Slimy Friends by Your Side: Why You Should Have a Salamander

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Children's Book | 0 comments

Photo by Yuri Meesen

Elaine Vanderberg’s Sammie the Sad Salamander is a fascinating fellow, but did you know that having salamanders as pets means having slimy friends by your side?

While there are flashier reptilian pets out there, salamanders have a unique air of their own. Charming and captivating, their delicate forms and fascinating lifestyles have the potential to win lots of hearts! While they are certainly not for everyone, these intriguing amphibians can thrive as slimy friends for the right owner. Of course, before diving into the world of pet salamanders, it’s best to explore if they are for you. So, consider their suitability, their needs, their qualities, and what makes them stand out before you make your decision to have these slimy friends as pets.

Consider the Salamander

Unlike the aloof cuddliness you will find in cats or the heart-warming loyalty of dogs, salamanders are not really your typical “play” pets. Sure, there are plenty of novel and engaging ways to interact with them, but they have very specific, often complex, needs. They need to be cared for in the right way, and they are most often best observed rather than handled. So, here’s a reality check before you decide you want slimy friends:

  1. If you want these slimy friends, then you should be prepared for very limited physical interactions with them. Because of their sensitive skin and propensity to stress out after being handled, salamanders require a hands-off approach. Most interactions with salamanders are limited to simply admiring their exotic behaviors.
  2. Unlike a lot of pets, salamanders are very long-lived, living 10-20 years. These slimy friends demand long-term responsibility and a commitment to life
  3. Because of their unique reptilian physiology, salamanders need specialized care. You have to consider the humidity and temperature of their homes. Their diet and enrichment needs must also be meticulously met.
  4. Different species of salamanders require different needs. Therefore, research is crucial to meet these diverse requirements. Extensive research on your chosen species is essential.

Taking Care of Your Slimy Friends 

If you’re a curious, patient individual who thrives on providing meticulous care, a salamander might be the perfect companion. Their low-maintenance nature, quiet presence, and captivating behaviors offer a unique pet experience.

With over 600 species, salamanders offer a diverse range of appearances and lifestyles. Some popular pet choices include:

  • Tiger Salamanders: Hearty and relatively easy to care for, these terrestrial salamanders exhibit fascinating regenerative abilities.
  • Axolotls: Aquatic wonders with external gills and the ability to remain neotenic (retaining larval features). 
  • Fire Salamanders: Strikingly colored and terrestrial, they possess a mild toxin, requiring careful handling.
  • Spotted Salamanders: Aquatic during the breeding season and terrestrial the rest. They come in various colors and patterns.

Regular cleaning and monitoring of water quality, temperature, and humidity are crucial.

Diet varies depending on the species. Most salamanders are insectivores, requiring a diverse range of live prey like crickets, earthworms, and bloodworms. Some larger species may eat small fish or amphibians. Ensure the prey size is appropriate to avoid choking hazards.

For the right owner, salamanders offer a unique and rewarding pet experience. Their quiet presence, fascinating behaviors, and connection to the natural world provide a captivating window into the wonders of amphibian life. 

Remember, meticulous care, ethical sourcing, and a commitment to their well-being are essential for ensuring these captivating creatures thrive in your care and become your slimy friends.

Elaine Vanderberg’s Sammie the Sad Salamander is available in all major online bookstores and is a wonderful entry to knowing more about these wonderful critters.


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