One of the main questions asked about Salamanders is how long they live. If you’re looking to own a Salamander as a pet, knowing this information will help to set your expectations and help you prepare ahead of time. In doing so, it will help you to give them the best care that you possibly can. I decided to conduct some research into a range of Salamander species and their average lifespans. I’d like to share this information with you here today.
So, How long do salamanders live? The average lifespan of salamanders ranges from 5 to 25 years depending on the species. Salamanders in captivity typically do not live as long as Salamanders in the wild, as it mimicking the environment proves a challenge to owners and Salamanders are highly sensitive to any alterations in their environment.
One small cave salamander called the Olm and nicknamed the “human fish” (because of his humanish skin tone) broke the world’s record for the longest-living amphibian, according to one study – for having lived over 100 years.
This longevity is an incredible feat considering its tiny size of just 20 grams, but it has caused experts to question what promotes longevity in these reptiles.
While the fascinating longevity of the Olm is impressive, most other Salamanders will not reach this age. In fact, pet salamanders are susceptible to live a much shorter lifespan.
Let us now take a closer look at how long Salamanders are expected to live in captivity. We will then look at ways that owners can increase the likelihood of their Salamander living a longer, healthier life.
How long Do Salamanders Live In Captivity?
Pet Salamanders can live anywhere from 5-25 years on average. There are a lot of factors involved, whether this be the specific species, genetics, environmental conditions and of course external influences like bacteria, germs and illness.
There are few salamander species available in the pet market but we will discuss two of the most popular species of salamander routinely kept.
Let’s review the lifespan of the Tiger salamander and the Axolotl:
The Tiger Salamander
This species of salamander is highly sought after in the pet industry because they are attractive and low-maintenance.
The tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum ) is among the larger species of salamander that usually reaches up to 13 inches in length.
The average lifespan of the tiger salamander is 25 years, but they are known to live even longer if they are well cared for by their owners.
You must consider the developmental stage of the tiger salamander in regards to its environment.
If you purchase a tiger salamander at the larval stage, it will be entirely aquatic, so you must prepare for this in advance.
As these salamanders grow, they emerge from the water and need a shallow land area with only small water areas.
Adults require a 20-gallon tank at minimum, with a temperature between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to always keep the temperature below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
You must clean the tank frequently because these creatures produce a lot of waste which can cause the buildup and growth of harmful bacteria which can cause illness For for this reason, you must make sure that all accessories like hides are not permanent.
The tiger salamander loves food, so be sure to supply larvae with aquatic invertebrates like brine, shrimp, small fish, worms, and Daphnia. Adults require a diet consisting of earthworms, crickets, and a variety of other insects.
This species of salamander is very gentle, and it is tempting to want to handle them often. However, they have sensitive skin, so it is important not to do so.
The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum ) is a solely aquatic, robust salamander species native to cool water lakes in the southeast region of Mexico City.
This species ranges in length from about 7 to 9 inches and lives up to 20 years in captivity.
Regarding the aquarium size for the axolotl, it must be housed in at least a 10-gallon tank, if you are keeping one adult.
The temperature of the water must be between 56 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit; internal problems and skin disease occur when temperatures are too high or too low. Make sure the water’s PH is around 7.2.
This species prefers it’s food alive and will eat brine, shrimp, and daphnia. Some will eat koi pellets, catfish chow, and trout chow.
When housing more than one Axolotl, bear in mind that bigger individuals will chew on their smaller tank mates.
Best Ways To Ensure Your Salamander Lives A Long Life
Undoubtedly, salamanders make fascinating pets, and they thrive with high humidity.
It is worth noting that salamanders are highly sensitive to any alterations in their environment.
These creatures are not as widely known as other pets, which means that not everyone knows how to look after them properly.
Before bringing a salamander home, you must do some thorough research on how to care for a particular species.
If you are new to salamander pet ownership, it is advised not to get the rarest one, as they usually require extra maintenance. Its better to get a beginner species where more information is accessible and you can do all you can to ensure your pet lives it’s full predicted lifespan.
Review the following salamander care sheet to gain a better insight into how to care for your pet:
A salamander in captivity requires a home that mimics his natural habitat.
Salamanders require a damp enclosure with lots of hiding places.
The axolotl is an entirely aquatic species that needs to live in a tank of water. Keep temperatures between 56 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but it should never go beyond 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or it could cause health complications.
The substrate also requires attention, as terrestrial types can be harmed by ammonia-soaked soil or moss.
Salamanders are sensitive to the quality of water because they absorb water through their skin, so make sure to check for any changes in the water.
Reliable filtration is necessary for successfully keeping salamanders.
They are carnivorous and require a varied diet of earthworms, slugs, crickets, and other insects. Some species prefer to eat only live food, so you must make provisions for this.
Salamanders are nocturnal creatures and so must eat at night.
Make sure that you clean their enclosure every 2 to 3 months using hot water and a sponge.
If you are housing your Salamander in a glass tank/aquarium, you can also disinfect with a diluted Chlorhexidine solution and so so periodically. If there has been illness or disease than more thorough or regular cleaning may be required.
This is the solution to buy from Amazon when doing so. With using this ensure it is thoroughly washed out from the environment. Never use strong disinfectants either as remnants as these can harm your salamander.
Be sure to remove all of the old substrate and replace it with new and fresh substrate.
Handling must be kept at a minimum as salamanders have very delicate skin. Salamanders have very absorbent skin and natural oils and salts from human hands can cause a lot of harm to them. Additionally, any chemicals from products used on the hands, like lotions, can cause even more damage.
Moreover, most species of salamanders are poisonous. The skin is where toxins are stored and excreted. The toxicity varies per species but generally, younger salamanders are more toxic than adults.
Touching a Salamander is not harmful to humans, but there is a risk if the toxins are ingested. You must be sure to wash your hands every time you do touch them, and never to put your hands in your mouth, or near your eyes after contact. You need to be extra careful of the items within their environment, as these will likely carry the toxins too.
For this reason, you are advised to observe them more often than not, doing so from a safe distance.
Salamanders are intriguing reptiles; you might be surprised to learn that some species have four legs, some have two.
Some species have lungs, while some have gills, and others have neither- they are indeed very diverse.
Another interesting fact about these creatures is that they breathe through their skin.
Salamanders range in size most are 6 inches in length or even less; however, a giant salamander species exist and can grow up to 6 feet in length.
Salamanders are certainly “hands-off” as pets go, you must refrain from handling them, only doing so when it is necessary.
With that said, a salamander that is treated well by their owner will show his appreciation by behaving in a certain way. It may surprise you to learn that humans develop bonds with these aloof amphibians.
How long do salamanders live? We now know that they live anywhere between 5 to 25 years depending on the species, but they can exceed this with the right care.
You can keep a salamander as a pet. However, they will need special attention, consideration, and care due to their specific needs and requirements. It’s very important that you closely mimic salamanders’ wild habitat. Salamanders require a moist, damp habitat with ample places to hide. They need sufficient space and to be fed a specific diet.
Salamanders eat infrequently and you only need to feed salamanders 2-3 times per week. Different species and ages will have different feeding requirements. Land species will mostly eat insects, whereas aquatic salamanders will eat smaller water organisms like shrimp.
7-10 days is considered the most amount of time that a salamander can safely go without food. This is assuming they are fit and healthy, to begin with. Younger salamanders will require feeding more frequently.
No, Salamanders need access to water at all times. Salamanders live in both water and on land. Therefore if you are looking to keep a pet salamander you will need to provide access to water. Different species, like the Tiger Salamander, will spend more of their life on land, whereas other species like the Axolotl are purely aquatic.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.