Eastern Newt

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Other common names: Red Spotted Newt; Central Newt; Peninsula Newt; Broken Striped Newt

Scientific name: Notophthalmus viridescens

The basics:
The attractive, hardy Eastern Newt makes a fine pet for folks new to amphibian-keeping, yet its complex life history renders it of interest to experienced pros as well.

This is the most widely-distributed of North America’s many newts, being found from Nova Scotia to Ontario, Canada in the north and south to Mississippi and Texas, USA. Four subspecies are recognized.

The adult aquatic form inhabits the still, heavily-vegetated waters of ponds, swamps, ditches and lakes, while the terrestrial efts (juveniles) may be found in nearby open forests and brushy meadows.

Appearance / health:
The adult Eastern Newt’s upper body is green in color and sports 2 rows of red to orange spots along the back; the ventral surface is greenish-yellow. The efts are clad in brilliant orange-red or reddish-brown. Adults average 2.6-5.5 inches in length.

With proper care, Eastern Newts may live to 15+ years of age. Pets will swallow small gravel bits, resulting in intestinal blockages. If ammonia levels are not kept low, “Red Leg” and other bacterial/fungal infections will take hold.

Behavior / Temperament:
Adult Eastern Newts become quite bold in captivity, often swimming to the surface for a meal when people are sighted. They are active by day and seem always to be foraging for a snack. Efts are also likely to wander about by day.

Newt skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth. Toxins transferred to the eyes have caused temporary blindness. 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.

A 10 gallon aquarium can house 4-6 adults or efts; larger groups will get-along in more spacious quarters. Gravel should be avoided, or of a size that cannot be swallowed.

A submersible or other filter and weekly partial water changes will help ensure low ammonia levels. Strong currents from filter outflows should be avoided. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water used in aquariums via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

Adults are highly-aquatic but do require cork bark or floating plants as resting spots. The land-dwelling efts do well in terrariums stocked with moist carpet moss as a substrate, pieces of bark under which to shelter, and a shallow water bowl. Newts can climb glass, so a secure cover is needed.

Adult and eft-stage Eastern Newts should be kept at a temperature range of 65-74 F. Sustained temperatures above 78 F may render them susceptible to bacterial/fungal infections.

Commercial newt diets and freeze-dried prawn serve well as a mainstay for adults. Live blackworms, chopped earthworms, tiny crickets, and guppies provide excellent supplementary nutrition, or can be used as the main diet if preferred. Efts will accept only small, live invertebrates such as ¼ inch crickets, fruit flies, springtails, and chopped earthworms.

Males have thick rear legs and develop dark, hard pads on the rear toes and swollen cloacal swellings when in breeding condition. Normal room temperature fluctuations often stimulate reproduction, while a sudden increase of water volume and a drop in water temperature will do so at most any time of year.

Females attach 20-400 eggs to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch 3-4 weeks and the larvae transform in 2-7 months, depending upon the subspecies and temperature. The larvae can be reared on chopped live blackworms and frozen bloodworms.

In most cases, larvae transform into a land-dwelling form known as an eft. This stage lasts from 3-7 years, after which the efts return to water and take on the adult coloration. Some populations skip the eft stage, while in others the gills are retained and the “adult larvae” remain entirely aquatic but become capable of reproduction (this strategy is known as neoteny).

Written by Frank Indiviglio


smart, great pets, super cute, entertaining


aquatic aquarium, cleaning process


juvenile stage, smaller food items

Helpful Eastern Newt Review

Eastern Newt

From Jace Feb 28 2015 8:08PM


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