Questions for Bruce: What Should I Feed My Salamander?

1st Jul 2021

Questions for Bruce: What Should I Feed My Salamander?

Bruce’s Recommendations for Feeding Your Pet Salamander

Dan from Mentor asked: “We just brought home our new tiger salamander. He is just a few months old and recently lost his gills, so we have mainly been feeding him earthworms and some other small insects. Can you offer any ideas on what else he can eat?”

Bruce’s Answer: Congratulations on your new pet, Dan. The tiger salamander is a great choice. If you take good care of him, as I’m sure you will, he will keep you entertained for many years to come. Of course, I’m more than happy to share some ideas for what to feed your salamander! Let’s talk first about general considerations when feeding captive salamanders.

According to Britannica, there are more than 740 species of amphibians with tails that fall into the category of salamanders. With so many different types of salamanders and newts, it is easy to understand why each species will have unique characteristics and feeding needs. Along with his exact species of salamander, your pet’s age is also important. Feeding a baby salamander is a lot different than feeding an adult.

Salamanders are laid as eggs in water. When they are born, they have gills to help them survive in their aquatic environment. In the larva stage, a baby salamander in the wild will feed on small microorganisms in the pond water, such as mosquito larvae and small worms. In captivity, a baby salamander should be fed aquatic invertebrates like brine shrimp or small fish and insects. As your salamander grows into its adult form—usually around 2 months of age—he will lose his gills, and his diet will become primarily insects.

The most popular salamander species for pets include the tiger salamander, the eastern red-backed salamander, and the fire salamander. The good news is that adult tiger salamanders, such as yours, are usually enthusiastic and willing eaters—no picky eaters in their club!

Adult salamanders should eat a well-balanced diet including a variety of insects. Try not to feed your salamander a diet heavy in one particular kind of insect, such as waxworms. Some species of salamander, including the tiger salamander, are prone to obesity. Because waxworms are so high in fat, they should be served as an occasional treat rather than a primary food source.

Other feeder insect options for your salamander include:

  • Mealworms: A tender, buttery insect rich in vitamins A and B
  • Superworms: Lively and fast-moving insects that are easy to digest
  • Dubia roaches: A nutritious alternative to crickets

Top Feeder Insects for Salamanders

Give Your Pet a Healthy and Delicious Diet

If you are planning to bring home a new pet salamander, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian about your species’ unique care needs, including his diet. The team at ABDragons is also more than happy to answer any questions about the best feeder insects for your pet.

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