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How to Care for Arboreal Salamanders

Arboreal salamanders (aneides lugubris) are native to California and a small part of Mexico. They're dark brown or gray, usually with yellow or white spots, and measure up to 7 inches including the tail. They can be kept as pets in captivity, where they have an average lifespan of just over 5 years.

Tank Setup

The name arboreal salamander comes from the fact they live most of their lives in trees. As such, you'll need to have an arboreal tank setup, with plenty of branches for your salamander to climb. Their tank should have a substrate that's around 2 to 4 inches deep, made up from a mixture of sand, peat moss and forest chipped bark. This species is fond of water, so you could make a dip in the substrate and create a small freshwater pool.


Arboreal salamanders need to be kept in an environment of between 50 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Salamanders don't need to bask, so if you live in a warm climate, you may not need a heater at all. Only use a heater in the tank if you need to bring the temperature up to the recommended levels, as too much heat can dry out their skin and make them uncomfortable.


Arboreal salamanders eat a variety of insects and invertebrates. Ideal foods for them include crickets, fruit flies, caterpillars and mini mealworms. You should also dust their food in a specialist amphibian or reptile calcium supplement to ensure your salamander gets enough nutrients. Your pet will need to be fed twice each day.


In order to keep your arboreal salamander healthy and happy, you'll need to keep up some regular care and maintenance duties. Clean out his cage regularly, at least once a week, and change his water daily. They're not especially social creatures, so keep handling to a minimum to prevent stress. When you do handle your salamander, make sure you wet your hands before touching him, as dry hands will be uncomfortable on his damp skin.