When looking for a potential new pet, you may be wondering about your options within the exotic category. What about Salamanders? Can these Amphibians be kept as pets and would it be worthwhile to do so? Are they easy to look after, a joy to keep, and is there anything you need to be aware of? Here is what you should know.
So, can you keep a salamander as a pet? You can keep a salamander as a pet. They generally make great pets and can live for a minimum of 6-10 years as long as you take proper care of them. You will need to consider their unique needs and preferences and ensure you optimize their habitat, diet, and refrain from handling them.
Keeping a species like a Salamander sounds exciting, but some research is going to be required upfront before you adopt one.
Let’s find out more about these amazing amphibians and how you can keep them safe, and enjoyably as pets.
Do Salamanders Make Good Pets?
Salamanders are generally considered good pets to keep. While this will vary depending on the exact species you keep, your expectations as an owner, and individual factors like their individual temperateness and personalities, many owners are satisfied and enjoy looking after them.
They are entertaining and live long lives compared to other small lizards, and you can expect at least 6-10 years when you keep them in your care.
Salamanders, however, are not the petting type and are not a pet that you will be able to routinely or regularly handle. In fact, you should refrain completely from doing so.
In fact, Salamanders are actually poisonous; they secrete toxins through their skin. If you were to ingest these toxins, they can cause severe illness and even death (depending on the species and age – juveniles are generally more toxic than adults).
Poisoning can occur after handling and then rubbing the eyes or placing the hands in the mouth – so you need to be very careful with the species you keep and how you look after them.
Beyond this, Salamanders have very absorbent skin. Any oils and salts on human hands can easily soak into them and cause them serious harm.
Chemicals and oils including natural skin oils, sunblock, and lotions are some of the main ones to look out for. Skin damage, skin infections, along with bone and muscle injuries can occur in your Salamander if handled.
Wearing appropriate gloves, like these ones on Amazon, are important if handling is required to protect yourself from poison and your Salamanders skin at the same time.
There are other important factors that you should know about owning a salamander. They are an exotic species and, although they resemble lizards, which are reptiles, salamanders are amphibians.
Salamanders’ dimensions typically range from 3 to 13 inches long, depending on the species.
The most common species kept in captivity are the: Marbled Salamander, Fire Salamander, Slimy Salamander, and Tiger Salamander.
All species have a good nature, and they tend to keep to themselves and won’t intentionally hurt their owners.
They are not interactive pets, but they have fascinating behaviors and traits that you can enjoy watching for hours.
They like to climb, swim and hide, so the habitat must offer them these conditions.
To prolong the life of your salamander it is vital that you provide them with the correct ambient and food.
You should know that they absorb water through their skin and this is why is crucial that they have quality water for good health.
If the water is polluted, with ammonia usually, it can lead to poisoning the salamander, due to the fact that he will absorb through skin this harmful pollutant.
So, the first thing you have to make sure of is that the water quality is high and in order to do so, you should provide a strong water filter, and ammonia test kits.
But we will talk more about this subject in the following section.
As we mentioned earlier, salamanders require special conditions for a healthy, long life.
Let’s find out more about what you must provide for your salamander.
What Do You Need For A Pet Salamander?
You should pay attention to several different aspects when you decide to own a salamander.
I’ve gathered information below about what you will need if you decided to get a pet salamander:
You should mimic their natural habitat. Salamanders usually live in cool, moist, damp surroundings, with many places they can hide.
They are cold blood animals and need an optimum temperature for proper health.
Most species found in captivity live in a terrarium, a sealable glass container that has a substrate (or soil), and places to hide.
However, they are certain species that live in semi-aquatic tanks or even aquatic tanks.
Therefore, you need to research first about your species of salamander and what tank they will require.
The size of the terrarium depends on the species you own and how much it will grow in adulthood.
For the average size of salamanders, the usual size of the terrarium is 24x16x18 inches. This is an excellent example of a terrarium to get on Amazon.
The terrarium temperature should be around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit and you must place a thermometer in the tank for constant monitoring. This will also help you to adjust accordingly.
For certain species, such as the Fire Salamander, the temperature should not be above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere must be moist, but not soggy.
The tank must not be very wet, because Salamanders are prone to infections.
You should include a dish of water in the terrarium for the salamander, in which they will be able to drink and swim.
The water should be changed frequently or filtered through an aquarium filter.
On the terrarium floor, it is best to add moss or bark chips (for substrate) and to provide places in which the salamander can hide, such as little caves made of rocks or pieces of wood.
The tank must be cleaned regularly because they eat a lot and excrete a big amount of waste.
Without a regular cleaning schedule, this can cause odors and bacteria to develop and proliferate. If this gets out of hand it can lead to illness and disease.
You should do a small spot clean every week, whereby you remove the dirty substrate and replace it with fresh substrate.
Also, you should clean the terrarium at 2-3 months with warm water and mild soap. You mustn’t use disinfectants or other powerful cleaning solutions, because they can damage and harm the health of your salamander.
Salamanders must be fed at night because they are nocturnal. Depending on their age and the species will depend on how frequently they should be fed. On average, a salamander should be fed every 1-3 days.
These amphibians are carnivorous and do well on a diet that includes earthworms, slugs, beetles, crickets, and mealworms.
In their natural habitat, they have a varied diet. They respond very well to foods that move, so if you can, providing some living food would be ideal.
This will resemble their natural habitat and they will be very happy. You can feed them by hand or you can use tweezers.
It is important to keep their terrarium clean and remove any remains of the food immediately.
As mentioned previously, Salamanders should not be handled or held. If you do need to do so, this should be when doing so bring them more benefit than the harm you can cause them.
It is also a good idea to wear proper gloves too, to prevent their sensitive skin from soaking up the natural oil and salt from your hands. Failing to do so may result in skin issues and infections in your pet.
The best thing you can do is enjoy your salamander from a distance, and when is necessary to handle them, do so with appropriate utensils like a fishnet or gloves.
If you or a family member were to touch your salamander with their bare hands, it is imperative that hands are washed thoroughly afterward.
This will prevent the opportunity for the poison to be ingested which can be dangerous, especially to young children who are more likely to put their hands in their mouths and ingest the toxins.
As we stated previously, salamanders are not the petting type of pet and don’t need much interaction with their owner.
Salamanders are beautiful and exciting amphibians that require special conditions of living. They have fascinating behaviors that you will enjoy watching for hours.
They make great pets so long as you can take proper care of them and are fully aware of their own unique needs and preferences.
You should give them a proper terrarium, semi-aquatic, or even aquatic tank, depending on the species you choose.
You should provide them an environment that will resemble as much the natural habitat, making sure that the temperature and moisture are at optimal levels.
They are not interactive pets and they are best on their own; do not feel the need to touch them or socialize with them.
You should admire your salamander from distance and handle them as little as possible – even with gloves or utensils! Remember, you can hurt them in doing so!
If you provide them with live food, they will be more than happy and have a preoccupation that will make them feel as if they are within their natural habitat.
They make good pets and if you desire one that is not dependent on you as their owner, the salamander is one of the best choices that you can make.
Different species of Salamander will have different life expediencies and will live for a different amounts of time. However, the average Salamander will live between 10-30 years old. Salamanders kept in captivity are likely to live a shorter life, most reaching 10-15 years at most. Wild Salamanders have been recorded to live up to 30 years. Salamanders kept in captivity generally live less time due to the difficulties in optimizing their environment and taking care of their needs.
Salamanders are unlikely to hurt their owners; they are shy and unlikely to attack or bite. However, salamanders are poisonous. They secrete toxins through their skin which you will come into contact with if you handle them. If you then were to ingest these toxins they can be harmful; with higher toxicity found in juvenile species. If you own a pet salamander it is important not to handle them, which can do damage to you and your salamander alike. Appropriate handling gloves can keep you both safe.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.