Posts Tagged ‘salamander’

Cabin (Sullivan County): Red Eft

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Choosing Inhabitants for a Vivarium

When we visited Shenk Park a few weeks ago we found a terrestrial salamander–a Redback Salamander in its leadback color phase.  Excitedly we placed him in our portable terrarium along with one measly brown leaf.  By the time we arrived home, he was dead.

I felt terrible.

On Friday we went to Shenk Park again.  This time I was more prepared.  I filled the portable terrarium with soil and added an ice cube.  As we hiked the ice cube melted resulting in cool, moist soil.  When we discovered another salamander–a Redback Salamander in its most common color phase.  She was brilliant!  Red-copper!  Upon returning home we placed our salamander in our vivarium and she immediately scurried off and hid amongst the rocks.  When night fell, she emerged.

Scurrying around the perimeter of the vivarium she looked happy as can be…slipping in and out of rocks, under and around obstacles.  “Goodnight Smyrtle,” we called.  We named her Smyrtle–Smyrtle Salamander.

This morning I found Smyrtle on the carpet.  Dead.  She had escaped the screen on top of the vivarium…

I imagine she died almost immediately.  As a lungless amphibian, the Redback Salamander is unable to survive in dry conditions.  The moment she hit the pile of the carpet I am sure she was tangled–in fact, she had carpet fibers stuck to her little body.  As a result, I am swearing off salamanders.  No more salamanders will be taken from their natural habitat only to die in our company.

Please consider choosing appropriate animals when building a vivarium–and definitely make sure your enclosure is secure.  We considered Smyrtle’s size and neither Michael nor I believed she could fit through the screen.  Well, she did.