Newts are amphibians and they are much like salamanders. There are hundreds of species of newts and salamanders, most of which are terrestrial, but some are aquatic.
There are several types of newts found in the pet trade, with each part of the world (America, Europe, and Asia) having their own species that are most common to that particular area.
There are three most common European species which are the crested newts (Triturus sp.), the European newts (Tylotriton sp.), and the banded newts (Ommatotriton sp.), and there are some less common ones such as the Spanish Ribbed newt (the largest newt) and the Alpine newt.
North America has the Eastern newt (Notophthalmus sp.) of this species, the red-spotted newt is the more common one and lives in the Rocky Mountains. America also has the Western newt, the red-bellied newt, the Californian newt, and the rough-skinned newt. They can all be found in the west of the Rockies.
Southeast Asia and Japan have four species that are most encountered as pets, the fire belly newts, the paddle tail newts, the crocodile newts, and the warty newts.
Handling and Feeding
Newts have the surprising ability to regenerate certain parts of their bodies, such as their legs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and jaws. It is kind of like a lizard being able to grow back his tail. The cells have the ability to de-differentiate, reproduce, and then de-differentiate again to grow or make the new eye or heart etc.!
Newts have toxic skin as a defense against predators. The substance is secreted through their skin. Because of this, it is recommended that you wash your hands very well after you have handled them, for if swallowed, this toxin can cause some slight problems with your stomach.
Newts are carnivores, and insects, worms etc. are their main food source. Yet, those raised in captivity can have a wider variety of foods. Do not ever feed your newt plants, because they do not have the ability to digest these, which means that the plant material will stay in your pet's stomach and rot, eventually killing it.
You can give your newt frozen foods and prepared products, including live insects and even feeder fish (depending on your pet's size). If you have a terrestrial species, you will have to feed it on land but if your newt is aquatic, you can feed it in the water. In fact, most species prefer the water.
To keep your newt happy and healthy, it is a good idea to vary its diet between frozen food and whatever else you are feeding it. If you are just starting out, try small portions of different things until you find something it likes (crickets, black worms, brine shrimp, glass/ghost shrimp, white worms, fruit flies etc.).
When you feed your newt, you can use tweezers or your finger. It is better to use your finger because the tips of the tweezers can seriously hurt the inside of its little mouth. When feeding, wiggle the food slowly back and forth because this makes it look more appetizing and real (to the newt).
Try to feed it at the same time every third day; if you change its feeding time, do it slowly, taking care to not change it too much at a time, until you have it at the hour that is best for you and your newt.
Aquarium - Keeping it Clean
It is important that your pet has a clean living environment; water that has not been changed or filtered properly can result in a buildup of ammonia in the tank, something that can kill your little pet.
There are two types of filtration you can get for your aquarium, mechanical and biological. They both require about the same level of maintenance and both reportedly work with just about the same amount of efficiency.
The mechanical one is above water and the Biological one is below. One very important thing is that it is a good idea to use rocks decorations to break down the flow of water coming from the filter. Newts have little legs and cannot fight the strong current as fish can.
Newts are cute creatures, and if properly taken care of, they can bring a person a lot of joy! They don't require much cost in their upkeep. Every person who loves animals should try the newt as a pet at least once because they make wonderful pets.