The Eastern Newt is also referred to as the red spotted newt or the central newt. They are native to parts of United States and Canada, and there are different subspecies based on region. These newts can live to be 5 years old with the right care.
Eastern newts can be anywhere from yellow to green to orange in color. They often have spots running down their bodies on either side. These newts can reach 5 inches in length fully grown, but start their lives as small aquatic larvae. After 3 months the larvae will change to efts, which will be about 3 inches long. During the next year an eft will slow transform into a newt.
Newts should never be handled for long periods of time because they become dehydrated and stressed easily. Handling a newt can even poison it because humans have salts and oils on their bodies that the newt will absorb.
As adults, eastern newts will eat worms, insects, and even small fish and their eggs. A diet of cut up earthworms or bloodworms with a couple crickets will suit an adult newt just fine. Other options are mealworms and wax worms.
A little experimentation may be required to find what your newt will eat, and what it will ignore. Some newts will want to come up onto land to eat, so put worms in a small dish next to the water. Other newts will live a completely aquatic life and you can simply drop the worms or crickets into the water for them to consume.
These newts do not require a lot of room, and a 5-10 gallon glass aquarium with a screen lid will work perfectly. Eastern newts can live in groups, but as adults they will mate and produce eggs. The enclosure should be two thirds water and one-third land for adults. These water rules do not apply to larva or juvenile newts.
A small gravel like fish gravel works well. Make sure the gravel is large enough so your newt cannot accidently ingest one. For juveniles, or efts, a substrate of bed-a-beast mixed with potting soil will work well. You can also provide large leaves on the floor of the enclosure to make it feel more natural. Avoid gravel or sand when they are efts.
Many eastern newts are known to be totally aquatic as adults, so provide objects like rock, plants and platforms in the water. Efts need leaf cover as well as a small hide on one end of the enclosure to feel safe.
As long as your house stays at room temperature and does not drop below 55F, no extra heat is required for this species of newt. These newts are hardy, so do not worry about water temperature. Eastern newts do not need any UV lighting.
Adults need their enclosure to be two-thirds water and one-third land. Some newts will never use the land as adults. Many keepers disagree on water depth, but provide at least 4 inches of fresh water. Newts are very capable swimmers so there are no maximum depth restrictions. A water filter is recommended unless you want to replace half of the water with fresh water every week.
Spot clean the enclosure daily, and replace half of the water weekly if a filter is not used. Remove uneaten insects and worms, and clean the gravel every 4 months so bacteria do not grow.
Breeding this species of newt is easy enough, and you will end up with a large number of new newts if you do it right. Males and females can be kept together in groups for the entire year. To breed, find a male and a female that are both at least 2 years old. Hibernation is not necessary, but if you drop the temperature 10F for a couple months and then bring the temperature back up, it may induce mating.
If you see a male and a female mating, it may appear that the male is drowning or injuring the female, but she will be okay. Mating often looks like the two newts are wrestling, and once the male is done, the female will lay her eggs.
Eggs will be laid in the water, and one female produces about 200-300 eggs in a year. Once the eggs hatch, carefully remove them from the enclosure and place them in a different aquarium until they hatch.
As larvae, the recently hatched newts are extremely hungry, and if they are underfed or overcrowded cannibalism will occur. Feed larvae daphnia or pinhead worms. They will spend this entire stage of their life under water, and will need places in the water to hide and explore. After about 12 weeks these future newts move out of the larvae stage and become efts. If you do not move the larvae out of the water, they will turn into efts and drown.
An eft will live completely out of the water and they require only a small, shallow water bowl to stay hydrated. Mist the enclosure once a day so humidity levels stay around 60%. The substrate should consist of potting soil or coconut fibers and a couple broad leaves for shelter. The eft stage will last at least a year, and during this time they will be very hungry. Feed them crickets, bloodworms or earthworms daily.
The eastern or red spotted newt is fun to own, and easy to care for. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
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