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5 Tips on Caring for Your Pet Salamander

Salamanders can be a wonderful source of joy for owners, so it’s important to know how to care for them properly. Since keeping a salamander in your home is far from its natural environment, it stands to reason that the best way to make any pet salamander comfortable in its new surroundings is to provide as many natural features possible.

If you don’t know anyone who has a pet salamander, and you haven’t encountered them in the wild, they are charming little amphibians with slender bodies and long tails. They have no claws, which adds to their appeal as pets, and they generally have five toes behind, with four toes in front. Most salamanders fall within the range of 4 to 8 inches long, and must be provided with a water source, so they can keep their skin moist.

Although as a pet owner you might never see this in action, the salamander has the very useful ability to regenerate limbs and other body parts which have been somehow lost or removed. In order to get the most enjoyment out of your pet salamander, and to keep it healthy, make sure to take note of these five tips.

A Natural Diet

Salamanders don’t usually eat the grain meal and packaged foods you find in pet stores because that’s not what they eat in their natural habitat. They love to chomp on earthworms, woodlice, and slugs – you might be surprised to find that you can purchase these creepy crawlies at your local pet supply store. It’s best to feed your pet salamander at night since they are nocturnal creatures who become active in the twilight hours.

A pet salamander in a moist leafy habitat.

A pet salamander likes moist leafy habitats because they mimic the features of their natural habitat.

Housing Arrangements

As mentioned above, the very best housing arrangement you can establish for your pet salamander is to approximate conditions it would encounter in its natural environment. Salamanders enjoy moist habitats with many nooks and crannies where they can nestle and hide.

You don’t have to buy an elaborate setup that costs a fortune. You can make your own salamander habitat starting with a clear, easy to clean container that comes with a secure lid. The container will have to have holes which are smaller than the salamander’s body size, for ventilation and air flow.

Then you can place wood chips, potting compost, and other absorptive material on the flooring. Next, you should include a few objects like rocks or pieces of wood, which the salamander can hide behind when it wants to. When you’re selecting a place in the home to situate your salamander box, make sure that it never receives direct sunlight, because that would create uncomfortable temperature conditions for your pet. Don’t forget to include a water dish, so your pet salamander can stay well-hydrated.

Environment Control

As we mentioned before, salamanders do not like warm temperatures, and that’s why direct sunlight is such a bother to them. They prefer temperatures between 55 and 65°F, which means that your salamander housing should be stored in a cool place that doesn’t get day-long heat. This is especially important during the summertime when temperatures can soar. A salamander left at home with no air-conditioning will be in serious jeopardy. Place a small thermometer inside its container for convenient temperature monitoring. Since your pet salamander will always need to maintain skin moisture, it must be provided with standard dampness as part of its environment. If nothing else, a dish full of water should be kept in its environment at all times, and this water should be changed daily, so it’s always fresh.

Handling of Your Salamander

Many pet owners enjoy cuddling with their pets as one of the primary perks of ownership, but this is a temptation you’ll have to overcome with your pet salamander. Keep in mind that salamanders have very delicate, moist skin which will not tolerate handling to any degree. It’s best to have the understanding at the outset that you will handle your salamander as little as possible, and just enjoy observing it.

Making Sure Your Pet Salamander Stays Healthy

Whatever kind of housing you’ve set up for your pet salamander must be cleaned approximately every two months. When you do this, make sure to use nothing more than warm water and a very mild cleaning agent, such as dishwashing detergent. There are many kinds of cleaning agents and disinfectants which can be very harmful to your pet salamander (chlorine, for instance), and these must be avoided at all costs. It’s best to not get too adventurous with cleaning solutions and just stick to mild soap and water. Your pet salamander will appreciate the clean environment, especially if their home is free of harsh cleaning agents.

 

Picking the Right Terrarium for Your Reptile

A small lizard crawling on the wood inside a terrarium.

Is your pet’s terrarium suitable?

A reptile is one of the few pets that needs a specialized environment to live in. You can’t just bring one home without knowing the type of reptile you have or the living conditions that need to be met in order for it to survive. At the Pet Shop, we can help you give your special scaly friend the home they deserve. Here are a few factors to consider before you decide to pick up your brand-new pet and its terrarium.

How Big Is Your Terrarium?

The size of your terrarium matters for many reasons. The first is the size of your pet. For obvious reasons, you’ll need a space that is big enough from your reptile to fit in. The second factor to consider is their behavior. Research is important before you buy any pet. You have to be able to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you planning on bringing home multiple reptiles?
  • Do they work well with others?
  • Does your reptile like to move around or stay still?

The answers to these questions will influence your choice. You’ll be surprised to know that most larger reptiles don’t require a lot of space to move around in. However, others are more territorial and will want their own space within the terrarium. In this case, you will have to find a way to arrange the contents of your terrarium for multiple reptiles.

Placing your Pet’s Living Space Within Your Home

Terrariums come in all shapes and sizes. Most reptiles will be able to function in an all-purpose terrarium. These living spaces are usually twice as long as their width and height.

In rare instances, you may decide to bring home a lizard that requires a space that is different from the norm. Reptiles that are used to living in high places, like trees or walls, will need a tall terrarium. This will give them a home that feels familiar.

As you are looking at terrariums, think about where you are going to place it within your home. Make sure you have a safe and secure spot for it. That way your pet is comfortable for a long time.

Reptiles Require Proper Ventilation

Reptiles need fresh air. Unfortunately, pet reptiles live in an enclosed space, which normally doesn’t receive proper ventilation. You can change that with the right covering and side-wall ventilation.

A roof covering must have a large wire screen, with the right size and weight. This allows a flow of air from the top of the terrarium. A side-wall ventilation should have the same kind of wire screen mesh. It is usually placed in the bottom corner of the terrarium.

There are two things you should avoid with a roof covering. The first is to avoid a wire mesh that will allow food to escape. The second is to make sure that the roof is not made of plastic, which can fall apart under intense heat.

Buying Your Reptile

Hopefully, this will make thing easier when considering a pet reptile. We have several reptiles and terrariums available at the Pet Shop. Visit today, and bring a special friend home with you.

Caring for Your Fledgling Bearded Dragon

A bearded dragon can be a fantastic pet, providing the owner years of satisfying companionship. But how do you care for a bearded dragon that is still in its early months? Here are a few tips for first-time owners.

What to Consider When Buying a Bearded Dragon

First of all, be sure to get your bearded dragon from a reputable source. This is not a difficult animal to care for, but you want one that is healthy and has been treated properly from birth to the time when you take over the role of caregiver. If the bearded dragon is less than a month old, it’s really not ready for you to bring home yet. In fact, buying a full-grown bearded dragon can help ensure that it is a strong and healthy pet.

One thing to keep in mind is that bearded dragons are pretty solitary in the wild. They often interact only for the purpose of mating. So unless you intend to become a breeder, you really don’t want to have more than one in a tank. Even if they grew up in the same tank, you would want separate tanks for your pets as they reach adulthood.

How to Take Care of Your Pet

If you do happen to get a one-month-old bearded dragon, you are going to want your terrarium to be a minimum of 20 gallons. Keep in mind that by six months you will need to upgrade the tank size, so you may want to skip the tiny tank and go straight to an adult-sized tank. Be sure that the substrate of your tank is the right material. Sand mats or slate tile are perfect for bearded dragons.  You can also use paper towels, which are a better option than things like play sand or cedar shavings, commonly mistaken as acceptable substrates.

Other considerations are the need for a light bulb that provides the proper basking temperature; include proper tank structures for both climbing and hiding (remember, these guys are introverts); and have the proper supply of water and food. A young bearded dragon will eat anywhere between 20 and 60 crickets or roaches per day.

Finally, don’t forget to locate a veterinarian in your area who has experience in dealing with reptiles. Most vets are more experienced with cats and dogs, so only take your pet to a vet that knows reptiles.

Changing Seasons Means Changing Bulbs for Cold-Blooded Pets

You could try to keep your home at about the same temperature all year long, but you might notice that 70 in winter and 70 in the summer don’t always feel identical. If this happens to humans, and we’re warm-blooded, imagine what it feels like for cold-blooded pets.

These pets have absolutely no way to regulate their own temperature, which is why you probably have a heat lamp shining in from above your reptile terrarium. The bulbs for these lamps have different wattages and create varying amounts of heat. However, you may not be able to use the same bulb throughout the year, even if you keep your house temp regulated.

What Do Cold-Blooded Pets Need?

Depending on the type of pet you have, you may need to maintain a different temperature. Every reptile will have a high/low range in which they will stay healthy. Certain types of snakes are okay with as little as 85 degrees. If you have a bearded dragon, they will want a balmy 110 to hang out in.

How to Determine the Bulb to Use

Once you know your pet’s favorite temperature range, it is time to select the right bulb. This will depend on a number of factors.

  • What is the ambient temperature in the room where the terrarium is located?
  • Does the temperature change with the seasons? (For example, you may let it get a little colder in winter and warmer in summer to save electricity cost.)
  • What is your current bulb’s heat output?
  • How long have you been using the same bulb? (A UV bulb will not put out as much heat after half a year or so. Mark the date and change your bulb accordingly.)
  • What does your terrarium thermometer read? (It should measure the temp where the heat lamp is pointed.)

The fact is that your thermometer will let you know whether the bulb is doing its job. If you need to increase the basking temp for your pet, you may need to replace an older and failing bulb or switch to a bulb with a higher wattage. As the seasons change, it is important to keep an eye on the variation in temperature, so your pet doesn’t catch a chill.