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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:
    Hey guys, its way too hot where I live right now. Temperatures 40 degree celcius outside, making it like 30 degrees inside. Ive got ice packs on my yellow spotted salamanders hidey rock, he acts like he hates it though. Am I keeping him too cold? I think my temp gauge might be messed up, or at least in the wrong spot. I put the tank temp gauge in the top left corner of his large tank, where it says its 80 degrees fahrenheit, which I am aware is too hot, which is what makes me put the ice packs on his rock at the bottom of the cage, but the bottom of his cage feels a lot cooler tha 80 degrees. Should I move my temp gauge down to the bottom corner where he hangs out the most? Should I get a soil temperature probe so I can tell what temperature the soil that hes laying on is?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Because his soil is certainly not 80 degrees fahrenheit, and I dont want to freeze the poor bugger with ice packs if he really doesnt need them. Hes been doing fine, but Im just so stressed because I cant get ANy information on how to handle this little guy. Theyre illegal to keep without a permit, but this one would not have survived without my intervention. So I cant call and ask anyone for help. If theres a betetr site than this one, I sure havent found it. But I never get any replies here. We are all just asking questions and getting none answered basically. Its really frustrating as I just want to help this little dude be happy and healthy. All I can get him to eat is potato bugs as well. I cant find anything else that he will eat. Is that even okay? :/ hes been eating strictly those since may first.
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    Does ANYONE know of a site more active than this where I can get my questions answered? My little bud needs help and Im just not getting it here.
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    Alright well I bought a bunch of stuff for his tank and hope it helps. Im getting extremelty frustrated that bI cant get an answer. Guess buddies just gonna have to die or some shit. like wtf why cant I get any help.
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  • Captive Bread:
    I'm afraid this is the largest and most active community for this kind of information, probably on the entire internet. That said, we are still small overall. We can't help you all of the time. We do offer you support and have answered your questions in the past so I feel it's very impolite to lose patience with us.
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  • Captive Bread:
    Second of all, was you who said you wild caught your salamander? And had Authorities threaten to retrieve it from you?
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    Third of all, assuming thats the case, no one seems to want to face the reality that these animals come from climates and microenvironments where they need to be kept cool. If you can't hack, then release it where you pulled it from.
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    he was dying outside. SO SORRY i was nice enough to save him. can i even release him in wetaher thats 40 degree celcius? will he not just die outside because he cant dig through the hard ground?
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    The ONLY reason I spent 500 dollars on this thing was to keep him alive. thats IT. He was completely dry with cracked skin and couldnt walk and I nursed him back to health. Now I should just throw him outside on the hard baked ground where I found him? in my driveway? Really dude?
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  • FragileCorpse:
    I am losing patienc ebecause I care. Because I cant get any answers in any length of time that will actually benefit him. He'll only eat potato bugs, I just want him to have good rest of his life. Thats IT. So dont act like I went out an dillegally trapped some poor salamander out of the wild for fun cuz I wanted one.
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  • FragileCorpse:
    I am very sure he was just trying to pass by, because he certainly cant dig ANYWHERE in the soil ANYWHERE near where I live. So I cannot just release him in 40 degree celcius on the super hard baked ground where theres no shelter and no food and now ater to be seen for miles. I dont see how that wioll help him at all.
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    @FragileCorpse, Watch your language please.
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    What did I say sorry? What word?
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    Ill certainly apologize for using it, but to not use it I need to know what it is is all.
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    Lots of contemplating life for me. What about you?
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    Same thoughts reduced to bytes on a website
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