Herping for Ambystomas in WNC

Jdz285

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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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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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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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  • madcaplaughs:
    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    hi I’m looking for some insight, it would really help if you could check out what I have written^
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    Hey so does anyone ever update this site. I mean the photo contest from 2012..
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    Wait in finding newer posts in different forums
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  • Chelsea smith:
    Hello! Anyone there right now by chance? I have a couple questions about plants in an axolotl tank.
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  • Junaz:
    @Chelsea smith, Hi, what questions did you have?
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  • Chelsea smith:
    Hi! I was wondering if anyone knew if java fern, the floaters like frog bit, anubis, and moss balls could be all kept without any substrate with the axies? I have sand right now with an axie who is over a year but we were just testing the waters really but I continously read about a lot of health issues with sand impacting constipation and hiding bad bacteria and such, we just want to make him comfy.
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  • Junaz:
    I don't know about the java ferns, but the moss balls and anything that floats on the surface of the water should be totally fine! I'm not saying the java ferns aren't an option, I just personally don't know if they can live without some sort of substrate
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  • Littlewolf:
    Java ferns actually do better when they are attached to a piece of wood or other decor anyway. Their rhizomes can be easily burried in sand and then they dont grow properly. The others can also be kept without sand no problem.
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @Chelsea smith All of the plants you've listed can be kept without substrate. Plants with rhizomes cannot be submerged in substrate, as burying the rhizome will cause the plant to suffocate and rot. You can pin these plants under on onto decoration, rocks, etc., just be careful that the rhizome is not in substrate. Moss balls and floating plants, naturally, do not need substrate either. Do note that floating plants require a good amount of light.
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  • Paige1warren:
    Hi guys, I have an 11 month old axoltol who is about 9 inches long. She normally is a pig when it comes to food. I switch between pellets and night crawlers, and sometimes blood worms if she had a big meal the day before. Anyways, I went to go feed her a night crawler today, and she wouldn’t eat it! She turned her head and went to the corner. I noticed that when I cut this worm it seems to release a lot more goop then other worms I’ve cut, I tried to wash it off the best I could with cold water. Do you think maybe she didn’t want to eat it because of that? She normally will eat anything in front of her face. Water perimeters are perfectly normal by the way, and temp is at a steady 63 degrees F.
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  • Paige1warren:
    Also, she looks perfectly fine. Tail is straight, gills aren’t curled, no fungus or anything. It’s probably no big deal, it’s just unusual behavior for her so it really caught my eye. Love my girl and want to make sure everything’s ok.
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    Paige1warren: Also, she looks perfectly fine. Tail is straight, gills aren’t curled, no fungus or anything... +1
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