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mark
4th November 2003, 18:53
I have always liked fire sals but have never really been keen on big newts or sals, so i was wondering,
what is the smallest species/subspecies when adult?

wouter
4th November 2003, 19:34
Hi Mark,

If I'm correct, the smallest subspecies is S.s.almanzoris, but I'm not entirly sure about that.

mike
5th November 2003, 09:52
Hi Mark,
According to the textbooks, S.s. almanzoris can reach 20 centimetres in length, although my adults are just 15 cms.
Whereas the largest, S.imfraimmaculata imfraimmaculata, from Israel attains a length of 32.5 cms!
But what`s a few centimetres between friends?
Does size really matter?

sergé
5th November 2003, 12:49
The smallest fire salamanders...I think some bernardezi populations and some island gallaica stay small, up to 13-15 cm (but the older animals get the biugger they grow). If you just care about size, you shouldn't keep any Salamandra...if you want to keep small salamanders you should try Thorius species or other tropical species.

mike
5th November 2003, 13:26
Mike East wrote:
"Does size really matter?"

No, but temperature does, at least to me. Is it possible to maintain the forms from hotter climates, e.g. Israel, at slightly warmer temperatures than more northern forms? Could I keep S.imfraimmaculata imfraimmaculata in a room which is 20C in winter but could reach up to 25C in summer? If not are there ANY of these gorgeous sals I could keep at those temperatures?

mark
5th November 2003, 15:41
Hi Mike,
No size does'nt matter i was just mearly enquiring, its just that i prefer smaller newts/sals maybe around 17cm and under.

mike
5th November 2003, 19:28
Mike,
I`m sure that many enthusiasts maintain their animals at similar temperatures, but I would be unsure of their long term health.
My Fire salamanders are kept in an insulated, brick built building, where the temperature varies from 5 to 25 degrees Celsius in the Summer. A portable airconditioning unit "kicks in", to prevent higher temperatures.
The building is well ventilated overnight, so that there is a decent day/night differential. I believe this is crucial for their wellbeing/successful breeding. I treat my S.s.imfraimmaculata and S. algira similarly.
We know our friends in mainland Europe suffered longer periods at 30 degrees plus, this Summer. Perhaps they would comment, with their experiences?

sergé
6th November 2003, 07:52
Hello Mike,

even the more southern forms of Salamandra need to have long periods of temperatures below 20. In general I would say 15 degrees Celcius is more or less optimum, even for algira and infaimmaculata. In nature they are only active in the winterpeiods, outside that period they have in DEEP cracks (they are mostly found in limstone and calcerous area's where they can hide deep in the ground). Although they can stand a few weeks of higher temperatures (around 25-30) they just beocme completely inactive. And as Mike (the other one) already said, on the long term this is very unhealthy.
Best optino is to create a small room where you can influence temperatures. Mainly europeans use their basements. Others make a complete 'cold room' with airconditioning.

mike
6th November 2003, 12:36
Thanks to you both. I can't afford air conditioning. What if I were to construct a shady outdoor enclosure? Our average annual temperature is <10C (Midlands, UK).
One snag, in such an enclosure, would I ever see them?
Anyone here keeping S.salamandra in this way?

mike
6th November 2003, 14:30
Hello Mike,

I have kept Salamandra successfully, in southern England, using exterior quality, 8 x 4 foot plywood sheets for outdoor enclosures.
My method is to dig a hole, on the North facing side of the garden, 4 foot square, and 2 foot deep, and sink a ply box into it, infilling with bricks/rocks/stones, to create a frost free hibernacula, for brumation. Finish with a covering of soil, then dry leaves, rotting softwood logs, ferns, moss etc. I find that a black plastic paint "roller tray", (obtainable from all good DIY stores), ;) sunken into the soil, provides a shallow container for adult salamanders to produce their young, without drowning themselves. Finally cover the enclosure with a mesh lid, to protect them from vermin.
As for seeing the inhabitants......I suggest you brush up on your "Raindance".

mike
6th November 2003, 19:23
I already measured the space - 8x4', so the ply will be an ideal size! Paint roller tray - brilliant, I was thinking of using large plant pot saucers with some stones in.
Do you treat the plywood at all, and if so, what with?
If untreated, how long does it last before it rots?
Lastly (honestly!), any worries about fire salamanders escaping by climbing the sides?
Thanks.

mike
7th November 2003, 00:17
The ply sides have not delaminated in five years usage, they are treated with a water based shed paint, formulated for smooth surfaces.
As the sides are only 2 feet above ground level, to prevent cats/squirrels/rats entering, and salamanders escaping, a small wire mesh is essential.

mike
7th November 2003, 04:10
Sorry Mike, still going with the questions.

How small is small mesh? Chicken wire? Smaller?

Lastly, for the constructionally challenged amongst us, how was the box constructed? Glue and screw? Corner braces?

Thanks.

mike
7th November 2003, 11:03
Mike,

See www.moncaster.co.uk (http://www.moncaster.co.uk) for "Monaweld" (hot dipped light galvanised mesh)
Standard mesh 1/4 x 1/4 inch will keep out everything, 1/2 x 1/2 lets in small mice!
A coat of the green water based paint detracts from the galvanised finish.
Alternatively, ply 1 foot wide, could be attached to the top of the structure, overlapping 6 inches either side, to form a T.
This should prevent intruders and escapees, then a larger mesh could be used, to deter the birds!
Glueing and screwing 2 x 2 corner braces, firms up the whole structure.