How to Care for Your Pet Salamander

Care for a salamander pet varies, depending on the type of salamander you have. Salamanders live in the water, on land and in trees and bushes. Some species are also nocturnal. When you purchase a pet salamander, make sure you know what species it is, and that you know how to care for that particular species.

Aquatic Salamanders
An aquatic salamander spends its entire life in the water. It will need an aquarium with water. You may want to have some rocks that are above water, but for the most part, the salamander will stay in the water. The aquarium should be cleaned at least once a week. If the water gets cloudy or if you see pieces of food or feces floating around in the tank, it should be cleaned more than once a week. These pet salamanders eat fish and brine shrimp, so you'll need to keep some small fish or shrimp in the water.

Terrestrial Salamanders
Terrestrial salamanders spend much of their lives on the land. Some terrestrial salamanders live part of their lives in the water and part on land, while some live on land only, or in trees and bushes. Make sure you know what type of salamander you have and where it likes to live. You will have to mimic the salamander's natural habitat.

If you have a species that lives in both the water and on the land, your tank will have to be half water and half soil with vegetation. If you have a salamander that lives in trees, your tank will have to have a small shrub and other vegetation.

All salamanders absorb water through their skin; they don't drink it. Salamanders that live in trees and bushes can be a particular challenge, because you need to keep a high level of humidity in the habitat.

Feeding a Salamander
Terrestrial salamanders eat worms and bugs. Food must be live, because the movement stimulates the salamander to eat.

Pet stores that sell lizards often have live crickets or other bugs available as food. You can collect your own food as well, but you must be completely sure that any insects you collect are free of pesticide. Salamanders are very vulnerable to poisoning. When you collect insects as food, keep them for a few days before offering them to your pet. If the bugs survive, they likely haven't been exposed to pesticide.

Water
Terrestrial salamanders will soak in water from time to time. Be sure to have a low-sided bowl with fresh water available. The water bowl should be changed every day, especially if you notice the salamander soaking in it.

Other Cage Items
Provide rocks and larger chunks of branches for the salamander to hide under. You can build a small cave in the corner of the aquarium with three or four small rocks. This is especially important if you have a nocturnal salamander.

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Knowing the species of salamanders will help you provide the right habitat and food for your pet.

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