All About Caring for Pet Salamanders
As a unique and exotic choice, many people adopt pet salamanders and newts into their families. Relatively easy to care for and not dangerous, salamanders and newts are small, cute and perfect for those with fur and dander allergies.
For clarity, it’s important to note that a salamander and a newt are essentially the same creature. Different areas of the world call the little amphibian by these two interchangeable names.
Salamanders are not lizards, but are actually closer related to a frog or toad. Young salamanders can be mistaken for tadpoles and transform in a similar way as they grow.
Salamanders have no claws, are not slimy and don’t have scales. They are generally smooth, quiet creatures that remain mainly nocturnal.
Pet Salamander Habitat
Keep pet salamanders in an aquarium or fish tank of a decent size. Salamanders may come into your home at the larvae stage and grow from there into the little amphibian you expect. At that point you will need to have a completely aquatic area for the larval salamander to live in.
Make sure that the water is the proper temperature for the animal. Also be sure to have a water filter system installed – similar to a fish habitat – and change the entire tank out regularly. At least 50% of the water will need to be changed every week.
There is a type of salamander called “neotonic” or “aquatic” which will live in the water their entire life. They can be kept in their tank from youth until maturity.
Other types of salamanders are semi-aquatic (live out their life both in the water and on land) or terraria (live almost exclusively on land once they mature). For both of these types you can use the same tank as above. Simply create some land for the salamander. Half of the tank should be converted to land for a semi-aquatic and all of it for a terraria. Use gravel to create a beach-type area where the salamander can transition and make sure to have proper drainage for any land portions.
Always have a lid on your tank, as salamanders can climb. Use that lid for any lighting or heating required.
Keep the tank in a dark area. It’s important to have areas of differing temperatures, similar to a lizard or reptile habitat. This allows the salamander to move between a warmer and cooler area at their own will and will keep them comfortable.
Food and Feeding
Pet salamanders eat live food. Most pet owners feed them brine shrimp, but they also eat black worms, small water insects and snails or slugs.
If you have a young salamander or newt, buy tiny brine shrimp or cut up the worms and feed quickly. Baby salamanders will want the food still living and can only eat what will fit in their mouths.
Adult aquatic salamanders diet becomes slightly more varied as they grow, although they still prefer live food and in the same general family as before. Ghost shrimp, crayfish and other worms can be fed to your pet salamander. If your adult salamander is a land dweller, try earth worms, crickets and other tiny insects.
Although it may seem like a good idea, don’t try to put different species in with your pet salamanders. Amphibians have a tendency to eat whatever lives in their habitat (if possible) and you will be putting another pet (or your salamander) at risk.
Two or more of the same species is possible, but watch for breeding situations and provide plenty of room for all the pets.
A pet salamander is an excellent choice for a first pet and an addition to any family. With little maintenance, interesting habits and lifestyle and an exotic flair, pet salamanders are sure to keep you interested.