Acquired: Pet store
Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Posted Mar 12, 2015
I've always loved things that slither and crawl. From a very early age I can remember going hunting for frog spawn around my birthday (February), and watching the tadpoles transform into frogs in a fish tank in our garden.
Snakes and newts followed, though less successfully, but I'm always drawn to the reptile tent at our local country fairs.
The idea of owning a couple of Salamanders came to me when I saw a well known politician (Ken Livingstone) being interviewed on TV about his colourful pets. They seemed so striking and placid, and must surely have been easy to look after. It took little time for me to persuade my wife that the empty fish tank in the lounge would be an ideal environment for them, and within a month or so, Sam and Dave, a pair if Fire Salamanders, had taken up residence.
Back then, there was no Internet to provide information on how to care for them, so the local library was visited and eventually I found a book that offered some advice.
The first few months were great, mainly because of the novelty of owning such exotic creatures, and both of my children were fascinated by them, but soon the novelty wore off and it just became a case of feeding and cleaning. The thing is, they aren't the most active creatures, especially in a relatively small tank, and the fact that they feed mainly after dark meant that, for the most part, they were invisible.
I persevered for a year with them and, to be fair, the feeding and environment was pretty easy to maintain. They eat most small insects found in the garden, so there was a constant supply, but I felt that I wasn't really giving them a suitable environment to live in so, eventually, I contacted a local, small zoo that had a reptile house and they took them off me.
Nowadays, the amount of information on how to care for them is so profuse on the net, I'm tempted to try again. Our local World of Water has a fine selection of Axolotls, a species I've always found fascinating. Now, I wonder...