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Old 1st October 2015   #1
Nioa
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Default [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Please help, my young fire salamander has been eating scarcely for weeks. His weight has dwindled to the point that his head is far bigger than any point in his belly. He shows interest in worms, but won't pursue them if they move away. I tried separating him to a small container so the worms couldn't dig, but it hasn't seemed to help. Is force feeding him an option? He's a bit smaller than an adult firebelly newt. I don't think he's sick because his tank mate is perfectly healthy.



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Old 1st October 2015   #2
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Force feeding isn't really an option and is more likely to do damage rather than good. A lack of interest in food is usually associated with stress or sickness. Tolerance to stress varies amongst individuals so some might show signs whilst others in the same environment appear healthy.

How is the enclosure setup? What kind of environment have you given them (temperature, humidity, noise, lighting etc)? What foods other than worms have you offered? If you could post a picture of the enclosure and the salamander that would help.



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Old 1st October 2015   #3
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

They're in a 10 gallon tank with soil substrate. The tank is in the basement, so the temperature is always somewhere around 68-65. They don'thave a lot for hides right now, but they usually hide under the leaves. I mist them everyday to keep the soil damp and they have a small water dish that they occassionally use.They have no special lighting and the room is dim. Here's some pictures: Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
He actually looks a lot thicker than he did last night. I'm wondering if he ate the worm I left with him. I'm on mobile so I have no idea if the pictures will work.



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Old 1st October 2015   #4
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Links to photobucket are blocked due to the offensive adverts that they shove in your face. I'll attach them here.

Good hides are key to reducing stress. I don't see any suitable hides in that tank. 3 leaves and 6 small pebbles are of no use to it. In the wild salamandra are found deep in the forest floor beneath rotting logs, only venturing out at night. Cork bark, broken terracotta pot or cut PVC drainage pipes buried in the substrate can be used to make hides where the salamander will feel safe.
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Old 1st October 2015   #5
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Also, meal-worms are hard to digest due to high levels of chitin. Feed appropriate sized-ones (Not giant) and feed sparingly/occasionally.



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Old 1st October 2015   #6
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Okay, I'll be sure to pick up some bark for them, and those mealworms are actually for my gecko. I have a red wiggler culture for my amphibians. Thanks so much for the suggestions! I'll update if anything changes.



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Old 1st October 2015   #7
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Umm, red-wigglers aren't usually eaten by most reptiles and amphibians, they have a bad taste and nothing typically eats them



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Old 1st October 2015   #8
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

They only have a bad taste if you cut them, so I don't. My amphibians love them, except for this guy currently. He used to eat them immediately.



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Old 2nd October 2015   #9
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Red wrigglers will also exude the smelly fluid as a defence mechanism, so when left whole they are still unacceptable to some animals. As you say, some amphibians will happily eat them, but even so there are others that won't touch them no matter how hungry they are.
Given the fact you are dealing with a fussy eater you should be offering things that are super palatable so I would forget the wrigglers for now and try Canadian nightcrawlers (whole small ones are best, but chopped larger ones are normally fine), lesser waxworms or even live blackworms or bloodworms offered in a shallow dish or on damp tissue paper, if you do use bloodworms remember to sprinkle some calcium/multivitamin powder on them as they aren't really nutritious enough on their own.



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Old 2nd October 2015   #10
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

I tried that last night and he finally ate. I guess I'll be feeding him those from now on. I didn't know they would secrete that unless they were cut, otherwise I would have tried that sooner. Thanks for the help!



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Old 2nd October 2015   #11
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

You can also seed the set up with dwarf isopods and springtails so the fire salamanders have something to munch on between feeds. The isopods and springtails will also eat uneaten chopped earthworms.



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Old 2nd October 2015   #12
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Default Re: [Urgent!] Salamander is very thin and won't eat!

Sprintails sounds like a great idea! I bet they'll eat any mold that might grow from the leaves or wood. I'll look into those.




Last edited by Nioa; 2nd October 2015 at 17:02. Reason: editted to accomidate deleting doublepost
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