How You Can Help

If you have a pet salamander or newt, or are simply an amphibian lover, then chances are you have heard about this fungal disease that is killing off salamanders in Europe.

Because Bsal seems to have originated in Asia but is thought to have been accidentally introduced by humans into Europe, and with North America being so important for salamanders, we need to takes steps to avoid bringing this fungal pathogen here.

As many organizations work together to address the threats to wild populations, they also need your help:

The PARC Disease Task Team has created a system for people in the U.S. and Canada to report an incident of sick, dying, or multiple dead amphibians or reptiles. Simply send an email to: herp_disease_alert@parcplace.org.

IMPORTANT: Include in your email:

  1. Your name and e-mail address (for any follow-up questions)
  2. What you saw
  3. Where it was
  4. What types of animals were involved (species [if you are sure of the identification], life stage [eggs, larvae, subadults, adults])
  5. Is it ongoing (only dead or decayed animals, some sick-looking animals that are alive?)
  6. Any photos or other relevant information

The State or Provincial contacts for herpetofaunal diseases will be alerted, and they may contact you further for additional information. Following the report, the managing agency will make a decision on whether or not a follow-up action is needed. This system will help us to facilitate early detection and rapid response actions, where possible. It will also aid our understanding of the scope and severity of emerging infectious diseases. Thank you in advance for your help to keep our herps healthy!

  1. Before you dispose of any wastewater from aquariums or terrariums that might have come in contact with your pet salamanders or newts, you should add bleach before you dispose of it. Although the science is still out on the concentration of bleach needed to inactivate Bsal, the following concentrations very likely will kill the fungus based on research with similar pathogens: a ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for a minimum of 10 minutes OR 1 part bleach to 3 parts water for one 1 minute. Bleach can be added directly to aquarium water, or a solution mixed and sides of the aquarium and its contents disinfected by spraying or wiping the solution on surfaces. Bleach is toxic to amphibians and fish, so never let your pets come into contact with bleach. After disinfecting for the specified duration, you should rinse your aquarium thoroughly with clean water. Bleach breaks down quickly in the environment, so an additional precaution is letting the aquarium air dry for at least24 hours after rinsing.
  2. More important than ever, please do not release your pets into the wild, including your backyard. If a captive salamander or newt has Bsal and ends up in the wild, it could be devastating for wild populations. If you have a salamander that you are no longer able to care for, try contacting your local herpetological society, humane society, or zoo.
  3. The easiest way to be sure that your salamander is healthy and does not pose a risk to wild populations is to get it tested for Bsal. A list of laboratories that can be found here. Before you collect your samples, please directly contact the laboratory that will be screening your samples for further information on sampling biosecurity, diagnostic methods, and more.
  4. Do not transport and release any salamander among field sites.
  5. If you are doing field work or recreation involving contact with mud or water, consider adopting basic field-biosecurity recommendations, as shown here.
  6. If you encounter any dead or obviously dying salamanders, consider collecting them and then storing the carcass in 10% formalin or approximately 70% ethanol (a retail liquor, such as vodka, is sufficient). Record the date and location of the find and contact your state or provincial fish and wildlife agency.*

By doing all of the above, you are protecting pet salamanders as well as the wild salamanders that we all enjoy so much. Please share this information with your friends, online through social media and your favorite forums, local herpetological societies, and pet stores.

The PARC Disease Task Team has created a system for people in the U.S. and Canada to report an incident of sick, dying, or multiple dead amphibians or reptiles. Simply send an email to: herp_disease_alert@parcplace.org .

IMPORTANT: Include in your email:

1. Your name and e-mail address (for any follow-up questions)
2. what you saw,
3. where it was,
4. what types of animals were involved (species [if you are sure of the identification], life stage [eggs, larvae, subadults, adults]),
5. is it ongoing (only dead or decayed animals, some sick-looking animals that are alive?),
6. any photos or other relevant information

The State or Provincial contacts for herpetofaunal diseases will be alerted, and they may contact you further for additional information. Following the report, the managing agency will make a decision on whether or not a follow-up action is needed. This system will help us to facilitate early detection and rapid response actions, where possible. It will also aid our understanding of the scope and severity of emerging infectious diseases. Thank you in advance for your help to keep our herps healthy!