Water Dogs 2012
After disappearing for a while,
Ambystoma tigrinum are back.

 
 

Waterdog Factoids

Origin

North America

Temp

Room temperature fine.  Cooler better.

Water

Needs clean water.  Filtration a must.

Attitude

Bitey but harmless

Security

None needed

Foods

Insects, worms, goldfish, pelleted foods

Lighting

Immaterial

Metamorphosis

You never know when

Threats

Bigger hungry waterdogs, large fish, too warm water

LA
Those "fringes" are his external gills.

What's in a Name?  The larvae of the Tiger Salamander have different names depending upon what part of the country you find them in.  My uncles called them mud puppies.  Ambystoma tigrinum does grow wild here in Iowa.  The ones we sell come from Nebraska.  Don't release them in the wild or they'll be very confused. 

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Waterdogs change into tiger salamanders.

Great Classroom Critters.  Like tadpoles that change into frogs or toads, waterdogs change into different critters – tiger salamanders  Metamorphosis makes a great event to study.  Most of our waterdogs will probably convert into tiger salamanders before school begins again in September.  Tiger salamanders are very hardy critters that can stand up to classroom handling.  And they're easy to care for and feed.


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Use Gravel Carefully.  When waterdogs start rooting on the bottom for food, they might ingest gravel (with or without food).  Most promptly spit out chunks of gravel, but some could swallow it -- especially those used to eating snails.

Do Waterdogs Bite?  Water Dogs don’t bite like real dogs, but they can surprise you.  They have no teeth and just “bounce off” your finger.  Don’t worry about them wounding you.  And when kept reasonably fed, they do not bite each other.

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Waterdogs Bite fish.  Waterdogs eagerly eat slow moving fishes small enough to swallow.  Six-to-eight-inch “Dogs” snap up feeder goldfishes.  Don’t add a waterdog to a tank of community fishes.  You will wind up with no community fishes and one fat and smiling waterdog.  By the way, hungry waterdogs also eat smaller waterdogs.


These gills are still totally aquatic.


Gulping for air at the top.

Do Waterdogs Breathe Air?  Yes and no.  They pull oxygen out of the water with those fringe gills.  However, you'll also see them snuffling at the surface for air -- especially as they get closer to their metamorphosis.

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Very active eaters.

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Waterdogs like to eat.

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Some like to eat too much -- way too much.

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When hungry, waterdogs will snack on their tank mates

Waterdog Live Foods:
      Worms and nightcrawlers;
      Mealworms and half-grown roaches;
     Goldfish and other slow-moving fish;
   ●  Tadpoles (grudgingly).
Waterdog Commercial Foods:
      Turtle "sticks" and turtle pellets.
      Cichlid and koi pellets:
   ●   Freeze-dried krill and plankton.
Waterdog Frozen  Foods:
Krill. plankton, silversides, beef heart, and any of the "formula" foods.  In other words, waterdogs are not picky eaters.

Last Words.  You can quickly teach waterdogs to eat from your fingers.  That's about the only trick you can teach them.  LA.

Tiger Salamanders 2012

May 29, 2012.  Fifteen of the waterdogs have morphed into tiger salamanders the day after I returned from a fishing expedition.  Some were looking close on the 27th, but these guys have made the surprising change to land dwellers by the time I returned on the 29th.  Too bad.  It's easier to feed waterdogs..

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No Longer Aquatic Residents.  They start losing their external gills first.  Then their dorsal fins get absorbed.  Then, you'll notice they start hanging at the surface more.  They also develop bands on their sides, thus their common name -- the banded salamander.

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Definitely not Iowa salamanders -- probably Nebraskans.

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Now Land Dwellers.  So we put them in a shallow tank with a gradual incline onto the land.  We kept the under gravel filter and provided extra "land" by placing water logged driftwood in their tank.

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Still in the process of deciding water or land.

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Definitely air breathers.

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But not willing to totally give up their water environment.

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A bit harder to feed at this time.

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May 31, 2012.

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May 31, 2012.

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June 3, 2012.

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June 11, 2012.

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Their new home.

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These were all in that little house.  They are burrowing critters.

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Damp moss makes a much better strate.  Allows them to burrow and keeps their skins moist.

Time to Change Their Diet.  Waterdogs are easy to feed.  They readily snap up floating fish pellets.  Tiger salamanders look for food that moves -- crickets and worms.  Tiger salamanders live for years and keep growing all that time.  Worms have no calcium for their bones.  Neither do crickets unless you dust or gut load them.  Tiger salamanders do not need daily feedings.  LA

Water Dogs 2014

No Waterdogs 2013.  Waterdogs disappeared durng 2013.  They're back this year.  A few have morphed into salamanders already.

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Their patterns vary quite a bit.

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