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Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

This is a discussion on Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :( within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to get my poor newts to eat again. I have ...

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Old 7th April 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to get my poor newts to eat again. I have four Northwestern Salamanders, all around a year or two old, and a six-year-old T. granulosa. For the past one or two weeks, most of them have been refusing food. On occasion, a few of them will accept food, but it's only ever the same newts. The rest won't even pay attention to food when it's in front of them.

In the past, I fed Cyrax, the T. granulosa, freeze-dried bloodworms, but once the little guys joined the herd, I discovered that only live food would suffice for them. For a while, I was feeding them all mealworms and that made them all pretty happy. On a few occasions, however, some of them had stopped eating, and I even lost one a while ago because I couldn't get him to eat.

Lately, however, I have been at a loss. I tried changing their tank to be mostly terrestrial since they all seem to prefer land, with lots of dirt. Mostly, this was so they could be fed easier because the gravel they had before made it easy for their food to escape. I also figured it would better mimic their natural environment. I put in some live moss cultures tonight in hopes that it would increase the air quality and moisture. I know it can be stressful to make such big changes, but the big shift was around a week ago and I'm starting to worry because their behavior hasn't changed.

Tonight, I tried feeding them wax worms just to see if I could get a response. Nothing.
I tried live crickets, but they didn't seem remotely interested in them either. All they want to do is hide in the dark. It worries me a lot because one in particular is starting to get very lethargic and skinny and I want to help him.

Thank you for reading my ridiculously long rant.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Any help is extremely appreciated.



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Old 7th April 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

I can only suggest trying them with something that's going to do them some good like chopped nightcrawlers. Freeze dried bloodworms and mealworms is a really terrible diet that's virtually worthless nutritionally.
The problem could be any number of things. How are their tanks set up? What temperature are they kept at? The more information you can post, the more chance there is of someone being able to figure out what's wrong.



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Old 7th April 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

I bought some nightcrawlers this morning, chopped them up, and dangled them in front of my little guys. The one who always eats had no problem chomping it up, but the others didn't eat. Several of them showed interest, but never enough to take a bite. I'm hoping that they'll warm up to the worms later. I'll let them squirm about in front of them to see if they just need a little privacy.

As for how the tank is set up, I have a layer of gravel laid down with dirt laid over the top. The dirt was baked for an hour at 425 to kill any pests/diseases. I did the same with all other objects brought in from outdoors like the larger rocks. There is a pool of water on one side that is maybe 3 or 4 inches deep. It has a filter running in it and I change the water fairly regularly. The temperature is around 60 F, mostly because I can't afford to invest in any extravagant cooling devices at this point and because we live in the Pacific Northwest where colder weather is quite common.



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Old 7th April 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

So are there just four North western salamanders and one T. granulosa in the tank? If so it would be best to house the newt separately. Even species that occur together in nature shouldn't be kept in a terrarium together. I'm no expert on either species, but the salamanders are a terrestrial species that likes to burrow, whereas T granulosa are active above ground and are often highly aquatic.
It would be better if you could offer each species a perfect habitat instead of trying to cater for both in the one terrarium.



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Old 9th April 2015   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

I agree, but could that really be causing them to refuse food? I know I need to separate them, but I don't have the funding to invest in another tank (the little guys were given to me).

They still aren't eating the crawlers--even when I chop them into small pieces and let them wriggle in front of their faces...



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Old 9th April 2015   #6 (permalink)
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I agree, but could that really be causing them to refuse food? I know I need to separate them, but I don't have the funding to invest in another tank (the little guys were given to me).

They still aren't eating the crawlers--even when I chop them into small pieces and let them wriggle in front of their faces...
It's most likely due to stress,
I would give them ideal enclosures first of all, and once that's done I would try just leaving work in the tank in the dark for awhile without bothering the newt to eat constantly, and uneaten worm should be removed within a few hours of being places in the tank.



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Old 9th April 2015   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

As Aaron says, it could be stress. Although they are species that are found in the same general area in the wild, they would rarely if ever come across each other as they occupy different niches in the ecosystem. The salamanders live largely below ground and the newt above or in the water. Forcing the two to live together in a relatively small area can become very stressful for one or both species if they are permanently preoccupied by trying to move away from each other.
If you can't provide for both species, it might be best if you re-homed either the newt or the salamanders, but in the meantime try not to bother them excessively trying to feed them, they are easily capable of finding some chopped nightcrawlers in a shallow dish or saucer if they are in a mood to eat. I know its hard to stop fussing when things aren't going well, I do it myself sometimes, but if keeping the two species together isn't causing the problems, it certainly isn't helping either.



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Old 9th April 2015   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

Finally, a thread with species I actually know a decent amount about!

Firstly, the setups sounds fine. T. granulosa can be terrestrial for long periods, females may stay terrestrial for up to two years at a time, while males only enter the water during the breeding season. A. gracile is highly terrestrial, they stay in the forest underneath surface objects or underground. They only go aquatic during the breeding season, but since yours are only a year old they wont be adults so a terrestrial setup is best.
Secondly, mixing these two species is a bad idea. While they may occur in the wild, and may encounter each other in the wild, they should not be kept in a tank together. T. granulosa is extremely toxic, so much so that having it in with the A. gracile could be enough to stress them to the point of not eating, or worse.

Thirdly, like already said, mealworms are bad diet, to say the least.

Fourthly, try leaving the chopped earthwoms in front of them overnight, they may take them.

Fifthly, the temperature they are at is fine, just make sure it doesn't get too hot, I would suggest trying to keep it below 70 F.

According to a study done on 50 wild A. gracile by the WDFW, the most common food items were beetles ( Coleoptera ), terrestrial pulmonate gastropods ( Stylommatophora ), and arachnids ( Arachnida ).

A picture of the setup would be fantastic.

Hope this helps! -Seth




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Old 21st April 2015   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Most of the newts refusing food, one getting skinny :(

Well, I lost one of them. It's a really sad sight to see...

I had separated the T.granulosa from the others and put him in his own tank that I was able to get a hold of. Unfortunately, I still can't get any of them to take interest in the chopped up night crawlers and I am getting very stressed out... I have tried hand feeding and I have tried leaving the food out, but neither seem to be yielding any results. I don't know what to do anymore.

(I don't have a way of taking any photos, by the way)



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