The creeping salamander, which also has a second name - the forest salamander - is a monotypic genus in which only a single species is distinguished. These amphibians are in the IUCN Red List.
Crawling salamanders live only in the Red Hills area on the coast of Alabama. This coastal plain is a narrow strip with a length of approximately 97 kilometers and 40 kilometers wide.Red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus).
Description of the forest salamander
The body color of the forest salamander is uniformly dark. The limbs are short. On the head are large, strongly convex eyes. The tail is long and thick.
The creeping salamanders are quite large: sexually mature individuals reach about 23 centimeters in length, and they can grow to a maximum of 25.5 centimeters.
The limbs are well developed, there are no membranes between the fingers.Forest salamands are active at night and at twilight (they can be active during the day after rain).
Crawling Salamander Lifestyle
Forest salamanders live in cool, shady ravines, the upper soil of which is represented mainly by sandy loams. In these gorges, the salamanders adhere to the burrows. They live in places where rhododendrons, oak-leaved hydrangea, southern and large-leaved magnolias necessarily grow. They prefer undisturbed forests.
Creeping salamanders lead a terrestrial lifestyle. They depend on water only during the breeding season. In dry and hot weather, forest salamanders hide in holes, in crevices of stones, under rotting trees and the like. They prefer to get to the surface at night, and during the day only in cloudy weather.They live in forest litter, under the stones and trunks of fallen trees.
Types of creeping salamanders
Currently, 55 species of forest salamander are distinguished, among them:
• Piebald salamander;
• Red-backed salamander;
• Pebble salamander;
• Elongated salamander;
• Zigzag salamander;
• Silver salamander;
• Ocellated salamander;
• Graceful salamander;
• Ring salamander;
• Appalachian salamander;
• Black-footed salamander;
• Kenuccan salamander;
• Thin salamander;
• Virgin salamander;
• White-spotted salamander;
• Veil salamander;
• Light-sided salamander;
• Spotted salamander;
• Rock salamander;
• Red-striped salamander;
• Washington salamander;
• Agile salamander;
• Variegated salamander;
• Golden black salamander.
The situation with the number of forest salamanders
Inside a small area of no more than 24 thousand hectares, suitable living conditions for the species are preserved. And about 60% of the range of crawling salamanders is the property of paper makers. The number of species decreases, which is associated with forest processing and the conduct of various types of agricultural activities. To a large extent, creeping salamanders suffer from livestock grazing. And in some parts of the habitat, forest salamander is caught for commercial purposes.
In Alabama, forest salamanders are protected by law. It is also planned to create a conservation area of approximately 40 hectares.
From 1976 to 1989, studies were conducted according to which it became clear that at this time the living conditions of salamanders improved in 19 sites, and 18 were damaged due to logging operations. According to research, it became clear that creeping salamanders are at risk of extinction. The main reasons for the decline in the population of forest salamanders are their low reproductive rate, the destruction of the natural habitat, and their limited range. In this regard, the Nature Conservation Organization in 2010 bought a little more than 7 square kilometers of land in the southwestern part of Alabama in order to be able to provide this type of support and give it a chance for salvation.Red-backed salamanders hide in fallen foliage a day, under trees, in stumps, they can dig minks in moist soft ground.
The content of forest salamander in the terrarium
For keeping creeping salamanders horizontal low terrariums are suitable. They need low temperature and high humidity. The air in the terrarium with forest salamander should not exceed 24 degrees.
As a primer, it is recommended to use wet paper towels, as this primer is the most hygienic. Napkins as they become dirty are replaced with new ones. If there is a desire to recreate a natural biotope, it is best to use coconut crumbs, in which you can add a little sand. Before use, the substrate is disinfected, as salamanders are extremely susceptible to a variety of diseases.The tiny larvae of the salamander first have short external gills that disappear after a few days.
To further maintain moisture in the terrarium, you can put moss on the bottom, but not sphagnum, as it creates an acid reaction that is deadly for salamanders.
If the terrarium has a sufficient number of shelters, for example, shards of pots, pieces of bark, stones, then several salamanders can be kept in one container. They feed forest salamanders with insect larvae, small crickets and worms.