Common Newt

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Other common names: Smooth Newt

Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris

The basics:
The Common Newt is a small, attractive creature that does well in captivity and has long been a favorite of European hobbyists. In common with related species, males change their appearance during the breeding season and engage in interesting courtship displays.

The Common Newt is found throughout most of Europe, being absent only from the Iberian Peninsula, southern Italy and France, and the extreme north. Moist woodlands are favored, but this adaptable creature also inhabits brushy meadows, farm fringes, river valleys, gardens, and parks.

Appearance / health:
The back may be gray, olive, or yellowish-brown in color, while the ventral area is black-spotted yellow or orange. Males bear dark spots on the dorsal surface. Adults reach 7-12 cm (2.8-4.8 in) in length.

Captive longevities of 10+ years have been recorded. Bacterial and fungal infections brought on by poor water quality and/or abraded skin are the most commonly-encountered health problems.

Behavior / temperament:
Common Newts adjust well to captivity if provided proper care. Aquatic phase adults are more active and 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 or with wet hands 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 groups. Moist sphagnum or carpet moss makes a good substrate, with cork bark rolls serving as retreats. Adults in the aquatic (breeding) phase should be kept in a filtered aquarium half-filled with chlorine/chloramine-free water and supplied with floating plants and cork bark as resting spots. Gravel, if used, should be of a size that cannot be swallowed. High humidity (75-85%) as well as ample air circulation is critical to good health.

Common Newts do best at 62-74 F, and will remain active at lower temperatures. They become 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 invertebrates are accepted. Aquatic forms readily devour commercial newt chow. Most meals offered to terrestrial adults should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.

Breeding males may be distinguished by their notched mid-back crest and thickened rear legs. A cooling-off period of 4-6 weeks at 40-45 F may spark breeding activity. Females produce 50-300+ eggs and attach them, singly or in small groups, to submerged plants. The larvae may be raised on live blackworms and frozen bloodworms. Metamorphosis is attained in 2-3 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

Common Newt Behavior Tip

Common Newt

From ford2011 May 14 2016 7:24AM


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