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Waxworms causing problems?

This is a discussion on Waxworms causing problems? within the Waxworms, Mealworms, Maggots, etc forums, part of the Food: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried, Pellets, etc category; I've had a terrible (I believe) near-death experience with my A. opacum recently and would like to hear what other ...

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Old 6th September 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Question Waxworms causing problems?

I've had a terrible (I believe) near-death experience with my A. opacum recently and would like to hear what other people think.
The salamander lives in a woodland vivarium with forest soil and coco coir mixture, mosses, leaves etc. The tank has earthworms living in it, occasionally supplemented with waxworms.
About two weeks ago I found my salamander female bloated and limp, her hind legs strangely immobile. Another female I had died some time ago, and whatever caused her death made her bloated. Seeing another one with bloat was terrible.
I put this salamander in the fridge in a ventilated tub with moist paper towel. After two days, she pooped and it was a fairly intact large waxworm (see photo). She looked fairly normal after this, moved her hind legs ok and apart from being very slow (I assume from the cold), seemed ok. I took her out of the fridge after two more days. She ate an earthworm and produced another largely undigested waxworm which surprised me - the first one must have been inside her for quite a while.
Now she seems to be doing well - I don't see her eat because she's very shy but her shape is normal, she's not skinny and moves fast when disturbed.

I believe the undigested worm was the problem. Has anyone else had issues with waxworms?
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Last edited by evut; 6th September 2011 at 10:45.
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Old 8th September 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

Anyone with experience or opinions on this matter?



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Old 8th September 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I've never had this problem, but my T. verrucosus used to pass the worms undigested if they were not punctured before eating. I will stop feeding my opacum these if they might cause a problem, though. One of my three has not been seen for about 8 weeks, but I don't want to disturb the others looking for it. This one always digs under and has been fine every other time, so I assume it's OK now...

C



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Old 8th September 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

Mine seem fine with the wax worms, but then I haven't seen mine deposit anything undigested. I also didn't even think to pierce the worm, next time I get some I will.
I too have a missing opacum or two, I know they can't get out and I am rather loathe to go excavating for them, but its been over a month and I do like to check they are all looking well.



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Old 8th September 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I hope I'm not causing any panic.
It's very strange. This salamander had waxworms many times before, and really liked them (unlike my male who wouldn't eat them at all). The last couple of times I fed waxworms, I crushed their mouths and pierced them with a pin. Perhaps it wasn't the worms - and hopefully this was a one-off incident. The animal seems ok. When it gets dark I always see her poking her head out of her coconut house.



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Old 10th September 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I have had a very similar experience.
At the time i had a group of 4 wildcaught opacum that were 3years in my care, a toadlet i caught and 2years in my care, and a captive born tomato frog 2 years in my care. All had similar separate tanks .. mostly coco fiber, cypress mulch, leaf litter. Each had isopods, springtails, small flat and round millipedes i believe not to be poisonous, and earthworms roaming the tanks providing cleanup and prey. Isopods made up the majority of diet due to abundance but i would always provide crickets like once a month. i'd provide waxworm occasionally but i could never seem to get a good batch at the petstore and never kept well in my fridge often being DOA when i did try to feed.

Anyway within a 2 month period i lost all animals. The toad and salamanders developed lethargy followed by rear limb paralysis then death. The tomato frog developed blindness making feeding diffucult and causing it trauma hopping madly in tank.

Again this year i lost a captive born 2year in my care t. shanjing and another captiveborn and 2year in my care tomato frog. both went blind, the t. shanjing particularly bad with the eyes rotted away. both my blind tomatos had no rot just blank stare and obvious vision problems in tank.

The only thing i could think caused the deaths
1) bad waxworm batches.. possibly from cross contamination from petstore. i primarily buy my crickets from a small petstore that doesn't keep any herps but the waxworms i buy from petco/petsmart that does
2)other cross contamination from petstore. i think during these time i might have bought crickets from petco/petsmart due to convenience.
3)the waxworms themselves causing high fat/vitamin a levels in my pets causing liver issues. i don't think they ever ate enough for this too happen though
4)earthworm deaths causing toxic decomposition gasses. my tanks are pretty self sustaining, usually all i do is mist, stir up the substrate and add more isopods. large worms would occasionally die at the surface and even the isopods seem to avoid them.



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Old 10th September 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

Sorry to hear about your losses. It's a shame that it's rarely possible to establish the exact cause of illness and death.

The symptoms of lethargy and rear limb paralysis sound like what was happening to my salamander. I feel incredibly lucky that the animal survived. Catching it early (sorry salamanders for digging you out so often) and the fridge treatment probably helped (?).
As I said before, I believe the undigested waxworms were the problem. I will not feed them again. I hope earthworms and slugs will be enough for them. I might try to culture some isopods, too.



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Old 10th September 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

My Opacum don't seemt o eat the woodlice that are in the tank...the original adult woodlice I first added are still there along with lots of offspring. Then again, the salamanders barely move so it may be that they rarely meet the woodlice!

I will definitely stop feeding waxworms. Hopefully they will be OK as I had literally just fed out some before reading your first post......

C



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Old 10th September 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I feed lesser waxmoth larvae once a week or two without any problems, i have bred them for about 4 yrs so i know exactly what they have been fed and how they have been kept, i do worry about bad batches of food and breed as much of my own food as posssible, except crickets, which i buy a tub a week of ist instars, again i have tried different suppliers and i am happy with the quality i am getting at the moment, if there is any doubt when they arrive i dont use them.



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Old 10th September 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I lost 3 or 4 S.s. gallaica after feeding a "bad" batch of waxworms. I quit using waxworms after that and use mostly food I culture myself.



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Old 18th September 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I've never had trouble with lesser waxworms and continue to feed them to my smaller newts.

The salamander girl seems to be doing well now. I can see her head every night as she looks out of her hide which is very reassuring for me. I still can't believe she pulled through!

Thanks everyone for contributing to this thread.



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Old 18th September 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

I've only occasionally fed waxworms, but I do remember specifically one incident I had. I had a small group of male axolotls, and was having trouble finding earthworms in the winter, so I was feeding waxworms. Everything seemed fine for a week or so, until one day I woke up to a TON of undigested waxworms vomited all over the tank. The tank was not particularly cold, and I don't know else what could've contributed to what I assume was at least two of them vomiting up waxworms simultaneously.



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Old 2nd May 2012   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Waxworms causing problems?

Waxworms have a high fat content far higher than mealworms. Wax Worms are good to feed to malnourished axolotls and Reptiles but don't over do it one or two a week thats all. You try eating 2 large KFC Family meals and see how well you feel. I have also been told that waxworms are good for if your going away for a week as its high calory count can keep the animal going for that tiem span. Don't feel anymore than 1 or 2 waxworms and only use them once or twice a week or you'll get Kaysie's problem



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