Newts are semiaquatic amphibians. Newts are very much similar to the Salamander, and both belong to the same family. Interestingly, Newts are one of those species which can regrow their organs. Found across the globe, these animals are found in different colors and sizes. They are attractive with dark spots over bright scales. The species is nocturnal. They blend very well in their habitat and hide under the rocks and leaf litter. Newts carry toxins in their skin as protection from their predators, and few species are believed to be toxic to even humans. They carry excellent ability to swim and faster underwater than on the ground.
A few of the Newt species have become vulnerable, and a few are endangered due to human expansion and pollution of water bodies causing their habitat loss. They are an essential part of our ecosystem, and proper measures need to be taken for their survival by preventing pollution of water bodies.
Despite their appearance, Newts are not lizards and are more closely related to the frogs than they are to any reptile. They are closely related to the Salamander. There are roughly a hundred species of Newts found throughout the world and 15 species of Newts are found in the northern hemisphere.
Newts belong to the Amphibia class of the Salamandridae family and are found in various colors and sizes across the globe. There are many types of Newts like Warty, Crested, Alpine, Triturus, among others.
Though exact data is not available on how many Newts are there globally, there are over a hundred species of Newts around the world. Their number is declining due to human expansion and pollution.
They can be found around a large portion of the world, from North American regions to Europe and North Africa to Asia except Australia and Antarctica. They prefer ephemeral wetlands for breeding, but as adults, they are terrestrial.
The Newt habitat includes both water and land. For part of a year, they live aquatic life in the stagnant pond and other water bodies, especially during the breeding season. However, some deviate into slow rivers and streams of fresh water. Most of the year, Newts are terrestrial and spend most of the time in the humid undergrowth under rocks, logs, moss leaf litter to stay away from predators. You can also find them in grasslands and forests like the Red-spotted Newt of eastern North America.
They are solitary animals and come together during the mating season in water bodies like ponds. They are semiaquatic species and coexist with many other species like fishes, mollusks, snakes, and frogs.
Depending on the species, a Newt lifespan varies between 6-20 years in the wild. It is a semiaquatic species, and the availability of water bodies is vital for its survival and longevity.
Newts have a different style of reproducing. They breed in water. Males of this species attract and seek the females by wafting a glandular secretion. Once a female is around the male grips the female with its broader feet. After courtship, the male transfers spermatophore, which the female collects with her cloaca. About three hundred fertilized eggs are laid by the female on broadleaved aquatic plants about a week later. Newts undergo metamorphosis. The egg hatches and a larva or tadpole come out. The tadpoles have external gills to help them breathe in water and a tail to swim around. They grow forelimbs first and later hind limbs. Then grow for few more months before transitioning into their terrestrial form. At this stage, they are known as an eft and later they become adult Newts.
According to the IUCN Red List, few species come under the Least Concern list while others are Vulnerable and Endangered. The Yunnan lake Newt of China is one species to become extinct in recent times.
Newts have a slender body with four legs, with four toes each and a long tail. Sometimes they appear like a cross between lizard and frog. They have beautiful dark spots all over their body. The tail is rudder-like, which makes them good swimmers. The Newt is an amphibian and can breathe both on land and underwater. Males develop wavy crest during the breeding season.
They are very small four-legged creatures confusing onlookers to think that they are lizards in the wild. They are shy and nocturnal species and spend most of their time hiding. They are beautiful amphibians found in different colors across the world.
Newts mainly communicate by chemical and visual cues. But they also rely on low-frequency sounds (not much is known about their auditory ability). Their sounds are barely audible, but yes, they have vocal communication as well.
Newts are small semi-aquatic creatures. There are so many species of Newts in the world that they wary in size and colors a lot. But most of them grow between 1.7-5.9 in. The largest Newt is the Great-crested Newt which is found only in Europe and female Newts reach seven inches in length.
They move very slowly on land but are fast swimmers. On land, a Newt can run at a speed of 30 mph. They are prey to a plethora of species, including the snakes like garters and predatory fish, and sometimes birds. The young also have to be cautious of the adults as cannibalism is quite common.
Newts can weigh anywhere between 0.3-1.8 oz. These small creatures vary in size and length.
Newts do not have any particular name based on their gender. Mostly, males are larger than females with an exception in some species.
Newt babies that come out of eggs are called tadpoles. It grows into the terrestrial form, and this juvenile Newt is called an eft. After hatching from eggs, the larvae undergo metamorphosis and grows their limbs to become an eft.
They are born carnivores and remain so their entire lifetime. Young larvae consume aquatic invertebrates such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, and worms. The terrestrial adults have the ability to consume any small animal they can catch and swallow whole. Though they mainly feed on slow-moving mollusks such as slugs and the Newt diet includes abundantly available isopods such as woodlice.
Newts are not potentially dangerous but their skin is toxic as protection from its predators. This toxin can be a real problem if ingested and can not be absorbed topically. So humans should handle them with care, as the toxin may get into the body if they come into contact with bruises or cuts. But the rough skin of a particular Pacific Newt species and Great Britain crested Newt creates enough tetrodotoxin to kill an adult human being. A species of Newt called Taricha found in western North American regions is also toxic.
Newts are taken in as a pet by few. They are semiaquatic animals, and hence they are kept in aquariums with docking areas of at least five gallons size. Closed lids are a must to prevent them from escaping. Since they are nocturnal, an aquarium with no direct sunlight is suitable for survival. They do well with tropical fishes as well.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The Japanese fire-bellied Newt can regenerate its own eye lenses multiple times throughout its lifespan.
There are 10 species of Warty Newt. The Warty Newt is found in China, Laos, and Vietnam.
Newts cannot jump. They cannot even climb the walls but can walk over little rocks and heights for food. They can walk and swim but jumping is an unlikely thing.
At first glance, there is not a whole lot of difference between the Newts and other Salamanders. But typically, Newts have drier and rougher skin, whereas Salamander's skin is usually wet and soft. The Newt slaw also possesses true teeth in both their jaws and their regenerative capability tends to be more extreme than that of Salamanders. Both are poisonous and carnivorous species.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our newt coloring pages.