View Full Version : Captive bred vs. wild caught

8th February 2007, 17:09
OK, here's where I let everyone know how naive I am.
From what I've been gleaning on the forum, there's much more capture from the wild and importation of salamanders & newts than I had previously thought. Do people know, if I go to the petstore and buy, say, the following newts, what are the chances it was captive bred vs. wild caught? (or any other species people want to comment on):
warty newts
chinese fire belly (the little ones)
Eastern newts
spotted salamanders (US)
marbled salamanders (US)

I'm assuming that the fire salamanders, the alpine and marbled newts native to Europe are all captive bred. At least in the US. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Well, thanks in advance to anyone who might know this stuff!

8th February 2007, 21:10
The chances of finding captive bred North American caudates is almost non-existant in pet stores. You would have to find someone who breeds them. I'd say right here on Caudata.org is the best place for that!

8th February 2007, 21:36
Their are still w.c. fire salamanders imported to the U.S. I'm not sure about marbled newts but think some w.c. are still imported. I think most alpine newts in the U.S. are c.b.

The majority of newts and salamanders you will find offered for sale are w.c. All newts and salamanders offered for sale on Caudata.org are supposed to be c.b.

When possible try to get your salamanders from a hobbyist or breeder. If you want something that is not c.b. be prepared to purchase a couple extras for insurance. When I get some nice w.c. stock I work on breeding it.

I avoid U.S salamanders because they will get U.S. residents in the most trouble when swapping, buying, and selling. It probably doesn't matter much for a hobbyist but the rules on native in the U.S. are in flux.

9th February 2007, 01:57
In R.I., it's against the law to have marbled salamanders. They are native to here and protected by the government. I have lots of them in my yard. Come right up to my door and swim in the pool. Pretty cool when you add the tree frogs hanging onto the side of the house.

9th February 2007, 03:59
I agree with John W., the chances of finding any CB newts/sals in an actual pet shop are about zero. I've heard of one or two shops selling axolotls (which are always CB), but that's about it. Among the species you listed, I have NEVER seen any CB ones posted for sale, except for occasional ads on this forum. Spotted sals have never been bred in captivity, to my knowledge, and marbleds are bred VERY rarely.

If you are looking online (elsewhere besides this site), be skeptical of animals claimed to be CB, especially if they are "CB adults". And some of the WC animals that show up for sale in the USA are species that cannot be legally collected in their country of origin, like the fire sals.

(Message edited by jennewt on February 09, 2007)

(Message edited by jennewt on February 09, 2007)

9th February 2007, 19:00
..why are there not laws against pet stores (or anyone) from selling WC amphibians to avearge Joe especitally since many amphibians are in great decline. Are there quotas for collection instates? Or is this something that is pretty much unreggulated that no one will notice until it is too late? I know from state to stae some have laws reguaring trade of species across borders, etc. I have even sent emails to Illinions and Indiana DNR and otehr places for info, and i got no replies yet.

I been having a hard time finding laws reguaring this.

I am just glad people on here are breeding and attempting to breed rather than just harvesting for profit.

9th February 2007, 21:00

Here in MD, the laws are very messed up. If you are collecting native salamanders to use for fishing bait, you may be in possession of up to 25 with exceptions of a couple of protected species. If you are attempting to captive breed them, then you may collect and keep up to 4 with a special permit. You may not collect and sell or attempt to sell ANY WC native reptiles or amphibians in the state of MD even if they were collected in another state. The tiger, green, and i think valley and ridge are considered protected species and may not be collected without a scientific permit.

Obviously, it makes NO sense whatsoever to me to allow people to collect up to 25 to stick on a hook and kill but to limit me to 4 for trying to captive breed. However, I applaud the state of MD for at least trying to prevent the pillaging of our native fauna for profit.

One thing you'll find, is that states often list species for special protection based upon the commonality in that state only. For instance, Nicole states marbled sals are prohibited to keep in RI but here in MD I have no such restrictions. Here in MD the green sal is protected, but not in WV.

Up until this year, I was a holder of a captive breeding permit but I let it lapse because I just don't have the time to keep up with it all. I may give it a go again but for now I'm just doing field herping.

On the state of captive breeding of North American caudates, I believe our European compatriates have more success than we do.

10th February 2007, 16:05
I saw two sirens in the pet store the other day. I've also seen spotted sals. That makes me really sad now that I know that they weren't cb.
What about chinese fire bellies? Sometimes at the petstore they are so small and young looking.
And there are SO MANY! How many do they import a year?

Does anyone here captive breed tarichas? I want some so bad and I've never seen them in the petstore or anywhere.

How about this question: What species have people on this forum been able to captive breed?

10th February 2007, 16:10
Nicole- I had no idea Marbled salamanders were illegal in our state, i haven't found one either.

10th February 2007, 17:22
the only thing i ever see arround here petstore wise are "oregon newt" and "firebelly newt". most of the time i see the firebelly they are very very very small, so sometimes I wonder.

it sounds very "weird" that one can use more salamander for fishing bait than as a breeding project. At least they have some sort of an attempt at a law. I know most laws and data are kept state to state, such as a creture locally common on one state does not have same protection as those who are locally rare in another. I guess since there are not big cute fuzzy mega fauna it will take a bit more time to catch the public and law makers hearts.

Well, I wish any luck to those breeding native species especially.

10th February 2007, 19:42
Indeed, all those little chinese fbn are wild-caught. China must be exporting them by the millions every year. It is possible that the average size for them may be getting smaller as the adult populations in some localities get tapped out. Sad.

I've have never heard of anyone in the US succeeding at captive breeding Taricha. It has been done in Europe, so it is certainly possible. It may have occurred in the US too, but rarely. They are evidently not an easy species to breed in captivity. Lots of keepers see courtship, but not eggs.

The species that are occasionally available captive bred in the US: Axolotls, of course. Fire salamanders are fairly easy (though sadly I see more WC than CB). Chinese and Japanese firebellies, and their relatives C. ensicauda and C. cyanurus. Most of the Triturus (crested and marbled newts) and some of their smaller relatives (alpestris, vulgaris, etc.). Neurergus strauchii are beginning to spread. There have been successes with the Tylototritons (crocodile newts). A few people have had success with CB Notophthalmus, but even more people have had Notos die for no obvious reason.

It's rather shameful how many American species have been bred in Europe, but not in the US. In addition to Taricha, this is also true for Necturus and several of the Ambystoma sals. While there are plenty of people in the US keeping such species, we are way behind in terms of having people who are "serious" breeders. Everybody SAYS they want to breed their animals, but they rarely have the time, resources, and information needed to actually do it.

The main reason for the existence of this entire website is to accelerate the pace of information exchange, which is critical to success in captive breeding. We still have very little idea why certain species are difficult to breed, or what methods might work to succeed. We can't do much about the lack of time and resources, but at least we can try to provide some of the information needed. The unfortunate side effect is... while we are providing information for keeping/breeding, I think we are also creating increased demand for salamanders...

10th February 2007, 20:45

If you go to a good, small pet store they are more up-to-date on the law of the protected species in our state. There is a good one here in Coventry that I go to all the time. Also, if you google marbled salamanders in RI, it will bring you to a website set up by the state on the type of wild creatures native to the state and the protected status on them. From what I read (and remember), they did a field study on them back in 1997 and listed them protected back then. I was surprised and only found out after my husband caught one in our pool and gave it to me. After I found out, we released it and within a week found at least 5 more right outside our back door and going in and out of the pool.

10th February 2007, 21:56
You forgot P Waltl! They are hard not to breed IMO.http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/wink.gif

10th February 2007, 22:56
SO, OK, you Europeans, what North American newts and salamanders are you captive breeding over there?
Also, does anyone know if North American newts and salamanders get imported out of the US? i.e. to Europe, or are all of the North American newts in the European hobby cb? And what do you have over there?
And my last question for right now,
has anyone ever seen a taricha in a petstore east of the Mississippi (so to speak) or more specifically, in NY, CT, PA, or anywhere near where I live (NY) ?

10th February 2007, 23:03
P.S. Jen, please don't feel bad that all the hard work you all do on this site is promoting more salamander keeping and not breeding! This thread is really inspiring me to try again and harder cb-ing my Notos. I have had some small success in at least raising eggs from wc pregnant Notos, and some huge disappointments, but knowing now how little cb-ing is being done and how important it is ecologically makes me want to keep trying.

11th February 2007, 01:13
Dawn, I know of a store in Green Bay, WI that sells Taricha. Not close to you, but east of the Mississippi.

I don't think the majority of people even stop to consider where their animals are coming from. I know my manager at the pet store I work at didn't even realize that 90% of the reptiles/amphibians we sell are wild caught. When I told her she was appalled. She thinks of herself as reasonably well informed, also. She's in school to be a vet technician and even worked in a small hot reptile zoo, but still had no idea.

The more people we can educate about the pet trade the better. People need to know about the high mortality of importation and necessity of buying captive bred animals. Right now it is cheaper for most pet stores (especially big chains) to import their animals. You'll more often see WC Ball pythons or White's Tree Frogs in Petco.

Jennifer, what do you know about breeding success of Plethodontidae in captivity? I heard Plethodon cinereus had been, but was it by people in the hobby or researchers? Any other lungless salamanders?

11th February 2007, 02:03
<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Quoting Dawn O. on Saturday 10 February 2007 - 22:56 (#POST120890):</font>

<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>

Yes used to see Taricha for sell all the time in pet stores in western NY and western PA, but that was 5 years ago or so....

I now live in VA and see Taricha for sale in many pet stores in the Peidmont area. In fact I bought myself one a few weeks ago.

11th February 2007, 16:04
Call the pet stores. I know in CT (used to live there) that some of the pet stores (independently owned) will special order for you,

11th February 2007, 19:51
My primary petstore knows that if they ever find any available to get them for me. That's how I got my Emperor Newt, they knew I wanted one.
I think they're just not as common as they used to be.

12th February 2007, 15:33
Abrahm, from what i've read (mostly here and in some research papers) breeding in Pl. cinereus has been observed in the lab but I've not come across much in the way of confirmation of egg deposition and rearing of young. My presumption is that it has probably been done but not by hobbyists.

We have several people who have had some success at breeding and rearing Aneides Lugubris. E. bis has also been successfully bred in captivity.

Last year, I had success at getting both D. fuscus and D. ocrophaeus to yolk eggs in captivity but neither species deposited. Both were also first year wild caught specimens so it's very doubtful the breeding actually occurred in captive conditions.

12th February 2007, 15:53
Thanks, John, that confirms my suspicions about Pl. cinereus.

I am excited to hear that there has been success with Aneides lugubris and E. bislineata. I'll have to dig a little deeper in the Plethodontidae Forum.

12th February 2007, 16:45
My Desmognathus court frequently and there are often spermatophores deposited on flat stones in the open. No eggs, but they are cooling at the moment so…fingers crossed for the spring. E. bislineata was regularly bred by keepers like Paris a few years back – not sure if she still has her colony. I think they are fairly prolific if kept in the right conditions.

I was chatting with Jesper over a beer recently on the very subject of European captive breeding success and his theory was that exotics have been established far longer in countries like Germany &amp; Netherlands. Success may simply come down to the number of experienced keepers working in a well establish hobby. I tend to agree. I think there is probably more interest in US species in Europe than in the US itself.

(Message edited by aartse_tuyn on February 12, 2007)

12th February 2007, 18:34
This is by far one of the best threads, ever.

Anyone familiar with an literature and first hand experience dealing with breeding of Siren intermedia. Has anyone even attempted? I see tons of these at "shows" and "swaps" and "for sale" but are obviously all WC and I am dying to find any information regarding behavior and breeding of them in both the wild and captivity. I have asked around work even, and no one has a definate answer as of yet. Anyone here attempted or know anyone attempting to breed Siren intermedia, or know sucesses/failures dealing with this specie?

13th February 2007, 00:45
Good question, AnnMarie. At the time Ed wrote the Siren intermedia (http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Siren/S_intermedia.shtml) caresheet, there had not been any recorded captive breedings. If it ever happened, nobody ever documented it. In contrast, dwarf siren (http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Pseudobranchus/Pseudobranchus.shtml) have been bred in captivity. But nobody that I know of does it on a regular basis, so it's unlikely you'll ever see any for sale.

With species like sirens, the distinction between WC and CB can get a bit blurry. For example, if I build a pond in my house and get siren offspring, are they CB? What if the pond is in the back yard? How is that different from offspring I might collect after stocking animals into a naturally-occuring pond in my yard?

15th February 2007, 10:19
<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Quoting Jennifer Macke on Taricha breeding ( in this thread):</font>

I've have never heard of anyone in the US succeeding at captive breeding Taricha<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>Tara and Rob (Canadian-I'm going to get in trouble for lumping them in with US) and Paris (US) come to mind. I've given away fertile eggs which have successfully been raised to adults.

I disagree that Tarichas are hard to breed. They are no more so than Cynops orientalis (which is sold by the thousands, yet rarely does the average pet owner observe successful "breeding," much less living past a year). In addition, as Michael pointed out, American breeders will avoid American species due to the heavy regulations surrounding it. In California, I can run over a hundred newts, but if I breed and raise a batch of Taricha, I can only give them away to another California resident (they can't leave the state border), I can only keep four of them total at any given time, and I cannot accept any money or trade for the animals. I'm sure people bend the rules and it is not strictly enforced, but who wants to run that risk? Police record for breeding newts?

In addition, it seems to be a supply and demand. Successful breeding of Taricha in Europe may also be the from the fact that they are considered "exotic" and fetch higher prices. In the U.S., why would people buy a cb Taricha for $50 + $20 shipping when they can impulse buy a wild-caught for $5 at the local petshop? I'm not saying it is right (in fact it is downright depressing), but having read through this forum and others throughout the years--it seems that this is the current situation. Species such as Triturus fetch prices to the point where captive breeding becomes a viable option. I know everyone here is above the money and such, but the cost of raising an animal is quite time and resource-demanding.

This detracts from the thread though. Any Taricha in the petshop in the US is indeed wild-caught.

(Message edited by apples on February 15, 2007)

15th February 2007, 10:34
A double post.

"The unfortunate side effect is... while we are providing information for keeping/breeding, I think we are also creating increased demand for salamanders..."

Think of the help section as helping people keep their animals alive longer so they don't keep going back to the petshop to buy more and more (and killing them.) http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/biggrin.gif

15th February 2007, 16:37
Thanks for the correction and clarification, Pin-pin. That's good news to me! I still suspect that Taricha may be a bit less likely to breed in captivity compared to Cynops, but there's more hope for them than I had thought. I hope to get some CB ones someday.

15th February 2007, 17:46
"For example, if I build a pond in my house and get siren offspring, are they CB?"

I would say they are farmed and such.

I have read the artcile about dwarf sirens breeding in the magazine. Good information. Though, I have never heard of anyone who breeds them regularly or even every now and then.(all i have seen have been harvested from florida)

16th February 2007, 07:01
Dawn, all those little Chinese fbn you see are not only wild-caught but they're mass-exported illegally. Not that the Chinese government is all that concerned with enforcement of its wildlife protection laws that look so nice on paper. Since they're not covered by CITES and they're sent out through third countries (or third entities like Hong Kong where the government evidently isn't concerned whence they came), they end up being imported legally into places like the U.S. and Europe.

Here in Japan, CB animals that can occasionally be found on the market include T. marmoratus and P. waltl, and of course CB axoltls are frequently for sale. I'm guessing that imports are likely to fall now that chytrid fungus has come to these shores and the authorities have become alarmed it may spread to the wild if imports are not regulated.

16th February 2007, 15:47
Well, if this thread doesn't inspire people to try more captive breeding, I don't know what will.
In fact, I put my fat female Notos, that have been being amplexed by the males since December (they're slowing down with that) into a container FULL of vegetation. Maybe they will lay some eggs? I was thinking to leave them in there for two weeks, then remove the females back into the community tank. If all that amplexing has been successful, and if they lay eggs in all the vegetation, who knows...in 4 to 6 weeks...

16th February 2007, 16:17
I definitely think there needs to be more work done by folks like us in captive breeding our native caudates, where such things are allowed of course. I also think we need to work firstly on species that will be collector friendly since we definitely must think of the expense in terms of time and monetary resources we must put into it.

"With species like sirens, the distinction between WC and CB can get a bit blurry. For example, if I build a pond in my house and get siren offspring, are they CB? What if the pond is in the back yard? How is that different from offspring I might collect after stocking animals into a naturally-occuring pond in my yard?"

In my opinion...no, creating an artificial pond outdoors is not captive breeding. This is because we are dealing with amphibians and not fish who are not free to come and go from the pond. I believe I once found a "breeder" of tiger sals online who was doing just this. He had a large artificial pond and wild specimens would use it for breeding. He would then collect and rear the larvae.