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Bolitoglossa tail lossage & prevention (long)

Ellen Chernoff echernof at iupui.edu
Thu Jun 25 14:58:16 EST 1998

To the Bolitoglossa hobbyist,
     I only keep ambystomatid salamanders myself, but I do have a lot of
literature on husbandry of other salamanders.  There was a good article on
Bolitoglossa by a South American herpetoculturalist in one of the hobby
magazines (possibly the Reptilian, a British publication).  I could send you
a xerox copy if you like, just send me a snail mail address.  I do remember
that keeping them cool is important.  For my tiger salamanders I place a
frozen "cold pack" on top of the terrarium when my house it too warm.  The
water and substrate cool down nicely.  For the infection, it is really best
to have access to a good herp veterinarian.  For isolated skin lesions
sometimes the ordinary human-use "triple antibiotic ointment" sold in
pharmacies works fine.  It won't hurt the animals, anyway.  Stress from an
infection plus change of habitat is very stressful and could result in tail
autotomy from what I've read.  In general to help a salamander to acclimate
it is best to keep them in dim light (or even darkness) for the first 24hrs
with no handling at all.  Keep lights dim and make no changes to the habitat
until the animal gets used to the surroundings.  Most Bolitoglossa available
in the hobby are wild-caught.  They have been through at least two drastic
changes of habitat by the time we get them.  It is worth having them checked
out by a vet for parasites and treatment of injuries.
      Bolitoglossa is a challenging genus to keep.  If you'd like me to send
you the literature I have, let me know.  Good luck.
--Ellen Chernoff
Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ. at Indianapolis
Dr. Ellen A.G. Chernoff, Ph.D.
Indiana University-Purdue University
   at Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Associate Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
723 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132
phone: 317-274-0591
fax:   317-274-2846
email: echernof at iupui.edu

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