Salamandra salamandra terrestris outdoor vivaria pictures

sde

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Hi all,

Just wanted to share some pictures of my outdoor vivaria that I made for my Salamandra salamandra terrestris. It is constructed of wood, and is mostly below ground level, and has a hibernacula, so that the salamanders will be below frost line in the winter.
It has a large piece of Alder wood in it for them to hide under and maybe dig under a bit. It has two species of ferns, Alder bark, piece of branch with moss and fern on it, water tub, and another plant that I am hoping will grow as it provides a lot of shade, but I kind of doubt it will.
The overall construction of the frame was very easy, as well as putting in the dirt ferns etc., but digging the hole was tiring! Took me a quite a while. I, however, neglected to notice that the spot I decided to have it at gets a lot of sun in the morning, and so is not a good spot for ferns. So I had to prop a large piece of wood up with some PVC pipe to provide shade. Here are some pictures of the wood frame, and then some of the finished vivaria.
Enjoy! -Seth
 

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sde

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I should have said in the first post that I still need to make a lid for it, but that will wait till winter.
Its going to have a mesh lid.
 

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That's a really cool setup! It blends in to the rest of the ground very well.

Did you use pressure treated plywood to build the enclosure? It is treated with arsenic and would be very toxic to amphibians. It usually has a greenish to gold tint from the copper compound mixed in with it.
 

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That's a really cool setup! It blends in to the rest of the ground very well.

Did you use pressure treated plywood to build the enclosure? It is treated with arsenic and would be very toxic to amphibians. It usually has a greenish to gold tint from the copper compound mixed in with it.
Thanks for the compliments.

No its not pressure treated plywood as far as I know, it didn't have any tint to it that I could see. Thanks for the heads up though. I really need to get more Salamandra salamandra terrestris for it though, it would be a ghost town for only two :eek:

Oh yah, that's the other thing I forgot to mention in the first post. It is approximately 75 gallons, give or take a few. -Seth
 

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Just wanted to update this thread with some pictures of my vivaria. I don't have the lid yet ( I haven't put anything in it yet ) so the fall leaves getting in it, which I think looks pretty good. Many insects have made there way into it, including worms, woodlice, spiders, and slugs. So there is food waiting for my S. s. terrestris in it! The one species of fern is starting to die for the season, but the other species is actually growing all the sudden. The log and rock have settled in nicely too.
Some of you ( and me ) were concerned about it flooding, but it has been raining off and on for the last couple weeks, and no flooding has occurred even in the hibernacula, so far so good!
Oh I also wanted to ask you guys if a upside down rain gutter or something similar around the top would be sufficient to keep them inside? A herp website said that it would work, what do you guys think?
 

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While i absolutely love the look of the interior, i have to say i would not use it to house any salamanders, let alone a foreign species. The wood walls looks like they are rotting and they could be torn down by anything, a raccoon, a fox, rats...If you are going to construct an outdoor vivaria for a foreign species it should be a robust, 100% scape and predator proof one, made of durable material like brick. I really think what you have would be taking a huge risk.
 

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While i absolutely love the look of the interior, i have to say i would not use it to house any salamanders, let alone a foreign species. The wood walls looks like they are rotting and they could be torn down by anything, a raccoon, a fox, rats...If you are going to construct an outdoor vivaria for a foreign species it should be a robust, 100% scape and predator proof one, made of durable material like brick. I really think what you have would be taking a huge risk.
I would agree with Azhael, the wood does appear to be rotting but the habitat you have created is fantastic. I am creating my own outdoor enclosure for european caudates and anurans and I am using a very sturdy wooden frame sunk into the ground with a sealed base, using zinc 6mm mesh for all sides and the roof. This method is totally escape proof and the wooden frame is treated (amphibian safe) to prevent it rotting quickly, I should get a good ten years from this easily.

Stuart
 

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While i absolutely love the look of the interior, i have to say i would not use it to house any salamanders, let alone a foreign species. The wood walls looks like they are rotting and they could be torn down by anything, a raccoon, a fox, rats...If you are going to construct an outdoor vivaria for a foreign species it should be a robust, 100% scape and predator proof one, made of durable material like brick. I really think what you have would be taking a huge risk.
I can assure you the wood is not rotting. I don't think a raccoon or rat could tear the wood, but I suppose they could get in from the top, even if I had a mesh lid. I could reinforce the outside with bricks, but I am not sure how I would predator proof the top. Maybe if I put a layer of chicken wire and then double layered the mesh that would work? Though raccoons are curious, I don't think with the proper roofing they would try to get at my salamanders, there are chickens nearby that they would much rather try and get ;)
Or, I could just fence in the whole area.
 

jAfFa CaKe

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I completely agree with Rodrigo. It looks lovely inside, naturalistic styles are always my favourite. But it looks to be reasonably easy to brake or damaged.
 

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If you are thinking it is rotten because of the holes that are in the top or the small chip that is on one board then those were already on the boards when I got them ( they were leftover boards from some other build ).
I am confident that if I dropped a 20 pound weight on it is would not brake or damage. This wood hasn't even been in the ground for 6 months, and before I put it in it was completely fine, no rot. I understand you guys' concern, but the wood isn't rotten. But, just to humor you guys I will add a layer of bricks or something on the outside, and try to think of a good strong lid. Maybe a wood lid with a lot of small holes in it, I don't know.
 

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The reason I believe it is rotting is because the wood is warping and it definitely looks like it will fall apart very quickly. You may not think its rotting or feel it's rotting but from how it looks it will start to break off in bits quite quickly. For the roof I would suggest a wooden frame with metal mesh, on hinges or built so that you can lift it on and off. I would suggest putting a weed membrane or liner below and around the base of the vivaria and then building bricks around the top part.

Stuart
 

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While i absolutely love the look of the interior, i have to say i would not use it to house any salamanders, let alone a foreign species. The wood walls looks like they are rotting and they could be torn down by anything, a raccoon, a fox, rats...If you are going to construct an outdoor vivaria for a foreign species it should be a robust, 100% scape and predator proof one, made of durable material like brick. I really think what you have would be taking a huge risk.
I agree.
 

sde

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The reason I believe it is rotting is because the wood is warping and it definitely looks like it will fall apart very quickly. You may not think its rotting or feel it's rotting but from how it looks it will start to break off in bits quite quickly. For the roof I would suggest a wooden frame with metal mesh, on hinges or built so that you can lift it on and off. I would suggest putting a weed membrane or liner below and around the base of the vivaria and then building bricks around the top part.

Stuart
It has been warped since I first put it in. I started to compact the dirt around it and it warped a bit. The wood is not super thick, maybe 1/2 and inch, so it is flexible.
Thanks for the suggestion on the roof, I will probably do that.

You could use Weldmesh for the lid. Just build a wooden frame to go round the edge that overlaps the sides and then cover it with the Weldmesh. It's rat proof so I think the Raccoons will struggle.
Welded Mesh: Welded Steel Wire Mesh Rolls, Panels & Sheets
Thanks for that Chinadog!

I kicked it, walked on it, scratched it, no damage. I understand that it looks like it might be rotting in the picture, but the wood is not falling apart, breaking, decomposing, or anything of the sort. I am not trying to be rude or ignorant, but the wood does not ( in person ) look, feel, or seem rotting. This vivaria isn't supposed to last a lifetime anyway, It will only be in use a few years. And I will not put any amphibians in it if I have any problems with it before I put in amphibians. And I will take them out if I have any problems if/after I put them in. :) -Seth
 

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Update.

So I made the lid. It is made with 1x3 ( inch ) boards, mesh, and chicken wire. The chicken wire is pretty heavy duty, and has a decently small hole size. I put Great Stuff expanding foam all around the top of the vivarium, then closed the lid and let it dry. Once it was dry I cut through the middle of the foam, that way when I close the lid it will have gap free seal.
I added moss and lichen to the log, moss to the rock, some ivy on one side ( I am not sure I will leave it in ), some more live moss on the ground, and some other small plant around the water area.
I also added a layer of bricks around the frame of the vivarium, they are held in place with Great Stuff as well.
I put my two S. s. terrestris in today. Hopefully I will be able to get more later this spring. -Seth
 

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It is an amazing installation, be assured that your salamanders well there, I hope you have luck and they breed in spring.
 

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It is an amazing installation, be assured that your salamanders well there, I hope you have luck and they breed in spring.
Thank you for the compliment. They won't breed this spring unfortunately, they are only juveniles, about a year old. So I have a few more years to wait.
 
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