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Herping for Ambystomas in WNC

Jdz285

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Feb 9, 2018
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Hey y'all. I was wondering if any hase any experience experience herping in the WNC area. I have been on an endless search for Spotted Salamanders and Marbleds. Supposedly they are numerous in some areas but I have not been able to find any. Searched near vernal pools and isolated wooded areas and still have no luck. Any tips or areas you folks know about? Thanks!
 

Jefferson

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Apr 21, 2012
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Hello,

As Jennenewt notes aptly above, it's general website etiquette not to ask for or exchange specific locales for salamanders in open forums. However, that doesn't mean we can't share general habitat, seasonality, regional advice...etc. Just an FYI for future posts of this nature! We don't mean to be harsh, but collection is a big problem in the herp world. On to my general advice.

I don't know how experienced of a herper you are, so if the advice is a little basic, forgive me. My experience with Spotted Salamanders in Michigan, Virginia, and Tennessee has been that in the deep North (Mich), they're most easily seen on migration night by driving wetland roads or searching around vernal pools with flashlights, but can also be flipped in the off-season (generally mid-April to October) around pools or in adjacent uplands. The southern states are another story. It gets hot enough consistently enough that most attempts to flip A. maculatum under cover anytime other than late fall or a narrow window at about migration time in spring will be in vain. There have been reams of ink spilled trying to explain the timing and biological triggers of Ambystoma migrations, including this paper: https://encompass.eku.edu/cgi/viewc...le.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1054&context=etd.

Predicting Spotted sally migration is part art, part science. Just find several good vernal pool areas and try to time up the migration, and don't be adverse to trying adjacent regions and counties in case of some local anomalous absence. You'll get them eventually.

As for Marbled, April is not the time to be out flipping for them. In the SC Coastal Plain, I found them in mid-February before, and I've been told they're active basically Nov-Feb, when temps are cool and weather wet. For the mountains of Virginia (and presumably North Carolina--I live in the Shenandoah Valley), Marbled sallies tend to breed in mid September-mid October, and can be flipped with some regularity during that season if you have a good spot for them. If you venture to a vernal pool multiple times from September 1 to October 31 and never find an A. opacum, they probably aren't there. Also, I know that the Western NC mountains have A. opacum, but something tells me they'll probably be more common in the Piedmont region where there is more standing water, so if you can afford the time to go an hour or two east and do some preemptive research, I might also do that.

Hope this helps, and happy herping!
 
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    @FragileCorpse do you still have the AC? Put the tank where the cold air will hit the glass (I hope its glass, wood and acrylic trap heat), this usually lovers my tank by about 5 to 6 degrees. Also what lid do you use? If its a screen lid then what helps me is to spray extra in the morning so the evaporate can cool the vivarium.
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    Another thing I am experimenting with is live plants. I want to believe live plants cool it too by moving water but that could just be me having to mist everything extra.
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    @Captive Bread, Glass tank, screen lid, did put him with AC and temop is great now :)
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    Is there such a thing as having your himidity too high with a salamander? Mine seems to fluctuate pretty intensely between 55 and 80 for some reason
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    Also I neve got a reply to whether or not my salamander needs any UV light?
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    Im keeping potato bugs in a nice moist container, ive got like 30 though and now the containeris poop heaven. Do I need to clean that out? Is that bad for my little buggies? Theyre clearly eating fine based on the trillion billion poops.
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    My salamander only seems to eat potato bugs :s
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    ...in captivity anyway, this was a wild one that I got fined for, but they never gave me the fine and neve rcame to seize him or my tank and accessories like they said they wold :s
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    jesus sorry for typos Im very seizury today
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    dose any one have any tips/tricks for just hatched salamanders/newts
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  • salamandernewbe101:
    @FragileCorpse, Salamanders require a 10-12 hour day light cycle using an incandescent light with low levels of UVB lighting recommended. Never put your tank in direct sunlight, as the sunlight can heat the tank up too much.
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  • Skdecoteau:
    @salamandernewbe101, just hatched will probably need BBS. I highly recommend the Brine Shrimp Hatchery Dish from Brine Shrimp Direct. It's wicked easy. Can be ordered from Amazon, two day if you get the one without eggs & order the eggs separately.
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    thank you :)
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