A Practical Look at Caring For A Newt

Eastern Newt Red Eft

Newts are fascinating creatures and make for wonderful pets, but before you decide to rush out and buy one, it is important that you learn all you can about what is involved in caring for newtsOpens in a new tab.. It is not a simple case of purchasing one and then leaving it to its own devices. It is your responsibility to ensure the newt is cared for properly. How to care for a newt means learning about things such as what type of environment it prefers, what type of food it eats, and what to do should it start laying eggs.

Choosing the Right Species of Newt for You

It’s an exciting journey to bring a newt into your home. They’re fascinating creatures, aren’t they? Yet, choosing the right species for you requires some careful thought and consideration. This choice is more than just about aesthetics – it also relates to the newt’s habitat requirements, diet, and general care needs.

Eastern Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens)

If you’re a beginner, eastern newts might be an excellent choice for you. Known for their vivid orange-red color, they adapt well to captivity and have a relatively straightforward diet. They are semi-aquatic and require a set-up that accommodates both their land and water needs. Eastern Newts are generally hardy, so they can withstand slight fluctuations in their environment which is a big plus for those new to the hobby.

Fire-Bellied Newts (Cynops spp.)

Fire-bellied newts, with their vibrant underbellies, are quite captivating to observe. These are a great pick if you’re interested in maintaining a beautifully planted, bioactive tank. They’re primarily aquatic but will appreciate a small land area to haul out when they choose. The bonus? These newts are pretty easy to feed – they happily gobble down a variety of invertebrates like earthworms, waxworms, and even small crustaceans.

Marbled Newts (Triturus marmoratus)

Looking for a terrestrial species? Marbled newts could be your match! These fascinating creatures, with their distinct marbled pattern, spend the majority of their life on land, only heading to the water to breed. They require a moist habitat with plenty of hiding spots. You should note, however, that these newts can be a bit more challenging to keep due to their specific dietary and habitat needs.

Where Do Newts Live?

Newts can be either aquatic (live just in water) or semi-aquatic (live in both water and on land), depending on the species. In the wild, newts are found mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and they tend to be found in places such as grasslands, forests, swamps, and croplands. As mentioned, there are those that are completely aquatic, meaning they can be found in ponds, marshes, and lakes.

If you are considering a newt as a pet, do your research to find out whether or not it will require just water or a combination of water and landOpens in a new tab.. Either way, it is best to have a tank with water that is deep enough for the newt to dive and swim as well as resting spots which can come in the form of floating plants (live or plastic) or turtle platforms. You need to ensure the aquarium has a screen cover top as these creatures are adept at climbing glass.

You can choose to line the bottom of the tank with as substrate, or you could leave it bare. Tanks with bare bottoms are obviously easier to clean. If you do decide to have a substrate, choose gravel that is smooth but large enough that it cannot be swallowed by the newt(s).

Know that tap water is not suitable for newt aquariums as it contains chemicals that could be harmful to the animal. You can use spring water or water purification but ensure that the PH of the water is between 6.5 and 7.5. The ideal PH level is 7.0. PH testing kits are both cheap and easily available.

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You will need a filter to keep the water in the tank clean, but you will still need to change some of the water in the tank regularly to prevent ammonia build-up becoming a problem. Changing a quarter of the tanks water each week should be sufficient. The temperature of the water should ideally be between 60F and 68F, but room temperature is adequate enough. It is important, however, to be aware that some newt species do not do well in water above temperatures of 75F as their immune systems can be weakened at this temperature and above.

Post-Purchase Care: Acclimating Your Newt to Its New Home

As with any pet, the first few days in a new environment are crucial and can set the tone for your newt’s overall health and well-being. Let’s dive right into how you can make the transition as smooth as possible.

When you first bring your amphibian Opens in a new tab.home, it may be a little stressed from the journey and the new surroundings. For this reason, it’s best to give it some space and let it adjust at its own pace. Place the newt in its new habitat, ensuring it has plenty of hiding spots. Newts love to explore and hide, so adding plants, rocks, or artificial hiding spots can give them a sense of security and privacy.

The water temperature and pH should already be set to suitable levels before introducing your newt. Remember, the ideal water temperature should be between 60F and 68F, and the pH should fall between 6.5 and 7.5. Maintaining these conditions can greatly reduce the stress on your newt during this acclimation phase.

After placing your newt in its new home, try to limit disturbances. It’s a normal human instinct to want to interact with our pets, but at this stage, less is more. Limit the time you spend around the tank for the first few days. This quiet time will allow your newt to explore and get used to its new surroundings without feeling threatened.

Feed your newt a few days after bringing it home. Offering food too soon may overwhelm it while it’s still adjusting. Remember, newts are carnivorous creatures, so a diet rich in insects like mealworms and crickets is perfect for them.

Above all, patience is key. Every newt is different, and some might take longer to adjust than others. Give your newt time to get comfortable in its new home, and before you know it, you’ll start seeing it emerge more often and show signs of contentment.

What Do Newts Eat?

Newts are carnivores, meaning that they do not eat plants. In fact, newts are anatomically incapable of digesting plant matter. In the wild, they eat things such as insect larvae, brine shrimp, tadpoles, molluscs, and aquatic insects. Newts in captivity can be fed a variety of insects. It is best to feed them gut-laden worms and insects such as mealworms, crickets, bloodworms, and white worms.

Adult newtsOpens in a new tab. do not require feeding every day. Instead you should offer food every two to three days; and because newts are nocturnal, it is best to feed them at night. To ensure your newts are getting the required vitamins and minerals, you could sprinkle food with a multivitamin and calcium supplement.

Here is a detailed table regarding the diet of newts:

Food TypeDescriptionAdvantagesConsiderations
Insect LarvaeThese are the immature stage of insects and are commonly consumed by newts in the wild.Rich in protein and other nutrients.May be harder to source compared to other foods.
Brine ShrimpThese tiny crustaceans are also known as sea monkeys.Highly nutritious and easy to breed at home.Should not be the sole food source due to low calcium content.
TadpolesThe larval stage of amphibians like frogs and toads.Can be easily found in the wild.Make sure they are safe and free from pesticides or other harmful substances if collected from the wild.
MolluscsSmall invertebrates like snails and slugs.Provide variety in the diet.Ensure they are small enough for the newt to consume and are free from harmful substances.
Aquatic InsectsWater-dwelling insects, such as water fleas and mosquito larvae.Great natural food source, can often be cultivated at home.May need to be purchased from a pet store if not available in your local environment.
MealwormsThe larval form of the mealworm beetle, a species of darkling beetle.Easily available in pet stores, high in protein.Mealworms have a hard exoskeleton which can be hard for some newts to digest.
CricketsSmall insects that are often used as a food source for a variety of pets.Highly nutritious, readily accepted by newts.Ensure the cricket size is appropriate for the newt.
BloodwormsLarvae of midge flies. They are red in color, hence the name.Can be live or frozen, readily available, loved by newts.Can be used as a treat rather than a staple diet due to its high fat content.
White WormsSmall worms that are easy to culture at home.Rich in protein.High in fat, so should be used sparingly.
EarthwormsA favourite food of many newt species.High in protein and other nutrients, readily available.Chop into small pieces for easy consumption. Ensure they are from a pesticide-free source.

Remember, variety is key to a balanced diet for your newt. It’s also recommended to supplement their food with a reptile multivitamin and calcium supplement to ensure they’re getting all the necessary nutrients.

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Interacting with Your Newt: Handling and Behavior

The Essentials of Handling Your Newt

When it comes to interacting with your newt, one critical factor to keep in mind is that less is often more. Unlike other pets, newts don’t typically enjoy being handled. Their skin is sensitive and absorbs substances quickly, which means the oils or residue on your hands could potentially harm them. So, before handling your newt, always make sure your hands are clean and free from soap, lotion, or chemicals.

However, occasional gentle handling can be necessary for health checks or tank maintenance. When doing so, be gentle and allow the newt to move freely. Quick or forceful movements can stress your newt or potentially cause injury. Always use a flat hand and let the newt crawl onto it. Try not to pick up the newt from above, as this can scare them.

Understanding Your Newt’s Behavior

Newts have their own unique ways of communicating their mood and health status. They are primarily nocturnal creatures and prefer to be active during the night. However, each newt is unique and might have slightly different habits. Observing your newt regularly can help you understand their behavior patterns better and identify any unusual behavior indicating potential health issues.

Signs of a happy and healthy newt include regular eating, clear eyes, smooth skin, and an active interest in their surroundings when awake. On the other hand, if your newt appears lethargic, refuses food, or has skin discolorations, these could be signs of stress or illness. Changes in behavior are often the first sign of a potential problem, so regular observation is key.

Providing Stimulation for Your Newt

While newts may not play with toys like dogs or cats, they do need environmental enrichment to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active. This can be achieved by creating a habitat that mimics their natural environment. Adding things like live plants, hiding places, and varying the types of food offered can go a long way in providing the stimulation your newt needs. You can also rearrange the elements in their tank occasionally to give them something new to explore.

Great Crested Newt
Great Crested Newt

Newt Health: Common Illnesses and their Prevention

Just like any living being, newts too can suffer from various health issues. As a newt owner, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with common ailments and their symptoms. This knowledge will help you act promptly, ensuring your pet receives appropriate treatment when needed.

Bacterial and Fungal Infections

A common affliction in newts is bacterial and fungal infections, which can arise due to inadequate water quality, improper temperature, or stress. Symptoms include lethargy, refusal to eat, skin discoloration, or fluffy white patches on the skin. To prevent these infections, regular water changes, maintaining proper water temperature, and using a suitable water conditioner are necessary. If you suspect a bacterial or fungal infection, it’s advisable to consult a vet specializing in exotic pets who can prescribe the appropriate antibiotic or antifungal treatment.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

Newts are susceptible to metabolic bone disease (MBD), resulting from a lack of calcium, vitamin D3, or an imbalance in their calcium to phosphorus ratio. Symptoms may include slow growth, deformed bones, or difficulty moving. Prevention includes providing a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D3. If MBD is suspected, a vet should be consulted immediately to discuss possible treatments, including dietary changes and supplementation.


Internal parasites, such as worms, are another potential health issue. Symptoms can range from weight loss despite a healthy appetite to bloating and abnormal feces. Regular fecal exams by a vet can help detect and treat these parasites before they cause serious harm.

It’s crucial to remember that prevention is the best cure. By ensuring a clean environment, balanced diet, and stress-free habitat, you can significantly reduce the chances of your newt contracting these illnesses. However, always consult a vet at the first sign of illness to ensure your pet receives the best possible care. Regular vet visits can also help catch any potential issues early, contributing to the longevity and quality of your newt’s life.

Newt Reproduction

If you have a male and female newt, the chances are they will eventually mate. Be aware though that female newts can lay hundreds of eggs (depending on the species). They typically lay their eggs in the leaves of plants. They do this so that the eggs are hidden to protect them from predators. As well as this, adult newts sometimes eat newt eggs. So if the eggs are not in plain sight, they have a better chance of survival.

To ensure the survival of your hatched newt larvae, it is best to remove the adult newts once the eggs have hatched as they have also been known to eat their own young. Once the larvae have grown, you can place the adults back in the same aquarium.

Newt larvae require feeding more often than adult newts. You will also need to look for micro foods that they can eat, such as micro worms or newly hatched brine shrimp. Alternatively, you could chop earthworms into small pieces so that it is easier for them to manage. So while adult newts require feeding every two to three days, larvae have be fed daily to help them grow.

Equipment and Maintenance Cost: The Financial Aspect of Newt Keeping

Investing in a pet newt isn’t just about giving it your time and affection, it’s also about providing it with a home that mimics its natural environment and food that nourishes its unique physiological needs. All this comes with a certain financial commitment.

Initial Setup

First and foremost, the equipment required for a newt habitat includes an aquarium (aquatic or semi-aquatic, based on the newt species you’ve chosen), a filter system, a heater (in some cases), a screen cover, and a tank light. The size and specifics of this equipment will depend on your pet’s species and number, but expect to spend anywhere between $100 to $200 on the initial setup.

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Maintenance Cost

Monthly maintenance of your newt’s habitat is an ongoing cost. This includes food, water conditioner, vitamin and calcium supplements, and the cost of electricity to run the aquarium system. Newts typically feast on a diet of insects, so expect to spend around $10 to $20 per month on feeding. Water conditioners and supplements, while not used in large quantities, will need regular replenishing. Additionally, electricity usage will vary depending on your specific equipment, but be aware that it can add a small sum to your utility bill.


Like any other pet, newts also need medical attention from time to time. Regular vet check-ups, potential treatments, and even emergency care all add up. While these costs can fluctuate, it’s always a good idea to keep a budget of around $100-$200 per year set aside for potential healthcare needs.

Replacement and Upgrades

Finally, keep in mind that equipment does not last forever. Filters, heaters, and even tanks will eventually need replacement or upgrading. These costs are not monthly, but they do occur periodically and should be accounted for in your budget planning.

Owning a pet newt is indeed a commitment, both in terms of time and money. However, when you see your newt thriving in its meticulously maintained habitat, you’ll undoubtedly feel that every penny spent was worth it. Remember, the joy of pet ownership is priceless!

Common Newt
Common Newt

The Legalities of Owning a Newt

Understanding Regional Restrictions

From the rolling hills of North America to the bustling cities of Europe, the presence of newts can be a delightful addition to the natural world. Yet, these endearing creatures are not simply free for the taking. In many regions, owning a newt as a pet is subject to certain legal restrictions. Depending on your location, laws may dictate whether or not you can keep newts as pets, which species you can own, and how they must be cared for.

Consider the United States, for instance. In some states, the ownership of certain species of newts is strictly regulated. This is because many of these species are either protected or considered to be invasive. Ownership without the proper permits can result in hefty fines and even criminal charges.

Respecting Newt Conservation

While it might seem rather stringent, these laws are rooted in a deep concern for conservation and respect for the natural world. Many species of newts are at risk or have been flagged as endangered due to habitat destruction, pollution, and illegal pet trade. By regulating the ownership of these creatures, we’re able to better protect them in the wild, ensuring their survival for future generations.

Sourcing Your Pet Newt Responsibly

When sourcing your pet newt, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder or pet store. These establishments will be knowledgeable about the applicable laws and will ensure that their animals have been bred in captivity, not taken from the wild. If in doubt, it never hurts to ask for documentation or certification.

So, before you bring a newt into your home, remember to do a bit of homework. Reach out to your local wildlife agency or do some online research to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s all in the interest of these fascinating creatures’ wellbeing.

Owning a newt can be an enriching experience, imbued with opportunities to learn and grow. Yet, it’s essential to ensure that your newfound companionship also respects the laws of the land and the need for environmental stewardship.

How Long Do Newts Live?

There are some common misconceptions about how long newts live. There are those who believe newts only live for a year or two, but this is not true. In fact, with proper care and attention, some newt species can live up to fifteen years. The average lifespan of smooth newts in the wild for example is six to fourteen years. In captivity, this can be even longer.

Newts are interesting creatures and make for great pets. They are also quite easy to look after provided they have suitable housing and are fed regularly.

How to Care for a Newt – Conclusion

In conclusion, caring for a newt is a rewarding experience that offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of these unique amphibians. It’s a commitment that extends beyond mere ownership, requiring attention to their habitat, diet, health, and behavior. From understanding their preferences for water and land to feeding them a nutritionally balanced diet, every aspect contributes to their wellbeing. Remember, the lifespan of a newt can extend up to 15 years with the right care and attention, making it a long-term commitment. Ultimately, the joy and satisfaction derived from seeing your newt thrive in its carefully curated environment make all your efforts worthwhile. As with any pet, the bond you build with your newt will be as enriching for you as the care you provide is for them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Newts are either aquatic or semi-aquatic and require a habitat that accommodates both land and water.
  2. They are generally hardy and can withstand slight fluctuations in their environment.
  3. Newts are carnivorous and require a diet rich in insects.
  4. Newts’ skin is sensitive, so it’s important to have clean hands when handling them.
  5. Monthly maintenance of a newt’s habitat includes food, water conditioner, and vitamin and calcium supplements.
  6. Regular vet check-ups and potential treatments are necessary for newt healthcare.
  7. Reputable breeders or pet stores should be chosen when sourcing a pet newt.
  8. Proper care and attention can extend a newt’s lifespan up to 15 years.


Q: What is a newt?

A: A newt is a small aquatic amphibian, similar to a salamander but typically spending more time in the water. They are known for their striking colors and patterns, and are quite popular in the pet trade.

Q: What does a newt need for its habitat?

A: Newts require a unique habitat that includes both land and water. This is often accomplished with a partially filled aquarium, providing space for both swimming and basking. The habitat should include hiding places, clean water, and a secure lid to prevent escape.

Q: What temperature should the newt’s environment be?

A: The temperature for a newt’s environment should typically be kept between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius). Always ensure there are no rapid temperature changes as newts can be sensitive to this.

Q: What do newts eat?

A: Newts are carnivorous. They feed on a diet of live food such as insects, worms, and even small aquatic animals. Some newts also accept commercial pellets designed for amphibians.

Q: How often should I feed my newt?

A: Newts should generally be fed every 2-3 days. However, the amount and frequency of feeding can depend on the age and species of the newt. Always observe your newt’s behavior and adjust the feeding routine as necessary.

Q: How much water does a newt need?

A: Newts require an aquatic environment where they can fully submerge. The water portion of the tank should be deep enough for the newt to swim and play. However, they also need a dry area to rest and bask.

Q: How often should I change the water in the newt’s habitat?

A: It is recommended to change at least 20% of the water weekly, although this could vary depending on the size of your tank and the number of newts. Ensure the new water is dechlorinated before adding it to the tank.

Q: What are common health issues in newts?

A: Some common health issues in newts include skin disorders, fungal infections, and metabolic bone disease. Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect and treat these issues early.

Q: How can I handle my newt safely?

A: Generally, it’s best to avoid unnecessary handling of newts as their skin is delicate and can absorb harmful substances from human hands. If you must handle your newt, ensure your hands are clean and wet to minimize damage to their skin.

Q: Do newts need companionship?

A: Newts can be kept individually or in small groups. If keeping more than one newt, make sure they are of the same species to prevent aggression. Also, ensure your tank is big enough to accommodate multiple newts comfortably.

Q: Can I keep a newt with other animals?

A: It’s usually not recommended to house newts with other animals, as newts have specific care requirements that can conflict with those of other pets. Also, some animals may pose a threat to the newt.

Q: How can I tell if my newt is stressed?

A: Signs of stress in a newt can include decreased appetite, lethargy, frequent hiding, or abnormal skin color. If you observe any of these signs, it may indicate a problem with your newt’s habitat or health.


I am a content creator by profession but exotic animals are one of my great passions in life. Over the course of my adulthood, I have had the pleasure of looking after stick insects, terrapins, an Egyptian tortoise, giant African land snails, a crested gecko, a Chilean rose tarantula, a couple of curly-haired tarantulas, and a selection of millipedes, centipedes and worms!

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