Acquired: Pet store
Posted Jul 16, 2014
Red-Belly (also called Fire-Belly) Newts are attractive, interesting, easy pets. They don't need much to live happily: clean water to swim in, some dry land in their enclosure to climb up on when they feel like it; a few flakes of fish-food every day, maybe a mealworm every now and then as an extra treat. You might be surprised by just how long-lived they are, especially for such a small pet. I few friends and family-members of mine have also kept Red-Bellies, and the newts all lived for over ten years.
My own newt lived happily for eleven years in a small aquarium with shallow water, a substrate of gravel, a smooth rock to climb on, and a little castle to hide in. I never needed to worry about maintaining temperature or humidity in the aquarium—as long as it didn't get too hot (and he was never, ever left in full sun) he was fine with the little temperature fluctuations in the room where he lived. I cleaned his cage and replaced his water a couple times each month—not too often, to avoid unnecessary stress for him, and also because he liked it when a little algae grew on the glass. It gave him extra places to hide.
Newts are fairly reclusive. Mine spent a good deal of time out of sight. Sometimes I wouldn't see him at all during the day. I would sprinkle in a few flakes of fish-food, and come back later to see it was all gone. No sign of the newt—the meal would just disappear when I wasn't looking. Other days he would be more sociable and swim around for everybody to see. He never got particularly comfortable being held, though—the only times I handled him were when I cleaned his cage; and going by the experience of other people I've known who kept newts, that is typical. They aren't the pet for you if you want to carry your friend around or visit with him outside of his enclosure.
But all-around, they're easy and interesting to keep, if you don't expect too much interaction.