Western Slimy Salamander

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Other common names: White-throated Slimy Salamander

Scientific name: Plethodon albagula

The basics:
The Western Slimy Salamander, attractive but secretive, has been largely ignored by pet-keepers. However, these woodland beauties often adapt well to terrarium life, and are worth consideration by folks with some salamander-keeping experience under their belts.

The Western Slimy Salamander is found from southern Missouri to western Arkansas and northern Oklahoma, USA; an isolated population occurs in south-central Texas.

Primary habitats include moist ravines and depressions within deciduous forests, rock crevices along streams, abandoned mine shafts, and cave entrances.

Appearance / health:
The Western Slimy Salamander’s black body is liberally speckled with white. Adults reach 17 cm (6.8 in) in length.

Captive longevity has not been well documented, but pets have lived for at least 8 years. If the terrarium’s substrate or water becomes fouled with ammonia from waste products, “Red Leg” and other bacterial/fungal infections will take hold.

Behavior / temperament:
Well-adjusted pets may remain shy, but some individuals learn to accept food from feeding tongs. They do not, however, take well to disturbances or brightly-lit terrariums.

Western Slimy Salamanders should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Their skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

A pair of Western Slimy Salamanders can be kept in a 15 gallon aquarium; larger tanks can support small groups. However, they appear to be territorial, especially when breeding, and so must be watched carefully.

A mix of moist topsoil and sphagnum moss, topped by dead leaves, makes a good substrate. Cork bark rolls or plastic caves serve well as retreats. Live plants will lessen the need for substrate changes. A shallow bowl of chlorine/chloramine free water should always be available. Western Slimy Salamanders do best at 55-70 F, and are stressed by sustained temperatures over 75 F.

Earthworms are ideal as the bulk of a Western Slimy Salamander’s diet. Small roaches, sow bugs, crickets, blackworms, butterworms, calciworms and other commercially-available invertebrates will be readily accepted. Mealworms have been implicated in digestive system disorders, and should be avoided. Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.

Captive breeding has not been documented. Wild females guard their 6-20 eggs, which are deposited in sheltered sites on land, and appear to return to the same nest sites each season. Hatchlings skip the aquatic larval stage, and appear as fully-formed replicas of the adults.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

Western Slimy Salamander Health Tip

Western Slimy Salamander

From Casingda Jul 25 2015 9:47PM


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