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Outdoor Ambystoma Maculata Enclosure in MD

Hydroplane22

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I am beginning construction of an outdoor enclosure for Ambystoma Macualta. it will be 4x4 feet and 15" tall. the enclosure will be 10" into the ground to allow them to burrow. the goal is to add a water source in the spring time and hopefully allow seasonal changes to initiate breeding. i have a few questions that im hoping people with outdoor enclosures can hep out answering them. first, what can i line the bottom with to prevent them from burrowing out? i was planning on putting galvanized rat wire on the bottom, no sure how well it would work. i considered pond liner, but didin't want the soil to become water logged. Also, how much space is needed for around 3 adult pairs? is a 4x4 foot enclosure overkill?
 

Bellabelloo

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My outdoor enclosures are all lined with pond liner, which I put holes in to allow some drainage. My enclosures are under trees and the rain rarely gets into the enclosure so the liner is used for holding onto some moisture. This is lined first with chicken wire to deter escapees. Do take into consideration that you may need to protect your animals from predators.
I think the size will be fine as long as you provide lots of hiding areas. I use broken terracotta pots. tree bark,moss, leaves, slate etc
 

pierson_hill

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Sounds like a good plan. You'll want to have some sort of lid or lip around the upper edge of the enclosure to keep salamanders in and predators out. Pond liner may work better over the long run than galvanized wire, which might eventually corrode away. Some pond liners can last up to 30 years. Maybe cut some drainage holes in it and silicone some fiberglass screen over the holes to prevent escape. I'd consider creating a larger water area for breeding (e.g. buried kiddy pool) unless you plan on removing egg masses or hatchling larvae and raising them elsewhere. Even a 4' diameter kiddy pool will only support 10-20 larvae to metamorphosis.
 

Hydroplane22

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Update: ended up using a 55 gallon tub instead of building a wooden enclosure. saved me a lot of money. they've been outside for about a month now and are getting along fine. will post pics later
 

Hydroplane22

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My main goal was to see if this was a sustainable way to care for them outside. however, given that the're exposed to seasonal changes, maybe they'll breed for me? only time will tell.
 
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