Cool new salamanders!

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The tree-toed amphiuma, Amphiuma tridactylum
The three-toed amphiuma, Amphiuma tridactylum

One of the cool new animals we’ll be bringing to the Kalamazoo Reptile Show on September 19 will be three-toed amphiuma.

Amphiuma is a genus of aquatic salamanders, the only genus within the family Amphiumidae. They are also (incorrectly) known to fisherman as “conger eels” or “congo snakes.”

Amphiumas inhabit the southeastern part of the United States. They share much of their range with the two-legged salamander (the sirens), but although physically similar in appearance, are not closely related.

There are three amphiuma species, distinguished by the number of toes:

Amphiuma tridactylum – Three-toed Amphiuma
Amphiuma means – Two-toed Amphiuma
Amphiuma pholeter – One-toed Amphiuma

Of these, only A. pholeter is listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

The Three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum) is the second largest of the three species, and can reach more than 40 inches in length. They also tend to have the greatest difference between dark dorsal and light ventral coloring of the three species. They have small, lidless eyes, and gill slits. They have four tiny legs each with three toes and an average of 62 coastal grooves.

Amphiuma tridactylum close up & personal
Amphiuma tridactylum close up & personal

The three-toed amphiuma is found along the Gulf of Mexico from Alabama to Texas, and north to Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. Often is found in bottomland marshes and lakes, bayous, cypress sloughs, and streams in hilly regions.

Amphiuma are nocturnal hunters. They hide in heavily vegetated areas of slow moving water, such as swamps, ponds and lakes. They eat anything they can catch, including earthworms, fish, crustaceans, and other small invertebrates.

For an article including how to keep them in captivity, visit the Caudata Culture website.

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Rainforest Station is gearing up for fall, and building our inventory of exotic pets. Beautifully colored corn snake hatchlings are starting to come in, and many of our leopard gecko babies are ready for new homes. We are expanding our variety of poison dart frogs, and currently have a couple of nice Dendrobates terribilis froglets available. We also have Madagascar giant day geckos and William’s dwarf geckos. Keep an eye out for new additions coming soon..

Rainforest Station always offers a wide variety of exotic pets, featuring the largest selection of poison dart frogs, tree frogs and terrestrial frogs you’ll find in a retail store in the Midwest. You’ll also find leopard geckos, crested geckos, gargoyle geckos, and other gecko species; bearded dragons and other lizards (currently featuring baby savannah monitors, baby blue-tongued skinks, Asian water dragons, green and red iguanas, ameivas and more ), turtles and tortoises, corn snakes and ball pythons, an assortment of tarantulas, and even some amphibians with tails: tiger salamanders, spotted salamanders, Spanish (Iberia) ribbed newts, California newts, and Axolotl.

If you’re into tarantulas, we have everything from beginner species, such as the Chilean Red Rose-Hair to advanced species such as the Sri Lanka Ornamental Tarantula.

If you are looking for any other species, please drop us a line and we’ll do our best to track it down. And, of course, we have more roaches, crickets, wax worms, fruit flies, and bean beetles than you can shake a stick at.

We also carry a full line of products from manufacturers such as, Exo Terra, Zoo Med, Zilla, Flukers, Tetra, as well as an indoor greenhouse with a wide variety of tropical plants to furnish your naturalistic terrariums and vivariums.

You can shop on-line or stop by and see us. We’re just a mile east of the I-96 interchange, at 6248 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546. Or, we offer free delivery of items purchased on-line to any of the shows at which we are a vendor.

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