Why Is My Tiger Salamander Not Eating? Common Reasons and Solutions

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If you’re a tiger salamander owner, you may wonder why your pet refuses to eat. A lack of appetite in these amphibians can be concerning, especially if it persists for an extended period. However, there are several reasons your tiger salamander may not be eating, and it’s essential to identify the cause to provide the appropriate care.

One reason for a tiger salamander’s lack of appetite could be stress.

Salamanders are sensitive creatures and may become stressed if their environment is unsuitable. Changes in temperature, lighting, or humidity levels can all contribute to stress, as can the presence of other animals. If your salamander is stressed, it may refuse to eat until it feels more comfortable.

Another possible reason for a tiger salamander’s refusal to eat is an illness.

If your salamander is displaying other symptoms, such as lethargy, weight loss, or abnormal behavior, it may be suffering from an underlying health issue.

In this case, seeking a veterinarian specializing in exotic animals’ advice is essential.


Possible Reasons for Not Eating


There are several possible reasons why your tiger salamander may not be eating:

  • Stress: If your salamander is stressed, it may not feel comfortable enough to eat. Make sure the salamander’s habitat is suitable and provides enough hiding places.
  • Inadequate temperature: Tiger salamanders require a specific temperature range to digest their food correctly. Ensure that the temperature of their habitat is within the appropriate range.
  • Illness: If your salamander is sick, it may not have an appetite. Look for other signs of illness, such as lethargy, abnormal behavior, or physical symptoms.
  • Change in  environment: If you have recently made any changes to the salamander’s environment, it may take some time for them to adjust. Give them time to acclimate to the changes.

It’s essential to identify the reason why your tiger salamander is not eating so that you can address the issue and prevent any further health problems. If you are unsure of the cause, consult a veterinarian specializing in reptiles and amphibians.


Environmental Factors to Consider


When determining why your tiger salamander is not eating, it’s essential to consider the environmental factors affecting its appetite.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Temperature: Salamanders are cold-blooded animals, which means their environment regulates their body temperature. If the temperature in their enclosure is too low, they may become sluggish and lose their appetite. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, they may become stressed and stop eating altogether. Therefore, ensure the temperature in their enclosure is within the recommended range for tiger salamanders (around 65-75°F).
  • Humidity: Tiger salamanders like a humid environment, but too much humidity can lead to respiratory issues. Ensure the humidity level in their enclosure is around 50-60%. You can use a hygrometer to measure the humidity level.
  • Lighting: Salamanders are nocturnal animals and don’t require UV lighting. However, they need a regular day/night cycle to maintain their circadian rhythm. Therefore, ensure they can access a light source that mimics natural daylight for around 12 hours daily.
  • Substrate: Tiger salamanders like to burrow, so ensure they have a substrate that allows them to do so. Avoid using gravel or sand, which can be ingested and cause digestive issues. Instead, use a substrate like a coconut coir or sphagnum moss.
  • Enclosure size: Tiger salamanders are relatively large animals and require a decent-sized enclosure to thrive. Ensure their enclosure is at least 20 gallons and has plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities.

By ensuring that these environmental factors are in check, you can help your tiger salamander feel comfortable and encourage it to start eating again.


Health Issues to Look Out For


If your tiger salamander is not eating, it could be due to various health issues. Here are some of the common health problems that you should look out for:

  • Parasites: Parasites are one of the most common health issues that affect tiger salamanders. These tiny organisms can cause many problems, including loss of appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. If you suspect your salamander has parasites, take it to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Infections: Salamanders are susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections that can affect their appetite. Symptoms of infections include lethargy, loss of appetite, and skin discoloration. If you notice these symptoms, take your salamander to a veterinarian for treatment.
  • Stress: Stress can also cause a loss of appetite in tiger salamanders. Stressful environments, such as overcrowded tanks or tanks with poor water quality, can lead to stress. Ensure your salamander’s tank is spacious and clean to reduce stress levels.
  • Impaction: Impaction occurs when a salamander ingests a foreign object that gets stuck in its digestive tract. This can lead to loss of appetite, lethargy, and constipation. If you suspect your salamander has ingested a foreign object, take it to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Keeping a close eye on your tiger salamander’s health and behavior is essential. If you notice any changes in its appetite or behavior, take it to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Tips for Encouraging Feeding


Encouraging feeding in a tiger salamander can be a challenging task. Here are some tips to help stimulate your salamander’s appetite:

  • Offer a variety of food items – Tiger salamanders have a diverse diet in the wild. A mix of live insects, worms, and small fish can help stimulate their appetite.
  • Adjust the temperature – Tiger salamanders are cold-blooded animals, and their metabolism is influenced by temperature. Therefore, keeping their enclosure at the proper temperature range can help encourage feeding.
  • Reduce stress – Stress can cause a salamander to lose its appetite. Ensure their enclosure is spacious, has hiding places, and is not overcrowded with other animals.

Another way to encourage feeding is to use scent. For example, place a small amount of food in a plastic bag and rub it against the sides of the enclosure. This will release the scent of the food and can help stimulate their appetite.

It’s important to remember that tiger salamanders may have periods of not eating. This can be normal behavior, especially during the winter months. If your salamander is not showing any signs of illness, it’s best to monitor them and wait until they are ready to eat again.




There are several reasons why your tiger salamander may not be eating. It could be due to stress, improper diet, or illness. Observing your salamander’s behavior and consulting with a veterinarian or experienced reptile keeper is essential if you notice any concerning symptoms.

Some common signs of stress in tiger salamanders include hiding or burrowing excessively, refusing to eat, and exhibiting abnormal behaviors such as constantly pacing or climbing the walls of their enclosure. If you suspect your salamander is stressed, identify and address the source, such as a noisy or high-traffic location, improper temperature or humidity levels, or a lack of hiding places.

Another common reason tiger salamanders may not eat is an improper diet. Ensure you provide a varied diet that includes a mix of insects, worms, and other small prey items. Avoid feeding your salamander wild-caught insects, which may contain harmful pesticides or parasites. Additionally, dust your prey items with a calcium supplement to ensure your salamander gets enough of this essential nutrient.

If you have ruled out stress and diet as potential causes of your salamander’s lack of appetite, it may be time to consult a veterinarian. Some common illnesses that can cause a loss of appetite in tiger salamanders include parasitic infections, bacterial or fungal infections, and metabolic disorders. A veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and recommend appropriate treatment options based on your salamander’s specific symptoms and health history.

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