Spotted Salamander Care

Spotted Salamander Care

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Also known as Yellow-spotted Salamander​.

Popularity: They are easy to care for, but they are not very outgoing and can be timid and skittish. Their skin is delicate, so minimal handling is best.

Origin: Eastern United States and Canada 

Native habitat: leaves and burrows of deciduous forests

Size: usually 6-7 inches, but sometimes up to 10

Lifespan: reported to live up to 32 years

Appearance: They are typically black, but sometimes a blue-ish black, dark grey, or dark brown. Two uneven rows of yellowish-orange spots run from the head to the end of the tail. The underside is slate gray and pink.

Diet: carnivorous

Activities: They hibernate in the winter. Other months, they hide out until rainy nights

Defense Mechanisms: They are good hiders. Additionally, they can shed their tail and even other appendages if threatened, and they can grow them back. They also secrete a substance that is toxic to some animals but not humans.

Misc characteristics: The Spotted Salamander is the State amphibian of South Carolina.

BASIC CARE

Housing

You can house one or two Spotted Salamanders in a 10-gallon aquarium tank that has a secure wire mesh cover on the top. Use a deep enough substrate to allow the salamander to burrow. Use potting soil, coconut fiber, ground pine bark mulch or sphagnum moss that is free of fertilizers and chemicals. Good décor that allows for hiding includes bark slabs, driftwood, live plants, and logs. Normal household lighting is sufficient.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature is 50-70 degrees F. It should never exceed 75 degrees. Maintain humidity by daily misting with chemical-free water; however, never let the substrate become soaked.

Water

These animals take their water differently than other animals do. They take it in through their skin and through their cloaca, which is a multipurpose opening. That is why the substrate must stay moist. The water should never have chemicals in it, including chlorine.

Feeding

Feed your salamander insects such as crickets and various worms. Also, you can give them the occasional pinkie mouse. Feeding three times per week is sufficient for an active Spotted salamander.

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