Looking for input - A. texanum as pets

Kansamander

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We have a couple of small ponds which the past couple of years have been full of smallmouth salamander larvae. I got a kick out of raising a few of them, but I get the feeling that larvae mortality is fairly high (literature suggests for the spotted salamander, larval mortality is less than 13%, and I'm guessing similar stats for smallmouths).

So, my thought (half-baked) is to collect a large amount of larvae (or eggs -> larvae), raise and allow to undergo metamorphosis (or on a subset, try to sustain neoteny), and ultimate release 15% or so of the salamanders at the end of summer to mimic the rough % survival in wild.

With the remainder (which would otherwise be bug/amphibian/bird/turtle food) my thought is to establish a decent habitat in our cellar to try captive breeding (fool's errand, but why not?), and potentially even sell some as pets. I know they're uncommon, and very secretive, but I actually liked them as a small and easy to manage salamander. I grew rather attached to the ones last year, but ultimately released them in the wooded area surrounding their breeding pond.

So a few questions - would people have any interest in a salamander like the smallmouth (secretive, comes out at night, really docile), and can anyone(s) comment on the plan from a philosophical/ethical perspective. You won't offend me - I want input before doing anything too crazy.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Otterwoman

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Keep in mind we don't allow the sale of wild caught animals on our site.

Also releasing into the wild is not recommended because of the risk of introducing pathogens into wild populations.
 

Kansamander

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I might have to build a large outdoor enclosure and try the captive bred route. Our cellar might have the right conditions however.


This winter, my two tigers went into hibernation, and when we had a warmer period, the male came out and went in and out of the water in a hurry, while the female just sat in the water. I thought they were trying to breed, but nothing came of it. Sadly, I moved them to my 75 gallon tank, and in the process, the male caught some strange skin infection and died. I think the other two I have are also female, so I won't be able to try breeding them again till I find a male. But regardless, the cellar temperatures get in the 40s ( - it's open to the crawl space) in winter, and stays cool in the summer, so I think that even if I had a population of 5 to 10 smallmouth in the right conditions, I could simulate the seasons and trigger breeding. Or at least, it'd be fun to try.



Ideally, I'd have deep land/suitable water setups for not only the tigers and smallmouth, but other Ambystomids as well. I've always wanted spotteds and marbled, and the blue-spotted seem pleasant as well. If I had the right set-ups (in process now), I'd just let the natural temperature fluctuation of the cellar do the work, and maybe get lucky every once in a while. I've got quite a lot of worms breeding, and enough daphnia for a small army. Just need some more mouths! :D
 

Kansamander

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Also releasing into the wild is not recommended because of the risk of introducing pathogens into wild populations.

I didn't think of that - one smallmouth was wild caught early spring and the other was an adult I found in the cellar basement after a rain. They weren't exposed to any other amphibians I am aware of, and all food was wild caught and cultured, but better safe than sorry I suppose - thanks :)
 
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