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Bolitoglossa information please.

This is a discussion on Bolitoglossa information please. within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; I was wondering if anyone has worked with salamanders in the genus Bolitoglossa. I do not have one, but I'd ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 26th August 2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bolitoglossa information please.

I was wondering if anyone has worked with salamanders in the genus Bolitoglossa. I do not have one, but I'd love to acquire one. I am looking for general care information, and I would also like to know if there are any places that sell Bolitoglossas.



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Old 26th August 2010   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa information please.

Please use the search facility - there have been many discussions on these salamanders over the years. The general consensus is that they are incredibly difficult to keep alive for any length of time, even by zoological institutions. They are best avoided as captives and certainly not for any but the most experienced people (if at all - in my opinion, not at all).




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Old 26th August 2010   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa information please.

I think that many of the problems stem from the health of the animals available as imports. These are probably routed through the usual reptile importation routes and subjected to 80+F temps along the way. In spite of the fact that the genus is from the tropics, they do not like it hot and many are from high elevations. Through a combination of microhabitat selection and behavior, I bet that most maintain a body temperature below 70F, if not much lower, most of the time. Plethodontids rarely thrive over 75F, especially in the long term. You will notice that the species diversity is extremely low as you approach the equator, particularly in the lowlands.

We acquired groups of B. rufescens and B. conanti at the zoo in April 2009 collected by colleagues in Guatemala. Both species arrived with chytrid infections, which manifested themselves in the form of odd behavior, skin sloughing, and caudal autotomy after a little over a month in captivity. The usual treatment course with itraconazole was extremely effective, and even animals which lost their tails recovered and regenerated them. I have no doubt that many (most?) Bolitoglossa in the pet trade are going to be carrying B.d. infections. Going on 16 months in captivity we have only lost one of each species, out of a total of 22 animals. Their care seems fairly straightforward, and though I have seen courtship we haven't had any eggs laid yet. They are maintained between 55 and 65F most of the time.

These are not species which anyone but the most experienced plethodontid keeper should attempt. I am aware of only a handful of cases of any member of the genus living much over a year in captivity. This may change in the coming years, but until then, I'm pretty sure that any Bolitoglossa in the pet trade are a waste of your time, money, effort, and salamanders' lives.

Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you would like any further information.
-Tim



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Old 3rd July 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Post Re: Bolitoglossa information please.

I don't recommend them to even the most experienced plethodontid keeper. They usually come in with injuries, fungal infections and so on. You would be lucky if you could get one to live a year after arrival. This species simply shouldn't be kept in captivity. They need a specific habitat and it would be extremely difficult to acclimate to captivity.

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