance everyone.

joseph 24th April 2007 02:30

CB taricha are very hard to come by unfortunately. I'd say the most green animals would be CB anything.

Of course, you can also take into account how difficult the species is for you to care for(in regards to nutrition and temperature). In this regard, the most green animal would be one that can survive just fine in your climate w/o you having to use additional electricity to keep them cool. This usually means people from certain climates(like me) ought to stick to animals that can take warmer temperatures in the summer. I think C. e. popei is one.

I will go as far as to say that newts are probably one of the most enviromentally friendly pets you could keep in regards to their needs(the only others I can think of that could trump them there would be inverts like tarantulas etc.). Compare them to many reptiles that need heating, special lights, special vitamin and mineral supplements and whatnot to thrive in captivity.

(Message edited by fishkeeper on April 24, 2007)

jennifer 24th April 2007 02:37

Well, I would say that Taricha are very fun, active, and hardy. But I've seen very few CB available in the US (and most of the ones that have been available were from females cycled in the wild, i.e., not entirely CB). They seem to be very rarely bred in captivity, either due to it being difficult, or lack of interest on the part of breeders. They are still abundant enough in the wild that one or two could be responsibly and legally collected, so I'd say they are semi-green. I would not include T. rivularis on your list, as it is not very abundant, either in the wild or in captivity.

jeff 24th April 2007 05:42

On a side note, I stumbled apon a very nice taricha while cleaning someones yard out about a month ago, just sitting on a mossy rock, and boy that was so tempting, I had flashes of a new tank before I could even pick it up.... but I had to put her back, It just felt a little one sided. Everything I keep is now 100 percent captive bred, with the exception of 2 projects that are native species but they are outside.

I would say p.waltl or t.marms would be the way to go, perhaps cynops if you know the person that is breeding them.

nic 24th April 2007 06:26

Okay then guys (and gals). I have updated the list of all the "green" caudates that have been suggested. This list is for anyone who is interested in this type of information while considering a Caudate as a pet, in order to avoid pitfalls such as environmental impact, high maintenance, lack of visibility, non-hardiness, etc. The pets on this list are more environmentally friendly, "relatively (like Einstein)" low maintenance, very visible, and hardy.

CB crested Triturus
CB Salamandra
CB Pleurodeles waltl
CB Triturus marmoratus
CB Axolotls
CB Cynops pyrrhogaster

If you'd like to add to the wisdom here, please add more to the list of and possibly elaborate on how one can be certain that the species they aquire is a real captive bred species (I've known pet shops that lie). Also, I was wondering if pros and cons of owning a C.B pet vs owning a more endangered rare species could be elaborated...Like my two cents is learning after I bought my ambystomas on line that some of these factors aren't optimal, like environmental impact, visibility, and climate control (even though rigging up my own thermoelectric cooling system on the tank was kind of fun). Although I love them dearly and will do what it takes for their optimum survival, I have come to realize that I would have loved them to live a free life in the wild instead of keeping them pinned in a box for their entire lives, but due to environmental factors even releasing them might introduce pathogens not native to the local caudates (supposing they would even by some miracle survive themselves).
thanks again everyone.

kaysie 24th April 2007 12:14

Jenn, I can definitely say that the captive breeding of Taricha is not due to lack of interest of the breeder (Or my males!!) Females are just so darn hard to get in the mood!

After the weather warming this week, the males are all over my lone aquatic female, but to no avail, she's not interested. I think this year, in addition to light and temperature cycling (their tank is semi-exposed to the outdoors), I'll have to move them from aquatic to terrestrial and back as well.

TJ 24th April 2007 15:03

I haven't carefully read through this entire thread but I'd like to suggest that there's nothing "green" or "environmentally friendly" about Cynops pyrrhogaster in that it's not a species in which there are many CB ones available to begin with, nor is it particularly easy to raise morphs to adulthold, which takes years and a lot of attention. So certainly it's not in the same category as say axoltls and P. waltl. But sure, it's an especially hardy, active and attractive (to me at least) species.

Anyway, interesting thread I've always recommended axolotls and P. waltl to newcomers to the hobby as far as aquatic newts go, and fire and tiger salamanders for those who prefer terrestrial animals. Still, tigers are not that visible, or shouldn't be kept that way at least, and also the number of people who have ever bred them can probably be counted on one hand. At the same time it can be said that they're plentiful enough in nature to be used as fish bait in some parts of their range...

Marbled newts are wonderful too -- easy to breed, easy to raise, and oh so beautiful.

(Message edited by TJ on April 24, 2007)

nic 24th April 2007 17:03

Okay Tim, I have taken Cynops pyrrhogaster off the list. Jennifer, does crested Triturus include all the crested newts?

CB crested Triturus
CB Salamandra
CB Pleurodeles waltl
CB Triturus marmoratus
CB Axolotls

william 24th April 2007 19:04

in a nutshell triturus are the crested newts, marmoratus, pygmaeus, dobrogicus, cristatus, karelinii & carnifex. All of which make hardy pets.

If i could only keep one caudate species it would be marmoratus, they are just the best! And as Tim says, they have the looks too, unlike Pleurodeles.

coen 24th April 2007 19:49

I would say T. marmoratus is a "level 2" specie to keep, I personally had some troubles with them. But, I recently discovered that it could have been WC individuals which would explain a lot of the troubles I had with this specie. My vote goes out for the T. dobrogicus and of course the Axolotl.

annmarie 24th April 2007 21:46

This thread just put a big smile on my face. I am sure some of you know how I feel about the average person catching wild animals and keeping for pet.

I think this is great, and I always wondered the same. I think maybe, after this list is finilaized and agreed upon, it should become a part of a FAQ's page. I know many people who would rather have these "green" salamanders rather than wild caught guys. I like how this is coming down, for it not only focuses on animals easily and readily available as CB, but also in care and reproduction. I think this thread, if continued to be develope is something we can write up that would be really useful for first time and prospective Caudata guardians. Its always good to encourage these readily available CB that do not have too much of a specialized care for first timers! My vote goes with axolotl. Unless you live in certain areas in Mexico, I doubt you are getting a wild caught axolotl. Very hardy little fellows.

I really think this issue is imporant and should also be addressed on one of the webpages, if it is not already. I do not recall coming across something similar, but I can be wrong.

mark 25th April 2007 11:57

Are axolotls really that “green”? Considering they’re pretty much extinct in the wild and in captivity have been hybridized with A.tigrinum to make them look pretty, I don’t consider them to be particularly eco-friendly. Sure, the captive population is fairly sustainable and they make great pets but from a species perspective the axolotl is a disaster. Saying that, buying an axolotl is not going to impact any further on it's current predicament.

My number 1 choice would be P.waltl. It’s well protected in the wild, it’s been bred in captivity for donkeys years and despite what Will thinks I think they are great looking newts

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