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Texas salamander

Ambystoma Mavortium


Previously a subspecies of Ambystoma Tigrinum, it was called Ambystoma Tigrinum Mavortium. Considered a species in its own right, it is now found under the name Ambystoma M. Mavortium.
It belongs to the Ambystomatidae family, to the genus Ambystoma and to the Tigrinum group.
This species, like the Tigrinum, is relatively easy to maintain.

Description and Morphology:

This salamander can easily reach 30 cm in adulthood.
The body is robust, the head is large, the eyes are quite small; the tail is compressed laterally, unlike the European Salamandra. On each finger a claw is present, witness to the burrowing habits of the animal. There are numerous costal furrows, and the parotoid glands are poorly developed. The skin is smooth, without protrusions, ridges or warts.
The back is black, barred with more or less bright yellow vertical bands, which may extend from the belly to the middle of the back. The belly is generally gray down to the throat, with a pale yellow border on the lower flanks.
Mavortium, compared to Ambystoma Tigrinum, generally has fewer spots, but which are more intense yellow.

Origin and Biotope:

This species is native to Texas.
In the natural environment, the adult Texas Salamander lives in quite varied habitats, such as deciduous or coniferous forests, meadows, alpine meadows and finally desert to semi-desert areas, which offers a wide variety of biotopes.
The larvae are found in water points frequented by adults during the breeding season, ie in temporary ponds and puddles devoid of fish, as well as in lakes, reservoirs, farm ponds or slow streams. ..

Maintenance in captivity:

This species is easy to keep in captivity.


Ambystoma Mavortia can measure 30cm or more, so a fairly large terrarium is recommended. For a couple of an average size, we can take a terrarium of 100 * 40 * 40, it is considered as a minimum. For young salamanders of 15 cm, a 60 * 45 * 45 may be sufficient while waiting for them to grow.
As with all amphibians, a cover is necessary to prevent escapes.


Contrary to what their region of origin may suggest, these urodeles come from temperate regions, and do not support prolonged heat; in fact, in the natural environment, they have the possibility of burying themselves deeply in the ground to suffer less from high temperatures. It is however true that they can withstand a higher temperature for a few weeks, if everything returns to normal afterwards.
In terrariums, an average temperature of 15 to 20 ° is ideal during the period of activity, it will be reduced to about 5 ° if you want them to hibernate.
The humidity does not matter as long as the animals have a basin of clean water easily accessible. A few sprays in the evening can slightly increase the humidity and activity of the animals.


The simplest terrarium is a terrestrial and temperate terrarium, decorated with a small tank of water; however, depending on the space and the means, a separation can be installed so as to obtain an aquatic part of greater volume, ideal for reproduction, and which seems to please the animals. Either way, the aquatic part should not exceed one third of the tank, unless the animals have a marked aquatic tendency.

The water pan should be easy to access, and can be a simple food box, as long as the animal can fit in completely. In the event of a reproduction, it will be necessary to considerably increase the volume of water, and to arrange the tank with the help of aquatic plants, rocks and roots.

The main land part will present a fairly thick layer of substrate, which could be peat, coconut, sphagnum, or a mixture of these. You should know that the sand is not suitable for this burrowing species.
It will also be necessary to provide hiding places, stumps, stones, bark, flowerpots, so that the animals can protect themselves from direct light. Generally, a salamander hiding place is suitable, knowing that they sometimes tend to settle in places not intended for that!
You can decorate with forest moss, and hardy (very) tough plants. You should know that these are real "bulldozers" and that a neat decoration may not be for long. Likewise, a leaf that moves a little will quickly be caught.


This animal is very easy to feed, not difficult, and extremely voracious.
They quickly learn to grab food with the tongs, and are therefore quite familiar. They spend most of their day nestled in the corner of the vivarium where they are used to receiving food.
We can give them, depending on their size, all kinds of live or dead prey:
crickets, locusts, soil worms, mealworms, ringworms, cockroaches, mice, small freshwater fish, beef heart ... to moderate depending on the size and age of the animal, which is subject to 'obesity. Like many amphibians, they are able to fast for quite a long time, and a little diet can help from time to time.


In the wild, Ambystomas undergo a winter rest of more than 3 months, at temperatures often below 5 °, followed by gradual global warming and lengthening of the photoperiod, which stimulates reproduction in the spring.
In captivity, they can be made to hibernate for two months at 5 °, by providing them with a 15 cm layer of substrate in which they will burrow. Without being soaked, the substrate must remain a minimum wet, to avoid desiccation.
Spring is stimulated by a gradual rise in temperatures and a longer period of lighting each day. You can also spray and water the tank frequently, which further stimulates the animals. This endeavor should only be carried out with well-fed and healthy animals.
After that, the animals are transferred to a predominantly aquatic tank, at least a dozen cm deep, and are abundantly fed.
All that remains is to let nature do things, the eggs being laid in small clusters attached to twigs, plants or aquatic supports. Females can lay several thousand eggs each. The larvae can be cannibals, and development is relatively rapid at room temperature and abundant food.
Young people are raised like adults, according to the same rules, and in an identical environment.

Good to know about this species:

- The Ambystoma Mavortia are quite voracious, so you have to watch that the animals do not eat more than they should eat. Likewise, ingestion of substrate is quite common, and can lead to intestinal obstruction if repeated too frequently.

- Once again, these salamanders are voracious, and it is not advisable to leave together several individuals who have not eaten for a while during a period of activity ... Likewise, the terrarium should not be too small for avoid these food competition problems. Under the right conditions, the species is sociable.

- Although the animals are quite familiar, especially when distributing food, you should know that they are not attracted by the healer itself but by the crickets that we are going to give them ... They are not pets!

- In the case of hand-fed animals, it may happen that they bite or grab a finger, and then tend not to let go easily. These bites are harmless and painless, but quite surprising when you don't expect them.

- Although their plump figure doesn't give that impression, Ambystoma Mavortia are much more lively and quicker than most Urodeles. They quickly run away from a bin left open for too long.
These animals also have enough strength, and can climb an aquarium wall by leaning on their tail and then standing against this wall; once the front legs have reached the end of the glass, they manage to hoist themselves out of the tank easily (personal observation).

- Ambystoma Mavortia can hybridize with Ambystoma Tigrinum, so it is better to avoid cohabiting these species.

- Finally, cannibalism is not a problem if the animal opposite is small enough to serve as a meal. We will only allow animals of the same size to coexist ...

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

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