Fire Sal turned from bright yellow to dull orange - help !!

DocZelop

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Hi everyone,

I've been keeping two captive-bred Salamandra terrestris sub adults for nearly one year. While both of them have been very lively and eagerly eating, one of them recently (like one week ago) from bright yellow to a dull orange. Also, its skin looks kinda dry. Sitll, it continues eating as usual (mostly earthworms and slugs).

I've read on this forum that this might be the sign of shedding, and thus pretty normal. Still I'm worried that the poor creature might be sick. What do you think ? Should I give it more vitamin supplement ?

If that might help, substrate is moist but not wet, viv is planted with live ivy, two burrows are provided in the form of half claypots, and there's a small fond of fresh water for the sals to bathe in...

Any help would be much appreciated :happy: !

Many thanks in advance !
 

Azhael

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Try to upload a picture, it´s the best way for us to tell.
It could be caused by an aproaching shed but there could be other causes too, some of which are bad news. Is the tank properly ventilated? Stagnant air and fire salamanders don´t mix well, they are prone to skin infections. Make sure you have excellent ventilation.
 

DocZelop

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Thanks a lot for the quick reply, Rodrigo !

Here are two pics I just took...
My main concern is that the skin looks dry, but otherwise the animal is not sluggish or shy...

Ventilation is pretty good, I think, both sals are housed in an ExoTerra viv, with meshed top. The other sal looks perfectly fine...

Let me know what you think, and thanks again !
 

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Azhael

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To me it does look like the animal has retained shed skin. A problem with shedding could be caused by inadequate humidity levels, but also by skin infections. The best course of action is always consulting a specialized vet if that´s an option.
Usually, when skin infections are the culprit, you can see areas where the borders between yellow and black are difused by the alteration of the skin, however in the case of your animal it seems pretty well defined however obscured the coloration may be by the "dirt". I would be inclined to think it´s an issue with humidity that has caused difficulties in shedding and the retention of at least part of the shed. You could try increasing the level of humidity and see if the skin in the head changes consistency.

An exo-terra viv is not a great choice...Most models are too small, and the largest ones probably have too much ventilating surface compared to the ground surface they provide. What size is it? Bare in mind that fire salamanders can display a moderate degree of territorialism, each "owning" different areas. Without sufficient space, the inhability to stablish certain boundries could cause stress and in turn problems shedding, inhibited inmunity, etc. Then again, some S.salamandra are perfectly ok sharing space and can even be somewhat gregarious, it varies among individuals. Still, offering enough space is a safety meassure.
 

Jari B

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I had this with my Salamandra algira algira when I kept them inside. When I changed the terrarium everything seemed to be better but then they started to turn more grey again. I decided to put them in a outside enclosure and within 1,5 week they changed to their normal colour again and they are both healthy again.
 

DocZelop

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Thanks for the reply, Rodrigo !

I'll try to increase the moisture level, see if that helps...
The terrarium I have is medium sized (60x45cm base) so it provides ample space for two sals... Funny things is that they do show some level of gregariousness, often times sharing the same burrow.... I guess each sal has its own personality :happy:

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the developments !


Thanks again !
 

DocZelop

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Hi people,

for the record, the poor thing died yesterday... :(
It wouldn't eat anyway, so I had little hope... I've tried bathing the sal regularly, so that the old shed would fall off, but to no avail.

Thanks again for all the advice, and cheers !
 

slatera

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Hi,
I had this problem recurring with a mature S. s. bernardezi male. It was ok the first time when I put him in a small plastic box with damp moss to help the shed, but the second time he just seemed to give up. My longterm set up for these is naturalistic with leafmould over layer of gravel for drainage, live growing ferns, moss and other native plants, area approx 900 x 300 mm. Other (younger bernadezi) and S. s. terrestris in a very simmilar set up have never had any problems, so i guess sometimes the individual just gives up.

Andrew
 

sergé

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It could have been a "nitrate intoxication". A problem that occurs much more often then people think. Fire salamanders need clean environments. As the produce very large excrements they pollute their own environment very easily. Therefor a less natural set up when you can clean more often or a large tank with a complete natural setting are the best options.
I prefer simple tanks where you can spot the droppings easily and remove them every week. To my opinion keeping two adult salamandra is such a small tank without the possibility of "easy cleaning" can lead to these problems. And indeed some individuals or subspecies seem to be easier affected than others.
 
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