Other common names: Smooth Newt
Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris
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
Torsten and Tina - Two newts from the forests in Sweden
Instead of buying newts from the zoo I found a lot ot them in the forest as a kid. I thought they wouldn´t survive the winter inside but they did. They never even hibernate. I fed them with live worms or dead frozen mosquito larvaes.
After about 1,5 years they reproduced and got a few babies. Unfortunately only one survived and the rest got eaten by the parents.
Lovely animals living both on land and in water..
From Temperani Sep 24 2015 1:38AM
It's not an Alpine Newt, but a smooth newt (common newt) in the UK. We found him by a pond and put him in a fish tank ( me and my younger sister). We didn't put a lot of water in the tank, about 6 inches of water. We put in a big rock and he spent a lot of time sitting on the rock. We fed him bloodworms and he was happy with them. He didn't mind being handled either which was nice. He was active and was visible most of the time. We put other stuff in the tank, he did like hiding sometimes.
Keep an eye out as they do tend to sit on the rock more than they do in the water. Sometimes he would dry up, I'm not kidding, it was a bit strange. So we would put him in the water than he was fine.
I have heard about them escaping before, but he never tried to escape. We also put gravel in the bottom of the tank. We used cold water, not freezing cold though! We sometimes fed him dead flies (which surprisingly he ate) and earthworms, cut up. I didn't do it, my dad did, I didn't have the stomach. I also put soil down for him sometimes too. They make lovely pets.
He was dark a green/brown. So sweet. He wasn't very big, around 9cm long.
We had to release him back into the wild, my friends pond, after a year. I love keeping him, highly recommended pets.
Downsides, there wasn't any asides from him drying up and having to keep an eye on that. The tank needed cleaning every week though..
From Rebecca2015 Mar 27 2015 10:26PM
A Common Problem with the Common Newt?
Overall, my experience with the Common newts I owned were very positive in terms of their personality, activity level, and dietary needs. They were easy to feed and would kindly crawl on my hands when I would take them out of the tank and play with them each day after school. I especially liked how light they were. They also seemed to have a certain laid-back curiosity about them in which their heads and eyes steadily surveyed their surroundings while you handled them. They had energy, crawling on my hands fast and swimming with vitality. They were just very easy-going creatures from what I remember and I really enjoyed them for that.
However, neither my mom nor my adolescent self knew virtually anything about newts prior to walking out with my initial trio (which would be the first of my roughly two more sets of newts) from the store. I know that this was the main reason for my key problem came about with owning these amphibians.
The living environment has to be just right for Common newts. All my life I had owned more customary, easier to nurture animals like fish and dogs and cats. But, amphibians need to be kept a bit away from windows and drafts in the air as well as having 25% of their water changed in their tanks weekly. I violated all three of those principles. So unfortunately, I and my newts, paid a price for that. With each new set I'd buy, the same scenario happened. One morning I would leave out the door for school to alive, pleasant newts swimming around and lying leisurely in their tank. Then, that afternoon, coming in the door from school, I would look over at the tank to find the newts bloated and floating limply at the top.
Experiencing this at such a young age and with parents who were not too excited to touch them, I was defeated and felt bad that I hadn't researched enough to know how to properly care for my amphibian pets. So, with that last (and third) set of newts, I finally decided that I was officially done with buying them.
The decision had little to do with them and everything to do with me. While they were very kind and welcoming creatures, they also had delicate living needs that I couldn't (and probably still can't) meet..
From ford2011 May 14 2016 7:24AM