Salamanders are popular and interesting pets. They are nocturnal creatures with some of them being poisonous. Some even have teeth and tongues that are 10 times longer than their bodies!
Depending on the species, they can lay as much as 450 eggs at once where most of the new moms tend to stay with their eggs and even wrap every single one of them in a leaf for protection.
There are also unique salamanders which can stay young forever. Well, this doesn’t mean they can live for an eternity but they do keep their juvenile features into adulthood.
Salamander and Other Start-Up Expenses
The average price of newts ranges from $8 to $150. Adult newts are sold for $8 to $50, but rarer species and those that can only be found overseas tend to be pricier with their cost ranging from $50 to $150.
Then, there’s the average cost of salamanders which ranges from $10 to $260. Similarly, imported and rare species are more expensive such as European Black Salamanders which cost about $260.
Other than their cost, there are a few expenses you should also expect to pay, including:
- Shipping Costs
If you’re ordering online, expect to pay a shipping fee. The usual cost is $40 to $50 for an overnight delivery.
A 10-gallon tank is enough to house salamanders and it can cost anywhere from $15 to $170. You can also buy terrariums instead which can cost $30 to $190, depending on the size.
A terrarium is a glass tank which already has a lid to keep pet amphibians. There are different terrariums available for either mostly terrestrial (land) pets or mostly aquatic (water) salamanders.
It is important to wear latex gloves when handling salamanders as you can hurt them or hurt yourself, or both. Prices start at $7 for a pack of 100 gloves.
For newts, you need to have UVB rays that provide full spectrum lighting for 10-12 hours each day. You can find some at Petco for around $15 to $40. On the other hand, salamanders require a 10-12-hour per daylight cycle using incandescent day bulbs during the day only and Petco also offers them for $7 to $20.
Consider adding rocks not only as decorations but also to provide salamanders with hiding places. They can cost $2 to $30.
Salamanders need wet sphagnum moss, bark pieces, and mulch-type soil like coconut fiber while newts prefer a water substrate of slate or large smooth gravel, similar substrate as salamanders, and a land area with decorative plants. Substrate can cost anywhere from $3 to $15, decorative plants are from $1 to $30.
What Do You Get When Buying Online?
If you plan to buy salamanders online, some sellers offer guarantees on the live arrival of their animals. Meaning, if your salamander dies during shipping, you can either choose to have a refund or have them send a replacement animal for free. However, if you go with the latter, you’d still have to pay the shipping fee.
Recurring Costs of Owning a Salamander
- Feeders – salamanders and newts need to be fed two to three times a week during nighttime. For aquatic species, their main diet consists of bloodworms, brine shrimp, and live or frozen chopped night crawlers. If they are terrestrial, you will need to give them a variety of insects such as worms and crickets.
Typical amphibian feeders at pet stores cost about 11 cents each, but you can also try Backwater Reptiles which offers 2.6 cents each with free shipping.
- Supplement – to keep pet salamanders healthy, you can also consider sprinkling their food with a multi-vitamin supplement once or twice a week and calcium supplement every day. Calcium supplements are available at PetSmart for $9 and multivitamins for $14.
- Exotic Animal Veterinarian Health Care – to prevent diseases or once you have concerns regarding your pet’s health, you have to visit a veterinarian who has an expertise in exotic animals.
If you live near Bothell, Washington, the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine offers services for salamanders and charges $54 for an office visit. You can also check an exotic animal specialist in your area through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
What Affects the Cost of a Salamander?
Salamanders are amphibians with long and slender bodies and are a cross between a lizard and a frog.
There are a wide variety of salamander species. In fact, there are currently more than 600 different kinds of salamanders in the world and the United States is home to most of them. Some have two legs, and others have four. Some have lungs, other with gills, and some have neither; breathing only through their skin.
Then, there are newts. Most people confuse newts and salamanders. They are two distinct amphibians.
Newts can be fully aquatic or semi-aquatic animals and most salamanders spend their entire adult life on solid ground. Furthermore, newts are a type of salamander. In essence, all newts are salamanders; however, not all salamanders are newts.
Now, why is this important? Well, knowing their difference makes it easier to provide you with the exact price range you are looking for and because these two are quite different in terms of their habitat, you’d have an idea of what kind of environment you have to create for them to let them survive.
For example, because adult salamanders are terrestrial species, you might want to get bigger rocks or platforms for their aquariums. Thus, affecting the amount you need to spend on decors.
Another important factor that affects the cost of salamanders is their origin and the amount of effort, time, and money to bring them to the United States.
For example, the Kaiser’s Spotted Newts can only be found in Iran and they are considered as critically endangered, making them the most expensive among all the types of newts with their cost ranging from $120 to $150.
The Different Varieties of Salamanders
Here’s a breakdown of the most common species of salamanders you can buy along with their respective prices:
They are hardy, heavily-bodied and fun to watch in an aquarium, making them popular in the pet market. They measure about seven to nine inches in length, and they can live up to 20 years.
Axolotls are known to live without undergoing metamorphosis, which means they keep looking young throughout their entire life. In addition, they can regenerate their body parts and heal themselves when injured.
- Tiger Salamanders
These are the largest salamanders commonly available as pets. They like spending a lot of time underground and they’re not shy when it comes to food and the more you feed them, the faster they grow.
Tiger salamanders can measure from six to eight inches in size. They are sold for $25 to $50.
- Slimy Salamanders
Also called “sticky salamanders”, these tend to leave a clingy, glutinous, clear substance if handled. While annoying and off-putting, this substance is actually not harmful at all.
They can be great little pets as they only require minimal care and maintenance. They cost $10 to $20.
- Fire Salamanders
These salamanders are stunning amphibians with their dark black skin and bold, yellow blotches and stripe accents. They are docile animals which are not known to bite or be aggressive.
Also, they shouldn’t be handled excessively as doing so would cause severe stress to them and because they excrete toxic oil which causes soreness, fever, muscle spasms, and nausea for the owner. They cost around $25 for common fire salamander subspecies and $150 for rarer kinds such as the Italian Fire Salamander.
- Marbled Salamanders
With chunky bodies and short limbs, marbled salamanders are avid burrowers that if you were to provide them with a surface that supports burrowing, you can expect to almost never see them again.
Because of this behavior, they have been given the name “mole salamanders”. They cost somewhere from $12 to $30.
- Spotted Salamanders
These types of salamanders are pretty hard to find even with their bright yellow or orange spots, and this is because they are experts at hiding. They have a lifespan of 20 years and can measure as much as seven inches long.
People who have had spotted salamanders as pets have only praises for these animals. They can cost anywhere from $20 to $40.
- Fire Belly Newts
These pretty newts are one of the larger species among newts, measuring up to about five inches long. They are among the most commonly available amphibians in pet stores as they are hardy and easy to care for.
With proper care, they can live well over 20 years. They cost $12 to $15.
- Eastern Newts
Also called red-spotted newts by some, these are a popular species due to their vibrant color. They are relatively small, measuring about three inches as an adult with only some as an exception. They are very popular pets and they are known for their fascinating life cycle (shifting between land and water). They are available for $20.
If you’re wondering where to buy salamanders, you can try your local pet stores or through online shops like Backwater Reptiles, Underground Reptiles, Reptile City, ReptilesNCritters.com, SnakesAtSunset.com, Kingsnake.com, and Exotic Pets.
Salamanders are great pets, but like all amphibians, owning one does take work to maintain. So, before purchasing, make sure to do your research on the specific salamander species you’re interested in and avoid buying the rarest one you can find.
In addition, there are laws regarding ownership of some salamanders. For example, axolotls are illegal in the State of California and New Jersey. You can learn the other laws and regulations of the U.S Government on salamanders through the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service.
Whether you’re attracted to their vibrant color, their striking appearance, or their easiness to have as a pet, if you do decide to buy a salamanders, your heart and pockets should be ready. These are beautiful and charming creatures that can reward you with fascinating behavior; but only when you have given them proper care.