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Red-backed salamander Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Salamanders, Newts

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 4.73    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 04/24/2006

Main Category:


Sub Category:

Salamanders, Newts

 Care Sheet Submitted By:


Years Experience:

3 to 5 Years


Red-backed salamander

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

(Plethodon cinereus), some lungless salamanders

Sexing and Characteristics:

Females are larger.
Males have a mental gland under chin, and a nasolobial groove during the breeding season.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

Coconut fiber bedding topped with sphagnum moss works well for this species.
A moist subtrate is needed to aid in gas exchange.

Lighting and UVB:

No lighting is needed, if any is used, it should be minimal, and the floor should be shaded from the light. Red backs are nocturnal, and do not need special lighting. I would not recommend adding lights near their tanks, these could inadvertanly warm the tanks. Also, do not place the tank in direct or indirect sunlight, as this could cause the tank to warm.

Temperatures and Humidity:

It is best to maintain the temperture from 65-70 degrees. The temperutre danger zone is above 74 degress, at this temperture your red backs are too warm, and prolonged exposure to temps about 72 degrees could lead to sickness or death. They can tolerate temps down to 50 degrees easily, and should be wintered at abotu 55 degrees for proper cycling.
It is best to keep the tank out of direct lighting, espcially sunlight, and in cooler parts of the house. Near air conditioners or in basements.
Humidity and mositure are needed, a moist bedding should provide ample humidity. However they should be misted atleast once a day.

Heating and Equipment:

Do not heat them. It is detrimental to their health.

Water used should be spring water.

Caging Provided:

A 10 gallon tank will hold 1 pair of male and females salamanders. However, males and females are extremly territorial to their own sex. It is best to have a single male and a single female, or a pair of each. For each additional pair of salamanders, provide at least 1 square foot. 1 pair (2 gallons) 2 pairs 20 long, 3 pairs, 40 breeder.
Each pair should have a hide, a moist log works well. The moist log will also serve as a nesting site.
A lid is nesscary as they can climb glass, plastic, and most other surfaces.



Description of Diet:

In then wild their main diet consits of termites and ants, termites are preferred.
In captivity, small gut loaded crickets, small worms, small mealworms, small phoenix worms, and other small insects are good subsitutes,
If collecting wild food, be sure that the insects were not exposed to ferilizers, pesticdes or other chemicals (including city water used to water lawns, which could expose them to chlorine and chlormine)

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

A calcium supplement, once a week.
a vitamin supplement, once weekly or biweekly, depending on food variety.


The red backs are highly terrirorial and extremly familiar with their home territoires, and slight alterations will be realized., and should not be disturbed very often. Clean the cage in stages. ESPECIALLY IF HOUSING MULITPLE PAIRS. When removing objects replace them exactly how they were before. They are not very dirty creatures, and i would recommed cleaning their cage once ever 2-3 weeks, do not use any chemicals on your red backs. Clean one side first, then the other side.

Some Words on this Species:

They are very interesting little creatures, but you will probably not see them that often, and you should refain from handling them. If you must handle them clean your hands throughly, making sure their is not soap or chemical residue left on your hands, if you have them, use plastic powder free gloves that have been dipped in bottled water to handle them. the less you touch them, the happier they’ll be. However they are fairly calm when handled, but keep the handling time to a minmal as your hands are VERY WARM. and salamanders do not like warmth.
This is all the information i have found. and is as accurate as possible.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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