Alpine Newt

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Other common names: Tritón Alpino

Scientific name: Ichthyosaura (formerly Mesotriton) alpestris

The basics:
The Alpine Newt is a small, attractive species that does well for those able to provide the cool temperatures it requires. A favorite of European hobbyists, male Alpine Newts develop showy crests during the breeding season.

The range covers much of central Europe, from Denmark to Romania and Bulgaria. Alpine Newts dwell in mountainside forests, from lower reaches to the alpine zone.

Appearance / health:
The back may be gray, olive, near-black or brown in color, while the ventral area is bright yellow or orange; dark blotches are sometimes seen. Adults reach 3.2-4.8 inches in length.

Captive longevities of 10+ years have been recorded. Bacterial and fungal infections brought on by exposure to warm temperatures are the most commonly-encountered health problems.

Behavior / temperament:
Alpine Newts adjust well to captivity if provided appropriately-cool temperatures. Aquatic phase adults are easier to maintain than are terrestrial specimens.

Newt skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth. They should be handled only when necessary, and then by being urged into a water-filled container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed.

Two to four adults may be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium; larger tanks will support small groups.

Moist sphagnum or carpet moss makes a good substrate, with cork bark rolls or other bark serving as retreats. Adults in the aquatic phase (captives may move into water even if not in breeding condition) should be kept in a filtered aquarium half-filled with cool, chlorine-free water and supplied with floating plants as resting spots. Gravel, which may be swallowed, should not be used. High humidity (75-85%) as well as ample air circulation is critical to good health.

Alpine Newts do best at 50-62 F, and will remain active at lower temperatures. They are stressed and eventually rendered ill by sustained warm temperatures.

A variety of tiny invertebrates should be provided as food. Sow bugs, small crickets, white worms, fruit flies, blackworms, chopped earthworms and other commercially-available invertebrates are accepted. Aquatic forms readily devour commercial newt chow.

Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.

Males may be distinguished from females by the mid-back crest that develops when they are in breeding condition. A cooling-off period of 4-6 weeks at 36-40 F may spark breeding activity. Females attach flat egg masses containing 5-200 eggs to submerged plants and rocks. The larvae may be raised on live blackworms and frozen bloodworms. Metamorphosis is attained in 2 weeks to 2.5 months, depending upon temperature. In some populations, larvae retain their gills and remain entirely aquatic but become capable of reproduction when mature (this strategy is known as neoteny).

Written by Frank Indiviglio


reddish color, Interesting Little Fellows, great addition, amazing little creatures, great fun


reclusive little animal, large tank, toxic secretion, skin, sludge warms


long lifespan, greedy little things, good filter

Alpine Newt Health Tip

Alpine Newt

From angel1987 Mar 26 2014 10:40PM


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