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Old 19th August 2007   #1
MelanieK
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Default Best set up for Desmognathus ochrophaeus (Allegheny Dusky Salamander)?

Took my family to a forest small stream in South Central West Virginia today. We saw several very small sals, some insects and several good sized crayfish while gently looking under medium to large stones situated in and right next to the water.

We came across a large individual that I have identified as a Desmognathus ochrophaeus (Allegheny Dusky Salamander). This one is approx 6 inches long ( I think that's 15.2 cm ) and a lovely tan-golden color with darker brown spots. Found under a rock that was half in the water.

My questions are:
What's the ideal set up for this creature? I am tending to think the semi-aquatic option would be best. Please give me some ideas for ideal substrate.

By the way, "Dusky" ate a small earthworm from tweezers a few short hours after coming to my home. He's a little timid, but seems to mostly be curious.

His temporary home is a mesh-covered 5.5 gallon with a water dish & dampened "Flukers" moss ( http://www.flukerfarms.com/index.asp...PROD&ProdID=61) and a place to hide as well.

My concerns:
Is this set up OK for this creature? Is the moss substrate appropriate? Would more water with places to crawl out be better?

PS. I did some research and I can find nothing stating bringing this individual home is not legal. They are reported to be very common and not considered to be on any "threatened" lists. If anyone knows of any legal reasons it should not be captive, please don't hesitate to let me know.

* I just checked on him and he's hanging out in the water dish *




Last edited by MelanieK; 19th August 2007 at 04:22.
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Old 19th August 2007   #2
mapleotte
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I read that the flukers is dyed. That made me a little nervous for my Sal so I switched back to eco earth which I think he prefers anyways. I just hate the fact that mine seems to attract gnats after a couple of days. I hate gnats. People have been recommending top soil as long as it is minus the manures, wetting agents and fertilizers. This is a personal preference but I would probably get him a bigger tank. I think the five gallons are somewhat small. I have always been a bigger is better when it comes to pet housing though. You should see what my ferrets live in lol. I have a tiger sal in a 10 but am trying to find a 20 that will fit my desk. Good luck.



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Old 19th August 2007   #3
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I donít keep that particular species of Desmognathus but I do keep a few others. They tend to do well in a semi-aquatic enclosure, the depth of water dependant on the particular species. My set-ups generally consist of bricks to form a land area, water to the top of the bricks and a generous helping of rocks or logs to create hides. You can create water movement with an air pump and air stone. As the water area is small you need to do regular water changes.
Some pics of mine:
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 19th August 2007   #4
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Thank you Mark. I had looked in the "Set up" galleries and noticed your top photo and thought that might be the best for this Desmognathus ochrophaeus ( will call it Dusky for short ). This morning it's still in the water dish with just his head resting out of the water. Seems content after the worm meal last night.
I have some stones from his stream that I can use to build up some crawl-out areas and a nice little hollow log for a hide. I will get a little pump/airstone and make some changes. I have plenty of dechlorinated water ready.
I assume despite the fact that the stones I have on hand came from his stream, I still need to boil the stones....



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Old 19th August 2007   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapleotte View Post
I read that the flukers is dyed. That made me a little nervous for my Sal so I switched back to eco earth which I think he prefers anyways. I just hate the fact that mine seems to attract gnats after a couple of days. I hate gnats. People have been recommending top soil as long as it is minus the manures, wetting agents and fertilizers. This is a personal preference but I would probably get him a bigger tank. I think the five gallons are somewhat small. I have always been a bigger is better when it comes to pet housing though. You should see what my ferrets live in lol. I have a tiger sal in a 10 but am trying to find a 20 that will fit my desk. Good luck.
Yes it certainly looks dyed. I will be removing it today. We'll see how it does it the 5.5 gallon for now.



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Old 19th August 2007   #6
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Hi Melanie, you can boil stones if you're worried. I personally wouldn't unless they were coming out of a tank that had housed a sick animal. As long as you're confident (as you can be) that the area you collected the items from is not contaminated with pollution or disease then the risks should be low.

6 inches sounds rather large for a D.ochrophaeus. My field guide gives it a max size of ~4 inches. There's no chance it could be D.quadramaculatus? Do you have a photo?



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Old 19th August 2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
Hi Melanie, you can boil stones if you're worried. I personally wouldn't unless they were coming out of a tank that had housed a sick animal. As long as you're confident (as you can be) that the area you collected the items from is not contaminated with pollution or disease then the risks should be low.

6 inches sounds rather large for a D.ochrophaeus. My field guide gives it a max size of ~4 inches. There's no chance it could be D.quadramaculatus? Do you have a photo?
Good to know about the stones. I did boil some of them, but have another batch to go. I might as well give the 2nd lot a hot boil since I already have dedicated an old pot to the task.
I'll get a photo or 2 of it when I have it out of the tank this afternoon.

I don't think it's a D.quadramaculatus because the underside is a light tan, not black. Maybe the photo(s) will help clear up the mystery. I will try to include something in the image to help verify the length. All of the others we saw looked to be similar, perhaps the same kind of sal, and they were all much smaller ( ranging from 1.5 inches to 3 inches ).



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Old 20th August 2007   #8
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Ok, got the new home situated:
Click the image to open in full size.
There's an airstone in place and some hide areas you can't see in the shot.
Here are some shots of the little guy to help with identification. I think my estimate on length was generous.
Click the image to open in full size.

Close up of the head
Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 20th August 2007   #9
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Focus on the feet
Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 20th August 2007   #10
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Question

Can people here see these photos, or do you see red X's? Thank you.



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Old 20th August 2007   #11
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I can't see them...



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Old 20th August 2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
I can't see them...
OK, will try again:
Links
The home
http://www.pbase.com/melaniekipp/image/84166060

Shot for size
http://www.pbase.com/melaniekipp/image/84166048 ( think it's a little smaller than the approx 6 inches I estimated)

Close up of the head
http://www.pbase.com/melaniekipp/image/84166050

Focus on the feet
http://www.pbase.com/melaniekipp/image/84166054

Oh, and my fat FB (Not in the same tank as the WC Sal )
I think the FB is a male
http://www.pbase.com/melaniekipp/image/84166056



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Old 20th August 2007   #13
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Yes, 6 inches was a bit generous. I think you have the correct ID (for what my European opinion is worth ).

He has a nice home. Maybe add a few more rocks as cover.



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Old 21st August 2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
Yes, 6 inches was a bit generous. I think you have the correct ID (for what my European opinion is worth ).

He has a nice home. Maybe add a few more rocks as cover.
There are a few more rocks behind the ones you can see on the left. He's hanging around in the crevace between the ones you can see, though.
It's amazing how quickly they learn where the food comes from, isn't it? He's already turned into a shameless begger!



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