These pets are amphibians, just like frogs and toads, but belong to the caudate order because of their long tails. There is almost no difference between salamanders and newts, although there are three types and some people call strictly aquatic or strictly terrestrial salamanders and newts those that live on land all fall and winter to return to the water to breed in the spring. Here we will call them all salamanders.
Both are native to the Americas and temperate zones of Africa. They are often confused with lizards, but differ in that they have soft, moist skin, no scales or claws, and lack a middle ear. Their larvae are very similar to tadpoles.
Most salamanders and their larvae are carnivorous, feeding on insects or small invertebrates; large adults may eat fish, frogs and other salamanders. Larvae begin to devour small aquatic animals around them as soon as they hatch. Salamanders are very quiet and secretive animals, with nocturnal habits. During the day they hide under logs and damp leaves.
The habitat of these animals depends on the type of salamander involved:
- an aquarium with a gravel bottom with a slight slope and completely covered with water for the aquatic species.
- Half land and half water, with a slope in the form of a ramp that allows you to easily enter and exit the water
- A totally terrestrial environment, but with a high degree of humidity (at least 50%) and branches for tree species.
As for heating, this depends on the salamander’s natural habitat. Those from temperate climates do not require their terrarium to be heated as long as the temperature in the room remains stable. Those originating from tropical and subtropical climates do require heat, especially in places where the temperature drops a lot during the night. It is very convenient to use a submersible heater, as it heats the water and also raises the humidity in the terrarium by evaporation. The terrestrial part can be heated with light bulbs, but remember that there should be no light during the night. Be careful that the lamps do not heat the environment too much, as this will kill the plants and dry out the air. Salamanders need a temperature gradient inside the vivarium, with a warm zone and a cooler zone, in order to regulate their body temperature. It is also advisable to lower the temperature by 5 to 7°C during the night.
As nocturnal animals, salamanders do not need special lighting, but light during the day is important for their internal rhythm and for the plants. Light cycles are critical if you plan to breed your pet.