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Rough-skinned Newt

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Other common names: Roughskin Newt; Oregon Newt; Mazama Newt; Crater Lake Newt; Golden Newt; Orange-bellied Newt; Western Newt

Scientific name: Taricha granulosa

The basics:
The Rough-skinned Newt is native to the west coast of North America, from British Columbia south to northern California. It is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands and woodlands. The Rough-skinned Newt is considered to be the most aquatic of the western newts.

Two subspecies are recognized: Taricha granulosa granulosa and Taricha granulosa mazamae. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)

Appearance / health:
The Rough-skinned Newt is similar in appearance to the California Newt (Taricha torosa), but has smaller eyes, and yellow irises.

Behavior / temperament:
The Rough-skinned Newt is one of the more toxic newts when compared to other newt species. As with all salamanders and newts, they do secrete a toxin to help defend themselves against predators. In captivity, these defense mechanisms are rarely used and therefore, are harmless to humans. Always wash hands before and after handing. Handling should not be done often, and should only be necessary during routine maintenance.

Housing:
Large tanks are always best but 1-4 newts can live in a 20 gallon half land half water tank. Smaller thanks should not be used as it’s harder to achieve this as well as not giving them enough space. If housing more than 4 newts, the tank size must be increased.

The water section must have a depth of 10-15 inches with the temperatures of 50-65F. It must also have a filter, with the best being an under gravel filter. Live plants can also help keep the water section healthy as well as serving as places to lay eggs. The land section must be easy accessible and also a temperature between 50-65F. A cooling system may be used if these temperatures are not obtained, or regular water changes with cold water can be used (once a day). Even adding a block of ice can work to keep temps down especially in warm summer areas. About once a month it would be best to clean all rocks, gravel, sand, and even switching vegetation for tank maintenance. No UVB is needed unless there are live plants in the tank.

Diet:
Adults outside of breeding season should be offered crickets, wax worms, small worms, spiders, flies etc. and ever 3rd feeding the foods should be dusted with a multivitamin supplement. Adults during breeding season should be offered bloodworms, tubifex worms, chopped worms, and even lean meat offered by feeding tongs. Larvae should be offered daphnia, bloodworm, tubifex, and brine shrimp.

Breeding:
A cool down period is necessary before breeding these newts. Keeping them in the refrigerator at a constant 36-39F is best. If you don’t want to keep them in the fridge, you can also place them outside (if in a cold winter area) but make sure they cannot freeze so putting them in a shed or greenhouse type of location would be best. Of course, you could also use a commercially available water chiller as well. If properly cooled, the newts may breed successfully. Over the period of a week, slowly bring the temperatures back to normal. During this time, they will need to be in a mostly aquatic aquarium with many live plants for egg laying. During courtship, the male will begin to fan his tail at the female, releasing sex pheromones. If the female is receptive to his advances, she will begin to follow the male. The male will deposit his spermatophore that the female will then walk over and obtain with her vent area. The female can lay up to 200 eggs depending on her health, age, and size. The eggs must be removed to prevent cannibalism. Hatching is slow in cold water but higher temperatures may reduce successful hating rates. Once hatched, development can take as long as 40-80 weeks.