Possible bloat--Salamandra salamandra

schmiggle

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I recently noticed that one of my fire salamanders is abnormally fat, despite having not fed much in the past several days.
This image is better quality:
file_original-size-5522.jpg

But this one shows the issue better, I think:
file_original-size-5521.jpg

I thought of three possibilities for what this could be: a gravid female, bloat, or impaction. However, I suspect that this salamander is male because the cloaca sticks out and it did so before I noticed this issue. This salamander has not fed for several days, so I don't think it's merely fat. It has been fed exclusively on calcium dusted crickets for the past several months, and I have read that overfeeding insects can cause impaction. However, I do not know how to differentiate between impaction and bloat. Does anybody have any suggestions? I know you can treat bloat at least temporarily by putting the animal in a salt bath, but I do not want to unnecessarily subject my salamander to this stress.
This has not been going on very long (two or three weeks at most), if that is helpful.
 

sde

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It doesn't look like bloat to me, and i doubt feeding crickets would cause impaction, though i would recommend feeding worms more often for a variation in diet and more nutritional value.

He looks perfectly fine to me. Maybe there were some leftover crickets in the tank that he ate? I wouldn't be too concerned
 

Blackbun

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I’ve seen bloat in Salamandra and the animal looked like it had been blown up so much it’d surely pop. Not just the lower abdomen but the entire body. I thought it would die as it couldn’t move. After six weeks or more it recovered. Lesson learned.This I suspect was due to feeding too many crickets in the winter during periods of activity and hibernation. I think this can happen with all chitinous inverts. If I could, I’d feed earthworms and slugs but a) crickets are convenient and easily dusted with Ca and b) my garden is all wormed and slugged out. Your animal looks ok to me.
 

schmiggle

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Glad to hear you both think he looks normal. He's now much skinnier, and I think it must have just been food taking longer to pass after all.
crickets are convenient and easily dusted with Ca
I don't know about slugs, but earthworms have an essentially perfect calcium:phosphorous ratio for vertebrates, as far as I know. I bet slugs are better than crickets, just because of their shelled ancestry, but I've never seen any numbers for them.
 

John

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I feed mine nearly exclusively on crickets and I've never had a problem. It looks like it might be impacted. Try keeping it on moist paper towels for a few weeks and offer it earthworms. Maybe it will pass the obstruction. I don't think the body shape matches being gravid.
 

schmiggle

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I feed mine nearly exclusively on crickets and I've never had a problem. It looks like it might be impacted. Try keeping it on moist paper towels for a few weeks and offer it earthworms. Maybe it will pass the obstruction. I don't think the body shape matches being gravid.
Good to know you've never had an issue with crickets. He's looking normal now. I think whatever the issue was, if there was one, has passed. I'll keep in mind the paper towel advice for the future, though.
 

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Good to hear! What's the make up of your breeding group?
 

schmiggle

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Good to hear! What's the make up of your breeding group?
At the moment, just 1 male, 1 female. They're siblings, so at some point I'll probably be looking to trade in order to increase genetic diversity. I figure with fire salamander lifespans, though, I don't need to rush. I'm not going to try breeding this year--I absolutely wasn't prepared, since I thought they were both female--but next year is on the table, particularly if I can avoid breeding siblings then.
I don't think I have space for more than one male and one female in the foreseeable future, but I guess we will see. It would be nice to have more adults if I were trying to breed.
 

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I personally wouldn't worry too much about a generation of inbreeding. And there aren't many of these available any more in the US due to the ban.
 

dea

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Probably a bit late to respond since it seems to have gone away, but just in case it happens again - 1 of my newts (different species) had bloat and as Blackbun said above it looks like they should have burst a long time ago when they have it. For mine it seemed to develop very quickly, although it didn't seem to affect her appetite or movement really (mine are aquatic newts, so probably would affect terrestrial movement...). Wish I could find the photo I took....
 
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