How organisms respond to abiotic conditions is paramount for predicting their response to climate change. Mechanistic models have been used extensively to predict the distribution and abundance of many organisms based on their physiology and behaviors. To provide further support for, and inform, mechanistic model predictions, relatively realistic laboratory experiments can be created to replicate natural climatic scenarios. We designed enclosures for terrestrial salamanders that allowed for manipulation of abiotic conditions in a relatively realistic way and for observation of both surface and subsurface behaviors. During a trial, enclosures provided realistic conditions that were an accurate reflection of the field conditions that our study species would be exposed to during their active season. Salamanders behaviorally responded to changing abiotic conditions in our enclosures in a similar fashion to what has been observed through long-term field studies. Our study also documented differences in subsurface behavior, with younger and smaller salamanders occupying shallower depths in response to days since feeding. Given the strong correlation between laboratory and field behaviors under current climatic scenarios, as well as the potentially unknown outcomes between abiotic and biotic conditions, we recommend using realistic laboratory enclosures to replicate future climatic conditions to further refine the predictive power of mechanistic models.

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