View Full Version : New terrestris concerns

5th May 2006, 17:57
first off the caudata.org site and forums have been a great resource and i plan to contribute once my paypal is fixed(lost CC got new one)

after much research and planning i decided on a fire sal and bough this fella about 2weeks ago from regalreptile @ the ny reptile show
CLICK HERE FOR SOME CRAPPY PICS (http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=6412638&bl ogID=113361714&MyToken=7e6aa4fc-5437-443c-84ed-6233fd472bb1)
the tub is clear plastic about 33lx18wx14h and has a mesh top i fabbed. Substrate is layer of sand, charcoal, topsoil, bedabeast

i've kept newts since i was 8 but i'm new to terrestrial sals(although my former FBN avoided his split water side of thetank) and have a few concerns

stress - i handle him very little, maybe a poke to make sure he's alive. he likes to hide and be idle alot. he's been reluctant to tweezer feed, but i've seen scraps of earth and waxworms so i assume he's eating. his tank also has lots of pillbugs roaming free. i like to use the time while he's in the PVC hides to stir and moisten the bedabeast fibers on the opposite side. occasionally when i attempt to tweezer feed or present food in his view he will look like he is burping and sometimes sqeak. is this him holding/pausing his respiration because he's scared??

also stress related -- pillbugs and slugs. i've read excess crickets can stress a pet but how about these bugs? i assume there both harmless but i occasionally see them hitching a ride on him. i plan on get rid of the slugs since they they seem to be avoided as food and slime up the tank and can potentially eat the ivy i have growing.

temp/lighting - my room is small and dimly lit by 1 low watt energysaver bulb in a ceiling fan. the tub itself is clear but frosted so it's not totally translucent. very little sun light enters my room due to the direction of our house/my window.i may have missed any tips on light cycle for these guys.. any tips??my light is off for most of the day.. maybe 2 hours while i get ready for work and maybe another 2 hours when i come home @ 11pm

temps- in the past two weeks i've left my window open and the temps in my room were 50 @ night and never above 68 during the day. Yestarday it was warmer and the thermator on the tank rose to 74 during the day, but droped to 60 @ night.
our central air broke last summer and cost like $3grand to fix, but i plan on buying a window AC unit soon once i calculate a good sized and priced unit for my room. i plan on fixing this soon for both my comfort and my pets health.i'm tempted to setup a tank @ work since i'm in a chilly server/network room all day. how detrimental are midday temprature spikes to overall health?

terrestris - are these commonly captivebred? regalreptile seems to have a good supply but others seem to only have s.s.salamandra. i'm looking to get a mate once i feel comfortable with my current.

5th May 2006, 18:15
Hi Tony,

I have three of these myself. They should be fairly easy if you make sure it doesn't get too warm.
They do like to hide a lot however, mine are now pretty used to me and will come out of hiding when I dangle a juicy worm in front of their hideout.
I have never noticed any problems with pill bugs and slugs. I've seen mine eat slugs but I am sure they sometimes also grab a pill bug.

Good luck, they are very pretty and stubborn creatures! You should see the attitude they give me when I don't let go of the worm quickly enough once they grab hold of the other side http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/happy.gif

7th May 2006, 01:21
i have patience so i can wait for him to recognize me as the worm providor. i finally found a really close bait shop that stocks nighcrawlers well untill december, hehe and i also caught/released 1 1/2 foot garter snake while collecting pillbugs in my backyard!! highlight of my day so far... now i need to get drunk and have some real fun

7th May 2006, 11:33
Tony, mine only took about 2 weeks to get over their shyness. However I have a friend with one who continues to be shy, and he's had it for well over a year.

If you have a walmart near you, they usually stock nightcrawlers all year. That's where I get mine. You can buy extras too, as they last in the fridge for a long time (I can keep a tub in there for a month as long as I check on it periodically, and mist it when it looks dry).

21st May 2006, 08:10
i'm still worried about his health
i've had him since 4/23/06
i find eathworm and nightcrawler scraps in the tank but still haven't got him to tweezer feed, or see him feed and i still find live waxworms around?(i don't overdue the waxworms since he's relcuatnt to tweezer feed some go missing other i find while sifting the cocofibers and under rocks)

i'm new to terrestial species so i'm not sure what there feces look like. i found about an inch long piece of matter that was really dry and inside one of his hides that he frequents. i think it's either feces or the mantle of a slug, i removed all slugs i prevesoily provided but one never knows(i did'nt add many and removed those i could find since they seem not to be eaten), the tank has suffient moistuer,plantlife and dead materail under rocks to sustaint a slug and doubt thy just dried out.

Does salamander feces resemble a dried out mantle of a slug? the only dried out slug i've ever seen were welll cooked by the sun..... the dry mater was in a plastic hide he really like and about an inch long 1/4 thick and when i disected it pretty much looked and crumbled like dirt.

he looks no smaller a month in captivity, but the lack of feces scares me. i had pillbugs and millepedes in the tank(whihc mostly hide unde rocks) but doubt my sifting of soil and bug upkeep could hide such droppings

As a note we got our AC fixed and temps are between 60-72 in my room, perhaps lower in the tank due to low lighting(low watt floursent bulbs and i prefer darkess/ work schedule allows) and misting/evap. He appears to be of good size and has no sores but stil does alot of hiding and little movement. Any info would be much appreciated

21st May 2006, 16:36
Fresh feces looks like a shiny brown blob on the soil (not easy to see). When it dries up, it's even harder to see, and it gets broken down by soil bacteria and disappears after a while. What you found could be a dried slug, or maybe a shed skin from the sal? An inch long doesn't sound right for a poo. If the fire sal has a shallow water dish, they will often obligingly poop in the water, which makes clean-up easy.

If the sal isn't getting thinner, I suspect it's eating. Have you tried leaving a known number of wiggling earthworm pieces, then checking later to see if the number is reduced? I've done this for sals that were too shy to eat while watched.

24th May 2006, 04:08
ok today i positivetly ID'd some poo since it was coming out of him LOL. just wish i could see him eat that'd be more reassuring. did some cleaning and remodeling of his tank to add a small easy to enter/exit water dish. i'm going to try the chopped worms more.

not realy sure what that other stuff i found was.. found 1 slug after this weeks tank cleaning and set him free, haven't provided any slugs in a while and that matter i found was longer than any slug i ever did provide. it did look very much like a slug mantle though

1st June 2006, 07:37
unfortunately he died today. right in front of my eyes too...i just came home around 12:45am from work, looked in his tank didn't see him right away since he was in this PVC elbow. he evetaully crawled out about 12inches and he was just sprawled out lifeless. i'd like to think he came out to say goodbye

he was eating, in fact he looked rather bloated the other day after gobbling up a worm

heat may have been a factor, even with ac my room tends to get warmer than other parts of my house... but i'm not allowed to have him anywere else. it was never more than 75F tho. the tank thermo was at 68 at death and may have been highest 72 during the day

also after inspection of his body i found 2 abrasions of his left side and a sore developing on his left nostril. The abrasions weren't open or bleeding but looked like small bruises/broken blood vessels. not sure how any of that happened but i opened his mouth postmortem and found a wad of substrate under the left nostril that had begun to ulcer. i used exoearth brand coco fibers and small amount of topsoil mix on top of tightly packed topsoil,charcoal, and sand.

i feel really bad. it was my first attempt with a terrestrial species and he only lasted a month http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/cry.gif

1st June 2006, 10:35
Sorry to read of your salamanders death, Tony. I doubt those temperatures would have caused itís demise so quickly if it had been healthy. I suspect that you bought a wild caught specimen which had not fully recovered from the stress of collection and exportation. Stressed animals donít feed and their fat reserves deplete to the point where fighting sickness becomes difficult.

Donít blame yourself. Next time (if there is a next time) try to obtain captive bred specimens as they are much more reliable.