Hi, Frank Indiviglio here. I’m a herpetologist, zoologist, and book author, recently retired from a career of over 20 years with the Bronx Zoo.
Although many salamanders will eagerly gobble-up crickets and mealworms, a diet restricted to these food items usually leads to nutritional disorders and reduced life-spans. This holds true even if supplements are used. A varied diet is essential if you are to have success in keeping salamanders long-term (my 32 year-old Red Salamander, 25 year-old Fire Salamanders and numerous others can attest to this!). Following are some useful tips for those seeking to vary the diets of their terrestrial salamanders. While most newts and aquatic species (Axolotls, Amphiumas) accept dry foods, they too will benefit from invertebrate meals. Please post below for detailed information on individual salamander species. As there is an endless supply of useful live foods for pet salamanders, please also post your ideas and observations.
Earthworms, Red Wigglers, Nightcrawlers (Lumbricus terrestris and relatives)
If you need to rely upon a single food item as a dietary staple for your salamanders, it should be earthworms, not crickets. I cannot recall a single salamander species that does not fare well on an earthworm-rich diet. Earthworms and their relatives reproduce rapidly when kept properly (please see article below) and can be stored for weeks under refrigeration. Their nutritional profile can be improved by a diet of leaf litter, corn meal, fish flakes and calcium powder. Read More »