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Salamandra heat tolerance

Groundhog

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I have a question for John or anyone else who works with Salamandra species.

I understand that the Portuguese and North African sub-species are supposedly more heat tolerant than those from central Europe. Just how heat tolerant? While I do not keep any truly high-heat herps (e.g., varanids, uromastyx, etc.), my place does get fairly warm in summer; I do use A/C at night. I keep American hylids, lowland neotropical hylids and rhacophorids, and they handle it fine (see pic).

In contrast, my set ups were too warm for Gastrotheca, which are more montane (they got a new home!). In caudates, I have kept Tylototriton shanjing long term and they were okay--didn't like summer heat, just hung out in the Episcia. In aquatic salamandrids, my Pleurodeles and Paramesotriton were fine with regular water changes (though the ribbed newts didn't start breeding again till Fall). I suspect that Salamandra just won't tolerate low 80s for a few days. (A couple of folks I know who kept European fire salamanders stuck them in a wine frig in the summer!)

P. S. Pics are to show the herp room is a humid plant room.
 

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John

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I understand that the Portuguese and North African sub-species are supposedly more heat tolerant than those from central Europe. Just how heat tolerant? While I do not keep any truly high-heat herps (e.g., varanids, uromastyx, etc.), my place does get fairly warm in summer; I do use A/C at night. I keep American hylids, lowland neotropical hylids and rhacophorids, and they handle it fine (see pic).
It doesn't really work like that. Those types are a little more heat tolerant because of the climate where they live, but they still avoid the heat religiously by going into refuges/under ground during the day and especially in the summer. In Morocco, you can find Salamandra algira in cave systems - they are really only active on the surface during cool, damp nights (if at all) in the warmer parts of the year. If you have a room that gets above about 24°C/75°F regularly, then these may not be for you. Having said that, southerly forms will tolerate warmer days like that, provided there are cooler nights. I believe this is the primary reason that fire salamanders never took off in captivity in the US - room temperatures are just too high and most of the country is farther south than most of Europe. I would encourage you to get a temperature logger and test it out for a while - see what the temps do over a few months, and during the day and at night.
In contrast, my set ups were too warm for Gastrotheca, which are more montane (they got a new home!). In caudates, I have kept Tylototriton shanjing long term and they were okay--didn't like summer heat, just hung out in the Episcia. In aquatic salamandrids, my Pleurodeles and Paramesotriton were fine with regular water changes (though the ribbed newts didn't start breeding again till Fall). I suspect that Salamandra just won't tolerate low 80s for a few days. (A couple of folks I know who kept European fire salamanders stuck them in a wine frig in the summer!)
Yes, 80s are too high. All of the species you listed are more heat tolerant than Salamandra, although Paramesotriton vary in their tolerances. I know several people who use a wine fridge to keep their fires cooler in the summer months, but you want to get one that will let you regulate the temps into the 60s or so - if you keep them too cold in the summer I would imagine it would screw up their biorhythms for breeding. I know 1 man in the very south of Europe who keeps captive fires in outdoor terraria for most of the year, but in the summer they go into boxes in a tall wine fridge he keeps outside on a covered porch.
 

John

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I should add, when I moved to the US in 2005, I deliberately avoided acquiring fires because of the temperature concerns and the fact that AC inevitably fails. I didn't start up on them in the US until I got a basement in 2010 - even when the AC fails, a good basement will never get much over 70 in the summer.
 
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  • FragileCorpse:
    Google says " Free-living adults rarely enter water other than for breeding, but a shallow, easily-exited water bowl will be utilized by captives. " is that true? So he would HATE dropping him in some nice deep water to swim around for a little bit?" Hes got a nice big tank to wander around in but I find he constantly wants to just chill under his big hidey rock, and peek out every once in a while Lol
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    rhinogobius: Probably spanish ribbed newts +1
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