Himalayan Crocodile Newt

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Other common names: Himalayan Knobby Newt, Himalayan Newt, Crocodile Newt, Alligator Newt, Himalayan Salamander, Red Knobby Newt, Burmese Crocodile Newt

Scientific name: Tylototriton verrocosus

The basics:
The attractively-marked Himalayan Crocodile Newt has much to recommend it as a pet, although it is temperature sensitive and somewhat inactive. While the term “newt” is most often applied to highly-aquatic salamanders, this species spends most of its life on land.

The range extends from northeastern India southeast through Myanmar and Thailand to northern Vietnam and southern China. Himalayan Crocodile Newts inhabit riverside montane forests, rice fields, and wet meadows to an altitude of at least 2,500 meters (8,202 ft) above sea level.

Appearance / health:
The thick, rough-skinned body is dark brown in color, and marked with light brown to reddish-orange along the head, back, legs, body warts, and tail. The head is topped by a bony ridge. Adults reach 23 cm (9.2 in) in length.

Captive longevities of 15+ years are known. Heat stress, and the resulting bacterial and fungal infections, is the most commonly-encountered health concern.

Behavior / temperament:
Himalayan Crocodile Newts are not very active but usually content to remain in view and willing to feed by day once adjusted to captivity.

They should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Salamander skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

A single adult or pair of Himalayan Crocodile Newts can be kept in a 20 gallon aquarium; larger tanks can support small groups.

Moist sphagnum, carpet moss, or terrarium liners make good substrates, and cork bark rolls or plastic caves serve well as retreats. Himalayan Crocodile Newts do best at 58-70 F, and are stressed by sustained temperatures over 73 F. In many locales, they are best housed in cool basements or air-conditioned rooms. A shallow bowl of chlorine/chloramine free water, or a filtered pool, should always be available.

Earthworms are ideal as the bulk of a Himalayan Crocodile Newt’s diet. Roaches, sow bugs, crickets, locusts, butterworms, horn worms, and other invertebrates should also be offered. Mealworms have been implicated in digestive system disorders, and should be avoided. Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement may be used 2-3x weekly.

Mature males may be distinguished from females by their smaller size and the swollen area about the cloaca. A cooling-off period of 4-6 weeks at 45-50 F may spark breeding activity. Females deposit 20-150+ eggs on submerged plants. The larvae may be raised on live blackworms, chopped earthworms, and frozen bloodworms.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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