One eyed salamander surviving in the wild?

Sir Jagger

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So last spring I happened upon a ditch of water and discovered it was filled with tiger salamander larva. I knew this ditch would be dried up long before they morphed so I caught every one I could find, about 30 in all. I relocated them to a nearby permanent body of water with no fish to give them the best chance as their numbers have declined in Mn in recent years from what I've read. I decided to keep one so my daughter and I could observe the metamorphosis and let him go after he morphed. He changed a week after the ground froze so I had to keep him over the winter. Now it's time to let him go but it is obvious he is blind in his left eye. He won't respond to anything on that side and seems to have some difficulty zeroing in when striking. He is still capable of eating on his own, but not very efficiently. I'm sure this happens in the wild and I imagine they can still survive? Me and my daughter found a one eyed chorus frog about a week ago. I want to release him because I believe it to be in all his best interest but this eye thing kind of made it a bit more complicated for me. I don't want to cut him loose if it will condemn him to death. Anybody have any thoughts on this?
 

sde

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I have found one eyed chorus frogs, one eyed ensatina salamanders, and half tailed northwestern salamanders, and it doesn't seem to effect them.
I would go ahead and release him, but I would also try and not take ones home in the future that you know you aren't going to keep. Catching and then releasing wildlife lowers their chances of surviving after being released.

Anyway, I think he will be fine with one eye. -Seth
 

Sir Jagger

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I know it's never ideal to hold them captive and then release, but I guess I've been looking for larva for almost 20 years and couldn't resist observing the metamorphosis. The plan was to release him as soon as he morphed so he would not become accustomed to captive life in terrestrial form. Unfortunately he turned about a week to late for that. Thank you for the response though, helps me feel better about his chances. I'm sure he'll have a long and happy life. Amphibians sure seem to be survivors considering they've thrived unchanged for a very long time. Kind of makes me curious of something else. Living indoors for a winter shouldn't affect his natural ability to hibernate this upcoming winter, would it?
 

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In many areas, it's illegal to release animals that have been brought into captivity.

He shouldn't have issues finding a place to hibernate.
 

Sir Jagger

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Thank you for the response. In my state it is illegal to release non-native species into the wild. The 4 toed salamander is on the special concern list but It's my understanding that native species like tiger salamanders and painted turtles are unregulated species. The only restriction on them is that you are not allowed to harvest them from the wild and sell them for personal profit. Sadly it happens mostly in bait shops in the state when "water dogs" are caught in minnow traps and sold for bait. The practice of using larva for bait deeply saddens me:(
 
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