New Tiger Salamander will not eat

toad.berry

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Hello! Thanks for the approval!
I recently was given a tiger salamander that was in a not so great situation. He unfortunately was wild caught, they kept him and another in a 10 gallon for about 5 years with dry soil, a small water dish, fed only mealworms.
He is now separated from the other salamander, on EcoEarth and an organic topsoil (that has been cooked and sifted) with a larger water dish and a hide in the same 10 gallon.
(I have a 20 gallon long for him that I'm repairing a crack in the bottom, as well as planning to get him more things once payday comes)
My main concern is his appetite and lack of movement. From my understanding he had a fairly good appetite and ate a mealworm every other day, I bought earthworms and dubias to try and wean him onto better foods, about a week and a half ago he took one dubia, the next day half a worm, and now he's been very spotty eating. He refuses anything but mealworms but rarely seems to want them (last meal was about 5 days ago, two mealworms)
I'm very new to amphibians and am just rying to do right by the little guy
Thanks a bunch!
 

Herpin Man

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How long are you leaving the prey items in the enclosure with your salamander? How moist is the substrate? What is the hide like? What is the temperature?
 

toad.berry

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Usually I offer the food and if he doesn't take in within 10-15 minutes I'll remove until I'm able to supervise and offer again. The substrate will clump together but isn't soggy, the hide is a basic half log from Zoomed, I have a cork round on the way. As well as a thermometer/hydrometer. My house is at 75 but my bedroom usually sits a bit warmer.
 

Herpin Man

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Here are my suggestions:
Although tigers are pretty hardy, 75 is too warm. I would try to locate the tank somewhere cooler, such as a basement. I would also create a "moisture gradient" in the substrate. Keep one end relatively moist, the other end dry. Let the salamander burrow where it pleases. For hides, flat bark that they can burrow under is ideal- half logs are a bit too open to provide security, although they may use them. Partially burying the log would make it more secure. A layer of leaf litter on top of the substrate would help immensely.
For feeding, I would completely cease feeding mealworms. They aren't very nutritious, and are enabling the salamander to refuse other foods. I would start by dumping in a few small earthworms- avoid red wigglers. They'll usually live until they are eaten, so don't remove them. Other foods to try include isopods, dubia, and crickets. For a reluctant feeder, smaller is better. Do not sit there watching for the salamander to eat, and do not remove the prey items after a few minutes. Instead, mist the tank before you go to bed, then feed. Leave the prey items in overnight. Doing so won't hurt the salamander, although I would not overwhelm it with crickets. They have been known, on occasion, to chew on herps. It isn't common. But tigers love crickets, so by all means, use them.
 

toad.berry

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I have since moved him to the coolest room in the house, I'll monitor to see if it helps. I will also try the moisture gradient, thank you! His half log is also buried in the subrate and he uses it quite often,, when I can I will purchase some cork flats. As for feeding, how long can a healthy salamander go without eating? He's already so spotty I really don't want to starve him to get him to eat other foods, and I really don't think leaving prey items in for an extended amount of time would help (I attempted it last night, waited for about 4 hours and he had not moved, instead the feeders were burrowed in the soil and I had to look for them)
With adding leaf litter (which I'd eventually like to do when he's healthy) I'd imagine the issue would become worse as they'd hide and he doesn't really move at all.
 

Herpin Man

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If the salamander is healthy- and with good body weight- yes it could potentially go weeks without eating. Is there any reason to think that it is unhealthy?
Regarding mealworms- unless the salamander seems on the verge of starvation, and you see it as a lifesaving measure, I would still forego them.
Since tigers like to burrow, burrowing prey such as dubias and earthworms are suitable prey. Leave them in there. Resist the urge to dig for them. Just leave them alone.
There is one other thing you could try, which often works for tigers. Put about an inch of dechlorinated water in a bucket. Place a few earthworms in the water. Add the salamander, and leave it alone for a while- use a bucket tall enough that the salamander can't escape, of course.
 
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    Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :)
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    Mark.H: Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :) +1
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