Have you ever thought of getting a salamander as a pet? Don’t you just love looking at them while they move around the yard? If you enjoy watching them, maybe it is time you caught one and keep it in an aquarium.
Some may find it weird to have a salamander as a pet since it is not meant to be cuddled or handled like other animals such as dogs or cats. However, they can still make great pets even if all you do is watch them through an aquarium. If you think you are ready to keep one for yourself, all you need to do is try to catch them from your yard. If you have no idea how, here are some ways on how you can lure and catch them.
First, Let's Get to Know Salamanders Better
Before you go hunting them outside, it is best to know a thing or two about salamanders first. This will help you understand and take better care of them. Who knows, getting to know more about salamanders may somehow help you catch them easily as well.
Salamanders are harmless
Some may be afraid of how these amphibians look, but they are completely harmless as long as you handle them properly. They are mostly shy and can sometimes be a little sensitive. These unique creatures do not pose a threat to humans and other animals. However, you should always wash your hands after handling them and avoid touching your eyes or other parts of the body that has mucous membranes as it may cause irritation.
Not all salamanders are the same
Did you know that there are salamanders that have four legs while others only have two legs? Amazing right? Aside from their legs, they also differ in how they breathe. There are salamanders that use gills to breathe, while others use their lungs and some even breathe by their skin. They also come in different colors and some may even have spots.
They are nocturnal
Salamanders are more active during nighttime or when the weather is cool. It is also in the evening when they go out to find food. Throughout the day, they normally just hide on trees and rocks to keep fresh and cool. Now you know, when is the best time to catch one.
They know how to protect themselves from predators
There are different ways salamanders protect themselves from potential predators. Their bright-colored skin is a way to tell predators to back out. During a fight, most salamanders secrete a nasty tasting liquid or even poisonous fluid. Others fight by poking their ribs out of their skin to prick their enemies. Just like lizards, their tails can grow back again and others can even grow their limbs and injured organs after a fight.
Salamanders love meat
They prefer meat over plants. Their favorite food are slugs, worms, and snails. Bigger salamanders can eat tiny crustaceans, fish, frogs, insects, and mice. So, if you are going to take care of one, you now have an idea of what to feed them.
Their skin needs to be moist
Expect to see salamanders staying where there is a source of water close by as they need to have moist skin at all times. However, when it comes to their habitat, it will depend on the kind of salamander. Those that have lungs or gills usually stay in the water while there are some that stay on land. Salamanders that stay on land normally have bumpy and dry skin.
Offspring and life span
Unlike humans that need to carry their child for nine months, salamanders get pregnant for only a couple of days. Most of them lay eggs, but it is also possible for some to have live offspring. Compared to other animals or pets, salamanders live longer. Some can live more than 50 years.
How to Catch a Salamander
Now that you know more about salamanders, you basically have an idea on how to catch and take care of them. The next thing to do is to catch one, and here’s a guide to help you capture a salamander the right way.
Prepare Your Trapping Equipment
It is easier to set a trap when all your equipment and tools are complete and ready whenever you need them. There are several ways to capture a salamander, most people use a trap while other prefer catching one by themselves. Whichever you prefer, you still need to prepare your tools and materials to effectively capture them.
Here are the materials you need to set up a trap:
- Aluminum window or wide screen that you will use for the cylinders
- Fiberglass screening to be used for the funnels
- A small rope or string
- Scissors and utility knife
- Stapler and 1000 staples
- Light bulb or glow stick attracts amphibians like a salamander or newt
- Fish net and a jar that has a lid and water in it. This option is if you want to capture a salamander. Also ensure that the lid has holes in it. This will allow salamander to breathe inside the closed jar.
Create a Funnel Trap
Once you have collected and prepared all the materials needed, it is time to build a funnel trap. There are funnel traps that are available in the market, however not all of them may be effective and it would still be best to make one yourself. Besides, this can be a fun activity that you can do with your kids.
- Using your scissors cut the aluminum window screening in a rectangular shape to create a cylinder.
- Roll the aluminum window screening to make a cylinder, the length should be around 18 inches with a diameter of 8 inches. Make sure to leave at least 1 inch lip above the cylinder. You can do this by holding the end of the cylinder and rolling it to the other end point.
- Using your stapler, staple the screening lip. This will hold the lip and cylinder together.
- Get the fiberglass screening and cut two funnels. Allow at least 9 inches for the wide end and about 1 3/4 inches to the narrow end. Do this for both funnels. Get the wide ends of the funnels and roll it over the outside brim of the cylinder. Using the stapler, staple every 1/2 inch.
- Get your string or small rope and attach it to the lip. 30 inches should be enough length. Attach the string to the two ends of the aluminum lip with a duct tape.
Set the Trap in the Amphibians Habitat
Once you are done with your funnel trap, you are now ready to set the trap in their habitat. It is important to know where salamanders live so you know exactly where to place your trap. The time of year is another factor to consider as most salamanders may take retreat during winter.
Just like any amphibian, a salamander would live near a water source like a pond, swamp, or a any stagnant water. If you want to capture a salamander during winter, it’s best to place a trap close to the bottom of a pond. However, during summer or spring you can place the funnel traps in wooded areas and burrows, but be sure that they are also near bodies of water that are stagnant.
Check the Trap
Wait for at least 24 hours before checking the traps you’ve set up. When checking, be sure to always bring a container with you. It can be a jar or small plastic bag where you can put the salamander you’ve caught. If your trap is still empty just leave the trap again and go back to check after 24 hours. Now, don’t be surprised if you see other species or reptiles inside your trap. Just set them free into the wild again.
Capturing a Salamander Using a Net
As mentioned earlier, you can capture a salamander using a net. Some people find this more fun and exciting than setting out traps. They also don’t need to go through the process of creating a funnel trap. When capturing a salamander with a net, you would want to do this in the evening when they are active.
Since it can be dark at night, you need an outdoor light or a glow stick. This will not only help you see through the dark but the light can also work as a bait to attract the salamanders. Since you’ll be walking through bodies of water, like a stream or pond, wear waders or waterproof pants.
Bring the net into the water in a downward angle going to the bottom and pull it up to check if you were able to get one. Repeat the process until you have successfully captured a salamander. Take your jar or plastic bag and transfer your captured salamander inside it.
Check the Salamander’s Condition
Before bringing your captured salamander, check its condition first to make sure it’s healthy and is not carrying any disease. This is important so that it will not die under your care, otherwise it will spread diseases to your other salamanders if you already have some at your house. To find out if the salamander you caught is healthy, here are some things to look out for:
- It is not bloated
- Eyes are alert and clear
- Bones are not visible on areas like hip, abdominal, and ribs
- There is no inflammation or secretion
- Skin has no discoloration or scratches and cuts
Once you are sure that you’ve caught a healthy salamander, it is now time to take your new pet to its new house.
Taking Care of Your Salamander
Once you’ve brought home your captured salamander, keep them away from your other salamanders for a couple of weeks. Quarantining them ensures that they won’t pass any diseases to your other pets.
As much as possible, avoid holding them. You may not be aware that you are already harming them by just simply handling or touching them. If you do want to touch them, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and rinse out any soap residues.
After a few weeks of quarantine and you are confident that you trapped a healthy salamander, you can now transfer it along with other salamanders or to a new aquarium.
Ensure that your aquarium is clean. If you have multiple salamanders, make sure it is big enough to accommodate all of them. Place the aquarium with a source of sunlight and clean it regularly.
You can use a filter so you don’t have to change the water often. When cleaning the aquarium, be sure to transfer your salamanders to a different container and rinse it thoroughly. You would want to avoid harming your salamanders because of residues.
Aside from giving them a clean habitat, you also need to feed them. They love to eat meat and the amount of food you need to serve will depend on their size. The bigger they are, the larger prey they need. Some food they love to eat are frogs, mice, crickets, spiders, earthworms, slugs, and fish.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get a salamander out of your house?
If you want salamanders out of your house and property, laying some glue traps will do the work. You should also treat your yard with insecticide to repel them and get rid of their food.
Does touching a salamander kill it?
Touching salamanders won’t kill them instantly. However, as much as possible, try to avoid touching them unless you are protecting them from harm. Salamanders have moist skin that can be very absorbent. If your hands have lotions, salts, or oils, it may cause serious damage to their health.
How do you find salamanders in your yard?
Salamanders love staying in areas that are near stagnant water, so if you have still water in your property or yard, that’s the best place to search for salamanders. Check out under rocks or leaves and you may find at least one salamander hiding in there.
How do you catch salamanders and newts?
You can catch a salamander or newts by trapping them using a funnel trap or by catching them in action with a net.
Are you ready to search for your new pet now? We do hope that the tips mentioned above will be helpful in catching a salamander. As long as you have a bait to lure them and you know which areas of your property to explore, you’ll soon be able to see a salamander in your traps. Just remember, this kind of animal loves wet places and are nocturnal, so your best chance to get them is to place your traps near water and during the night.