New (Picky) Long Toed Salamander: Worm Problems

Jsal

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I recently inherited "Junior", an Ambystoma macrodactylum, and he/she was raised on slugs and caterpillars for a little over 8 years. I am trying to switch to a more earthworm-centric diet, but I ran into a dilemma. When I cut the earthworms to palatable sizes, the salamander consistently refuses to eat them (this has happened several times).

I was trying it again tonight, but I accidentally dropped the longer ~1.5" worm segment into the tank. To my surprise, the salamander ran out of its burrow, dragged the worm back into it, and chomped it down.

Junior ran over to beg for more, so I gave him a small, appropriately-sized piece. Complete rejection. On a gamble, I offered another longer-than-recommended (but not as long as the first) worm piece. That one was eaten with gusto.

Does anybody have a suggestion(s) on how to break this unhealthy eating habit, before I end up with a choking incident?

In addition to the problem of Junior only eating worms that are too big, he/she likes rubbing them in the dirt before proceeding to "slurp" them. How worried should I be about compaction, since the worms still have some dirt on them when they get swallowed?
 

Jennewt

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What type of worms are they? Some worms give off a funky smell (and presumably taste) when cut. Try Canadian nightcrawlers.

The dirt is unlikely to cause problems. If Junior isn't shy, you could feed him/her in a separate container.
 

Jsal

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I think the worms are just regular earthworms, only a few inches long. Not quite the size of full-blown, post-rain nightcrawlers.

If it helps, here's a picture of what they look like--maybe they're red wrigglers? That would explain a lot, even though the ones I cut didn't seem to smell bad.

http://environmentprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/KHR_nano-earthworm.jpg

Junior is still pretty shy, so right now I'm considering putting some plastic wrap or a piece of foil in front of the burrow where I put the worm, or even burying a bottle cap.

Thank you very much for your help/reply!
 
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  • Josiane:
    The tank is still running, I am cycling it (for 2 weeks) with guppys
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  • Josiane:
    Probably too soon, I read it take 6-8 weeks to cycle
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  • Josiane:
    How can I upload a pic?
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  • Paige1warren:
    hey! Don’t blame it on yourself. It happens. Is this your first axie? I’m a newer owner as well if so (I’ve had mine since Oct). I know how scary it can be
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  • Josiane:
    He's my first yes...
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  • Paige1warren:
    if you have the API water test kit, check all the perimeters in the tank. We can check the cycling process with the perimeters. And I’m actually not sure how to upload a pic lololol I thought it would be easier but I tried it myself and now I’m confused! It says to attack a link, I’m not sure how that works
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  • Paige1warren:
    Dont beat yourself up over this, your little guy will be ok 😊
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  • Josiane:
    I will do that for sure this afternoon! I really hope he pulls through :( He's so freakin cute
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  • Josiane:
    Thanks for your help :)
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  • Paige1warren:
    You’re so welcome! Keep a close eye on him and try to offer food a couple times a day. Maybe try some pellets too for a different smell, might get him interested. Keep me updated!
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  • Josiane:
    Will do, thanks!
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  • Josiane:
    @Paige1warren, turns out my pH was spot on, the test strips I had used were no good. I bought an API kit and the levels are all fine. So not the issue :( I just posted in the forum
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  • Paige1warren:
    Hey @Josiane ! I just responded to your post. Your little guy actually looks fairly decent for his size despite not eating well. I think it is stress from the environment
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  • Paige1warren:
    Also I forgot to add to my response on ur thread, keep trying to feed him bloodworms and see if he will start to take them. If you get a turkey vaster you can suck up dethawed bloodworms and dangle them right infront of his nose, might get his interest.
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  • Josiane:
    I rotate between blood worms and brine shrimp. He's in my bedroom and will stay there for a while, I closed the light and just left a salt lamp on. I will bring him a hiding place right away! Isn't he the cutest thing! 😂
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  • Josiane:
    Thanks for the reassurance!!
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @Josiane An axolotl of your's size should be on a diet of chopped earthworms or live blackworms (if they're under 3"). Bloodworms and brine shrimp are not a sufficient diet.
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @Josiane Based on the photo, I believe there is a chance your axolotl may have become impacted from ingesting sand. Axolotls under 5" should not be kept on substrate for this reason.
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @Josiane The nearly diminished gill stalks are also indicative of poor water quality. You need to test your tap water's parameters using a liquid test kit (not strips! Those are inaccurate). The slime coat coming off may also be due to water quality or the water conditioner.
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  • Paige1warren:
    Hey guys! Could anyone tell me like the span earth worms are good for once cut? I’m wondering if I can prepare worms for days in advance or no? I normally will cut the worm the day I feed it to my axie, but I really hate the cutting and was just wondering if I can do a few at a time so I have them already prepared. Do they lose nutritional value once cut?
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  • Lauruven:
    Im not sure to b honest. Id think once dead they aren't good anymore. Also I think0
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  • madcaplaughs:
    I'd avoid feeding dead earthworms.
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  • Paige1warren:
    Kk thank you I’ll just suck it up with cutting the worms :D
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  • Genie SynahMoon:
    My Axolotl just laid eggs!!! I have had Axies for years, but this is the first time I got eggs. I know that I can not handle them all because I was not prepared. Is there anyone who would like to buy some? Mother is Golden, Father is Albino
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  • Genie SynahMoon:
    My Axolotl just laid eggs!!! I have had Axies for years, but this is the first time I got eggs. I know that I can not handle them all because I was not prepared. Is there anyone who would like to buy some? Mother is Golden, Father is Albino
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    Genie SynahMoon: My Axolotl just laid eggs!!! I have had Axies for years, but this is the first time I got eggs... +1
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