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Thread: Tiger salamander care

  1. #1
    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Tiger salamander care

    we got one yesterday, or may i say my other half couldn't leave those sad eyes in the store

    the thing is I don't know much about those guys other then general amphibian rules apply, he got some info from a pet store, but as always I don't really trust pet store advices so will be bugging you guys about that.
    so far I've found those
    Axolotls - Metamorphosed & Tiger Salamanders
    Caudata Culture Species Entry - Tiger salamander

    and now I have more question then before. anyone can direct me to trusted care sheet?

    or I will just keep asking

    We placed him/her in a 12x12x12 exo terra (the only one we had empty , substrate eco earth moist with dechlorinated water, a few plastic plants sticking out of substrate,a small hide that he fell in love right away and small water bowl, all those things we had laying around, so if anything needs to be changed pls let me know. He ate a few crickets, so apparently stress of going home and being in new environment haven't affected him much . the size of the tank seems acceptable for his size for now, he is may be 6" or 7" with the tail

    so first question - temp/humidity - where those should be? internet sources that I mentioned call for around 70F, doesn't say much about humidity.
    substrate - what is acceptable? can I use moss here in there in combination with main eco earth? or like for frogs it is impaction risk?
    hides - it looks like that he just love his, sitting in it right now, so I'm guessing they need those, am i right? what kind/type would you recommend or whatever he can fit in is fine?
    light? uvb is not needed, but some light for day/night cycle is needed, is it right? how long a day should be? all my other tanks are on 12/12 day/night cycle, same for salamanders?

    food ? what do they eat? crickets he hunted big time, roaches are illegal in Canada, I also have tons of nightcrawlers in our home all the time. what else is safe to feed? and how often?

    what size of the tank is recommended?

    water bowl? how big and deep? do they like to swim in there or just use as a toilet?
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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  3. #2
    KingCam
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Tiger salamanders are easy to care for, but I'd say a 12x12x12 is pretty small. A 20 gallon long would be more appropriate.

    You'll want to provide at least 4" of coco fiber, eco earth, or organic all natural soil mixed with sand. Tiger Salamanders belong to a class of salamanders known as Mole Salamanders, and they have that name for a good reason! You can probably use moss with no bad consequences if you are tong feeding. If there are bugs crawling around in there freely I would probably avoid moss, just in case your tiger gets a big mouthful trying to hunt.

    Provide a water bowl big enough for your tiger to submerge itself in and perhaps swim around a bit. They will swim if you give them the space to do so. They also spend a lot of time in the water around breeding season.

    70F is fine. Tiger salamanders will die if you overheat them. They like it cool, year round. Anywhere between 60-75F is perfect. 80F is way too hot.

    Humidity is not a concern as long as you keep their substrate somewhat moist. If they are feeling too dry they will simply soak in their water feature or burrow into deeper substrate to find moisture.

    For hides I just throw some old oak leaves and a few chunks of wood in there. They usually burrow into the substrate making the hides useless anyway, but I like to give them the option.

    They will eat anything that moves. Offer them crickets, roaches, and earth worms as a staple. A pinkie mouse every couple of months is supposed to make a nice treat, but I have never given any to my tigers. I would tong feed if I were you. Tigers are kinda dumb, most of your feeders will escape into the enclosure to hide forever instead of getting eaten if you don't tong feed. Plus, by tong feeding you make your salamander excited to see you every time you walk into the room Mine come out of their burrows when they hear/feel my footsteps coming into the room. It's awesome, like a welcoming party! :P

    Lightining is not necessary unless you're growing plants in their tank. Like you said, just enough ambient light for a day/night cycle will be fine. 12/12 should be fine also, or you can do summer hours of like 14/10 if you notice your tigers trying to brumate (12/12 is typically considered fall/winter hours.)

    Here is a little visual guide on putting together a false bottom tank with stuff you probably have laying around:



    ^ The tupperware containers are so I don't have to use as much hydroton. I drilled holes in the sides and bottoms of the tupperware containers to allow them to fill with water. The holes are barely visible in this photo.


    ^ Used hydroton to fill in the gaps, and rocks & gravel to hold stuff in place.



    ^ Time to make a divider to keep the substrate separate from the water. I chose this lid because of the pre-formed lip it has. I was hoping it would help keep the substrate from spilling into the water side.


    ^ Lined it with long fiber sphagnum to help prevent substrate from leaking into the water. Later I went back and drilled a bunch of tiny holes in the blue plastic for drainage (not pictured here).


    ^ Cover plastic divider in coco fiber or platation soil mixed with sand (organic, chemical free).


    Add plants.





    And done!!


    Here is another tiger salamander setup.



    Now with leaves added!


    Here are the two blotched tigers begging for food... again...


    I like to put duckweed and frogbit in my water sources. Looks more natural and awesome :P



    Good luck, your tiger is soon going to be your new favorite animal :P

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    WOW! thank you so much for this! it looks like I'm going shopping :lol: 20 gal long? I wonder what the measurements would be, 18x18 or 24x18 may be? see i can't do mesh top, the tanks are in a rack system and have to have front opening. 20 gal - is it for a baby, right? what would be size for adult then? I was thinking 42x18x18 - it is our standard size for bigger tanks, they fit nicely in a rack this way

    the one I have is eastern tiger, or so I was told and he is sitting in his hide right now, the hide looks like a log, may be that is why.
    i very much like the fact that no heating/spec lightening/ humidity control needed, all my other tanks with a few exceptions have so much stuff sticking in and out :lol:

    i will do tong feeding - that is my preferred method for other guys and tiger yesterday took cricket from hands, so I'm guessing tong feeding won't be a problem. no moss anyway, i don't like risk it when not necessary, even if tong feeding. roaches are illegal here, so will stick to crickets and worms- should it be earthworms or night crawlers - ok? same stuff but bigger? may be pieces when tiger is small? how small crickets/ worms should be?
    how often should I feed him? and how much? does 15min/everyday rule apply for them as well when they're babies what about older guys?

    anything else i can feed him- i should stay away from mealworms/superworms I'm assuming, but what about hornworms, silkworms, butterworms as a treat?

    also - you have 2 in a tank? are they communal and will mine be happier if to get him a company?

    how to sex them and when? i just like to know how to refer to him or her

    I don't know if that is WC or CB, it is small and it was imported from US, 6"-7" - how old he might be? how long do they live?

    P.S. sorry for an avalanche of questions, usually I get all the answers before I'm getting a new species, but since my other half apparently got his first addiction symptom yesterday, i had to say yes :lol: he will have less chances to say no to me now :lol: and since we need bigger tank for salamander now we'll need to get another rack, and this way we'll have more space for a new tanks! I'm loving it!
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    100+ Post Member rodsboys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    I am very surprised you were able to purchase it at the pet store as they are indigenous here. If you are not running live plants then ambient light is fine. It establishes a natural day/night cycle. They can live exclusively on the night crawlers. The crickets are a nice change of pace too. I would avoid any wild caught food. There are not many options in the stores here.
    A nice damp hide will do just fine. Room temperature in your basement is ideal. He will eventually need a bigger tank. A 12" X 24" footprint for 1 Tiger is fine, bigger is better.

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    100+ Post Member rodsboys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Great setup and nice looking tigers Cam. I started to post my measly reply and went and did some work, came back posted and saw that the two of you already posted a novel. lol

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    no, in Alberta you can't keep only western tiger as those are native, but eastern are legal, same goes for hognose snakes.
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

  9. #7
    KingCam
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    WOW! thank you so much for this! it looks like I'm going shopping :lol: 20 gal long? I wonder what the measurements would be, 18x18 or 24x18 may be? see i can't do mesh top, the tanks are in a rack system and have to have front opening. 20 gal - is it for a baby, right? what would be size for adult then? I was thinking 42x18x18 - it is our standard size for bigger tanks, they fit nicely in a rack this way
    I keep my two adult eastern tigers in a ~20 gallon which is 30" long and 12" wide. They seem perfectly content, though I would like to upgrade their tank some day. The other enclosure I sahred with you is a 108qt sterilite tub. Not sure the dimensions on it, but it's bigger than my 20 gal tank. A 42x18x18 would be total overkill for 1 tiger salamander, but I'm sure you won't see it complaining any about the extra space

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    the one I have is eastern tiger, or so I was told and he is sitting in his hide right now, the hide looks like a log, may be that is why.
    i very much like the fact that no heating/spec lightening/ humidity control needed, all my other tanks with a few exceptions have so much stuff sticking in and out :lol:
    That's why I love tigers. So easy to care for, but also loaded with personality & energy. They are definitely some of my favorite specimens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    i will do tong feeding - that is my preferred method for other guys and tiger yesterday took cricket from hands, so I'm guessing tong feeding won't be a problem. no moss anyway, i don't like risk it when not necessary, even if tong feeding. roaches are illegal here, so will stick to crickets and worms- should it be earthworms or night crawlers - ok? same stuff but bigger? may be pieces when tiger is small? how small crickets/ worms should be?
    how often should I feed him? and how much? does 15min/everyday rule apply for them as well when they're babies what about older guys?
    Hand feeding is great! If you use tongs make sure to get the rubber tipped ones. Tigers are voracious eaters and will injure themselves on metal tipped tongs. Go with nightcrawlers. I don't have any experience using the red wigglers worms, but I have heard reports from other tiger salamander owners that red wigglers are despised because of the nasty defensive yellow/white slime they produce. Earthworms are high in calcium, but crickets are not. Make sure you're dusting with calcium/D3 powder when you use crickets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    anything else i can feed him- i should stay away from mealworms/superworms I'm assuming, but what about hornworms, silkworms, butterworms as a treat?
    I don't know about hornworms or those others you mentioned, but I can't imagine it would be an issue to feed them off as treats. You are correct about mealworms, if I were you I would just pretend those don't even exist. They are a substandard food choice and I never give them to any of my animals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    also - you have 2 in a tank? are they communal and will mine be happier if to get him a company?
    Yes they are communal. As far as being happier with a mate? I have no idea, I have never managed to get my tigers to speak to me about the matter in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    how to sex them and when? i just like to know how to refer to him or her
    Oh their sex will be QUITE obviouse once they hit sexual maturity (which could take up to 2 years after leaving the water, or as soon as 6 months.

    Mature Male:







    Mature Female (or less likely an immature male, I'm not an expert at this, lol)





    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    I don't know if that is WC or CB, it is small and it was imported from US, 6"-7" - how old he might be? how long do they live?
    I'm really not sure on that. They can morph from the water at different ages/sizes based on water conditions. Not sure on the lifespan either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    P.S. sorry for an avalanche of questions, usually I get all the answers before I'm getting a new species, but since my other half apparently got his first addiction symptom yesterday, i had to say yes :lol: he will have less chances to say no to me now :lol: and since we need bigger tank for salamander now we'll need to get another rack, and this way we'll have more space for a new tanks! I'm loving it!
    haha, very nice!!! No worries on the questions, we've all made impulse buys I bet your whole next rack ends up being tiger salamanders :P

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  11. #8
    KingCam
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Quote Originally Posted by rodsboys View Post
    Great setup and nice looking tigers Cam. I started to post my measly reply and went and did some work, came back posted and saw that the two of you already posted a novel. lol
    lol sorry :P I'm pretty good at making drawn out, long winded walls of text XD

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    thank you so much guys! that is why I love this forum, it is safe to go for impulse buys sometimes as you know you'll have all your questions covered! i think I'll have more questions, usually i do :lol: but yes I do love him/her, amazing creature and i have it only for less then 24 hours

    would you please reply to this too
    "how small crickets/ worms should be?
    how often should I feed him? and how much? does 15min/everyday rule apply for them as well when they're babies what about older guys?"

    with frogs i know it is not really possible to overfeed them if you go for proper staple, how about salamanders?
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

  13. #10
    KingCam
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    thank you so much guys! that is why I love this forum, it is safe to go for impulse buys sometimes as you know you'll have all your questions covered! i think I'll have more questions, usually i do :lol: but yes I do love him/her, amazing creature and i have it only for less then 24 hours

    would you please reply to this too
    "how small crickets/ worms should be?
    how often should I feed him? and how much? does 15min/everyday rule apply for them as well when they're babies what about older guys?"

    with frogs i know it is not really possible to overfeed them if you go for proper staple, how about salamanders?
    Ah, sorry I missed that one. Tiger salamanders eat like they are starving most of the time. I feed mine daily until I feel like they've had enough, lol. Usually 3-5 roaches or a couple of large night crawlers. Females will eat more than males, and often look more blimp shaped. If you notice your tiger getting obese (rolls under the chin, on the legs, etc) just cut back on feeding. Perhaps smaller portion sizes or feed every other day instead.

    If you fed a tiger as much as it would eat in 15 minutes it would probably explode, they are like bottomless pits. Every once in a while I will let my tigers pig out and eat as much as they will eat before going back to their hide. My female's record is 12 full sized lobster roaches in one sitting.

    Size won't matter much. As long as the feeder isn't bigger than your tiger's mouth there will be no issue. My tigers have eaten adult dubia roaches that are nearly larger than their head with no complications, but I wouldn't reccommend doing that regularly.

    My male eastern tiger hides pretty much all day and most of the night sometimes. When I walk into my animal room I go by and tap on each of the tiger's tanks. Whichever ones come out get fed. Any that stay burrowed will go without food that day. I kinda just let them decide when they want to come out for food. Sometimes they get fed twice a day, sometimes they go 3 days without food. Just kinda depends on their mood and mine.




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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    thank you Cam! i like your approach to feeding, will do the same
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    100+ Post Member rodsboys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    no, in Alberta you can't keep only western tiger as those are native, but eastern are legal, same goes for hognose snakes.
    You are allowed to keep the blotched tiger sal here, you can not sell or buy it though. There has been talk of the law being tightened up over the past couple of years though. As far as I know you are correct that other morphs are allowed in the pet industry. If you get a chance to do the Calgary or Edmonton reptile shows you can often find some of the other morphs available.

    Cam- Love the feeding vid!

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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Tony, are you sure? I've heard a talk that laws are for not having anything native kept at homes, but if you can - i wonder if you can also keep western hognose that I'm dying to have for so long, when i can just get one from ontario or somewhere else, i better check it out before i got hopes up :lol:
    I haven't been to Edmonton shows, but Red Deer and Calgary ones are really disappointing if you came to see and get frogs or anything but bp, boas, corns or cresties or spiders say last red deer only one person from edmonton had frogs and he had 2 pacmans, 1 pixie and very sad looking white and tomato, both WC never noticed salamanders, cos never been really interested in, BUT now.... I'm just loving this little one, it is amazing how such a tiny creature can win you over so fast.
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    100+ Post Member rodsboys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Did some digging:

    It is legal to possess red-sided, wandering, and plains garters. It is illegal to sell or export them.

    It is legal to possess, sell, and export boreal toads, wood frogs, boreal chorus frogs, and blotched tiger salamanders.

    All other native herps are illegal to possess.

    Here is a link you can have a look at. Pretty sure the hognose is off limits as seen on the list of prohibited species.

    Part 5
    Non-game Animals

    Ambystoma macrodactylum (Long-toed Salamander)
    Bufo cognatus (Great Plains Toad)
    Scaphiopus bombifrons (Plains Spadefoot Toad)
    Bufo hemiophrys (Canadian Toad)
    Rana pretiosa [(Western) Spotted Frog]
    Chrysemys picta (Western Painted Turtle)
    Phrynosoma douglassi (Short-horned Lizard)
    Heterodon nasicus (Western Hognose Snake)
    Crotalus viridis (Prairie Rattlesnake)

    It appears that I was wrong about the blotched tiger sal though and wild caught specimens are not off limits in any way yet.



    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?pag...=9780779738540
    Last edited by rodsboys; October 26th, 2012 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Bad link

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    ;((((((( no hognose for me then

    thank you so much for the info.
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    can eastern sals can live with western sals? can different sized sals live together or like with frogs smaller ones can become food for bigger ones?
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

  23. #17
    KingCam
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    can eastern sals can live with western sals? can different sized sals live together or like with frogs smaller ones can become food for bigger ones?
    I think different sub species of tiger salamanders can live together without issue, but you probably better not take me at my word on that.

    I could see a very small tiger becoming a meal for a very large tiger, but it would have to be one heck of a size difference I would imagine.

    I keep my blotched tigers seperate from my easterns just because of the incredible size difference.

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    100+ Post Member rodsboys's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    The only reasons I would seperate them is because of a huge size difference. The "one is small enough to be eaten by another senario". OR if you are trying to breed them, you obviously would not want hybrids of the sub species though I am sure they occur in the wild where the sub species over lap.

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    no I'm not planning on keeping together just wondering thank you!
    by the way you were right! salamanders are amazing, getting out it's hide every time you pass by probably in hopes of getting food, but it is nice anyway
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiger salamander care

    hm... a question - how much food if enough? the guy eats 5 adult crickets one after another everyday and would probably eat some more if given, even for small sal it seems to be too much...

    s/he refuses pieces of nightcrawlers or any type of worms, dubia are illegal, so that leaves me with crickets for now, but will try to transition to nightcrawlers eventually.
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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