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Rescued something ID help

Discussion in 'Salamanders & Newts' started by BlackJack, Nov 8, 2007.

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  1. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm guessing this little guy is some kind of "fire salamander" because of his orange belly but I can't seem to find any pics on the internet that tell me exactly what he is.
    I found him this morning in my cellar stuck in a dusty spider web all dried out. I thought he was dead, but I picked him up and he moved a bit, so I put him into a tuppaware box with a damp paper towel and misted the sides.
    I had to run to work, but just got home now and he's definitely perked up a bit. I was going to get some tiny flies or something to offer him before releasing him into the woods somewhere.
    (I assume the little thing is indigenous to Switzerland, but he seems SOOOOOOO tiny and helpless: I don't know how he got into the cellar. But I hope he can survive the winter if I put him out. -- I think it's illegal to keep him, but he would've died if I hadn't done something!
    Can anyone (Matt, maybe) give me an exact ID?
    I'm calling him "Phoenix" for now.
    The ball point pen is for scale
    [​IMG]
    Belly:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

  3. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Yea I pretty much found the same ones, lol. It is a cutie.
     
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    love that belly!
     
  5. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Thanks everyone. The woman at the reptile shop said it's a baby fire salamander (apparently they turn black with yellow spots as adults???????)
    She gave me some fruit flies and pin-head crickets.
    I put him in a glass terri with moist terrarium soil, a lid with water and the flies and crickets.
    Tomorrow afternoon or Saturday, I'll take him to the forest and let him go near a creek. He sure is a cutie, though!
     
  6. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    ID discovered

    Martin found out!! :D
    Little "Phoenix" is an Alpine Newt (T. alpestris alpestris.)
    (Not a fire salamander)!
    I'll have to read more info about him and what his needs are. Martin thinks he's too little to be put out in the forest (it's supposed to snow here tomorrow). So we might try to keep him till spring ???
    He seems really active and lively now, so I am happy about that. He was pretty dried out and dead this morning!!
     
  7. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Good job Andrea and Martin. Cant wait so see pics of him perked up :)
     
  8. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Awesome Andrea. If there is snow in your forcast I would highly recommend keeping him until spring. As long as you can get a food source for him until then he should be just fine. I'm willing to bet all of his species are already in brumation in your area and if it's cold enough for snow I really doubt he'd make it in the wild. Good thing he was in YOUR basement !!!!!
     
  9. travisgecko...

    travisgecko... Elite Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    is it a he or a she? you should post some pictures of his terrarium and when he "perks up"
     
  10. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    how cute! good luck with him/her! :)
     
  11. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Ken: that was Martin's impression too; that most of the other newts would have found their winter hideouts and our little guy won't make it if I put him out in the snow.
    Just so you all know: I'm VERY new to the lizard/amphibian world. From what I've read, the male Alpine newts have thinner bodies and more of a deep orange belly. The females have more yellow bellies and are fatter. So I'm guessing he's a male. (Although another website says that depends on the color of the food they eat.)
    Either way (surprise) the woman at the reptile shop gave me completely wrong info and the wrong food! (At least she was nice enough to give it to me for free!!!) ;)
    Apparently I should be feeding him worms: "Juveniles and larvae can be fed Artemia (brine shrimp), tubifex, chyronomid larvae (bloodworms), daphnia, cyclops and Enchytraeus (white worms)."
    Aside from brine shrimp, I've never heard of any of these, so I'll have to see where I can get those things.
    Also, they don't recommend keeping them on soil: but gravel and 1/2 water 1/2 land or all water (?!) with some little floating things to climb on.
    (Suddenly springtime seems VERY VERY far away!!)
    I'll do my best, though. Wish us luck!! :)
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Andrea the feeders you mentioned (with the possible exception of whiteworms which I am not familiar with) are all feeders used in the tropical fish hobby.
     
  13. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    LOTS of pics

    Thanks Merlin!!
    Martin and I are going to head over to the tropical fish store soon and see about setting up a better home and more appropriate food for our refugee.
    With the close-up photos Martin just took, I'm tempted to say he's a she now (as I read the females have a more granular skin texture and the males a more velvety texture.)

    She's really a tough and lively little critter!! She climbed up and down my arm like she was determined and in a hurry to get some place. :)

    OK here are the pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Cool how they have 4 toes on the front feet and 5 on the back.

    [​IMG]

    Got places to go...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    More pics

    Just a few more:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think I'll try to let her go in the forest if the weather is a bit warmer tomorrow. Honestly I'm a bit out of my element as far as taking care of her. She doesn't seem to like staying in the water: I'm not sure she's eaten any of the pinhead crickets or the flies or if she'll eat the brine shrimp that I just put in.
    I'd hate to have come this far just to watch her die in my care... one guy online says he puts his in the refridgerator for the winter!! (So maybe it's OK to let her go. My fridge is still colder than outside at the moment!!)

    She's so lively and active today compared to being dried up and half dead yesterday, so I'm happy about that.
    I'll let you know what we decide and take pics of the release area, etc.
    Thanks for looking.

    Oh, by the way, we changed her name to "Newt" after the tough little girl in the movie "Aliens" :D
     
  15. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Cute little "Newt".
     
  16. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    lol, I love the name :D As already figured out, she's an Alpine newt, Mesotriton alpestris alpestris (you even got the subspecies :) ). The genus was formerly known as Triturus before it was split, or it still is Triturus and there's no such genus as Mesotriton, depending on who you ask.

    Your newt is a juvenile, so it will be hard to properly sex her, but "she" sounds reasonable for now :) If you're thinking of letting her go she may fair well. They will hibernate during the winter, which is possibly what she thought she was going to do in your cellar. If you do keep her, keeping alpine newts is very similar to keeping Spanish ribbed newts, which Paige has posted several threads about. If you search HC for "Paige" you should find about 2 pages of threads and it's easy to pick out the newt ones.
     
  17. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Thanks for the info, Matt!! :)
    My husband and I are still a bit at odds about whether to let her go now or not. He thinks it's too cold (5-8C) and "Newt" won't find a hibernating place in time. If we do let her go, should I place her IN the creek, next to it on the bank, or somewhere else?? Any ideas???
    I'm just worried that we don't know enough about keeping her alive till springtime. I'll check out Paige's threads before making any decisions.
     
  18. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Newts do prefer cooler temperatures, but that does seem a bit chilly. I'm not sure how active they still are in their native range at that temperature, or if they'd be looking for a place to hibernate or if they should already have one by that time. If you do keep her though, I would put more emphasis on land than what most caresheets will suggest because she is still a juvenile. Adult newts are almost solely aquatic, but juveniles spend most of their time on the forest floor in the leaf litter. Keep her habitat cool and provide litter for her to hide in on the land side. She'll likely spend most of her time there. If she doesn't eat, it's likely because she's expecting winter to come and is confused by a sudden increase in temperature and food. The only other option I can think of would be to let her hibernate under your care. I believe Ken has more experience with hibernating salamanders/newts than I do.
     
  19. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Thanks again Matt.
    We have her in our "winter-garden" now. (It's always about 10-12C in there in winter.)
    I guess I'll set her up with some gravel, soil, a water bowl and dried leaves and keep her in there for the winter.
    Will that be cold enough for her to hibernate that I don't have to worry about feeding?
     
  20. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Re: Rescued something ID help!

    Andrea, I have a marbled salamander that I actually allow to hibernate each year. We place hime in a 20 gallon long with a few inches of damp moss and dirt, on top of which about 6-8 inches of leaf litter. We then place it outside in the shed, with a shallow water dish on top of the leaf litter. Every spring he emerges to the top and we go back to his (summer lodgings). This might work for you if you can keep it in the basement, providing the basement does not drop below 40 degrees F. Just add a few small earthworms to the mix in case he does get hungry.
     
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