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Salamander and Newt Care

Last Updated: 8/9/15

Salamander and Newt Care and Feeding - housing, feeding, keeping other animals with salamanders and newts
Salamander and Salamander Egg Photos
Salamander and Newt Books
Salamander and Newt Links
Where Can I Buy Some Salamanders?


Salamander and Newt Care and Feeding

Because I have little experience caring for salamanders or newts, I refer you to Newts and Salamanders by Frank Indiviglio, Barron's, 1997 as a guide for their care. Due to the many requests for general information, I will provide a little information on their care.

Housing:

Larval salamanders and newts as well as neotonic salamanders (those that remain aquatic throughout their lives) can be kept in aquatic setups without land. Aquariums ranging from 5 to over a 100 gallons can be used depending on the size and quantity of the individual amphibians being kept. The water should be maintained at a temperature proper for that species. A good filtration system is important as are water changes of 20-50% every one to two weeks at least.

Once larval salamanders and newts are nearing the time that they leave the water, an area of land must be provided. Any non-toxic material that floats or acts as a land mass can be used. Gravel, rocks, plastic platforms, etc. can be used.

Adult salamanders and newts (efts) that are non-aquatic should be provided with mostly a land area that is kept moist and relatively dark. Sphagnum moss, logs, etc. can be used in a 5-100+ gallon glass aquarium. The cage should be kept moist. Small water dishes are all that are needed except for breeding. Extremes in temperature and high levels of light should be avoided.

Feeding:

Larval salamanders and newts and neotonic salamanders (those that remain aquatic) can be fed almost any small, live animal that will fit in their mouths. Preferred foods in nature are mostly small aquatic insects, mollusks, and worms. They will also eat the eggs and larvae of fish and amphibians. In captivity, it is easiest to feed live brine shrimp (newborns for newborns and adult shrimp for larger larval salamanders) and live black worms. Black worms should be cut up (but alive) for babies that are too small to eat the whole worms. Larger animals (mostly neotonic salamanders as the others do not grow large enough) can be introduced to tubifex worms, earthworms, small fish, ghost shrimp, crayfish, and other small animals.

Land salamanders and newts will eat small animals appropriate for their mouth size. Possible choices include earthworms, mealworms, crickets, wingless fruitflies, and other small insects and worms.

Keeping Other Animals with Salamanders and Newts:

It is usually best to keep a single species of salamander or newt without other animals present (aside from foods meant to be eaten by the salamander or newt). The main reason for this is that all amphibians have an innate desire to try to eat any animals in their enclosure. For example, one person put a frog (I do not remember the species) in with their fire-bellied newts. The frog ate a newt and promptly died. Another person bought some small algae-eating fish (probably plecostomus or otocinclus catfish) and put them with their fire-bellied newt. The newt promptly ate the catfish. The spines on the catfish punctured the newt's mouth and gut which killed the newt after a few days. The owner of that newt requested that I make note of this problem on my web site. So, if you wish to add another species of salamander, newt, frog, toad, snail, shrimp, fish, or whatever in with your salamander or newt, be sure you know these things:


If you do not know the answer to all of these questions, do not add the animal.


Salamander and Salamander Egg Photos

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

On 3/2/10, Sherri sent this photo of a salamander that may be a dusky salamader.
Dusky salamander

On 4/25/09, Wayne sent these photos of salamander larvae found in Kentucky. We do not know the species.
Salamander larvae
Salamander larvae
Salamander larvae
Salamander larvae
Salamander larvae

On 4/13/08, Angela sent these photos of a salamander egg mass.
Salamander eggs
Salamander eggs

On 4/6/08, Mallory sent this photo of eggs for identification. The eggs were found near Seoul, South Korea! They are salamander eggs. I have no idea what species are found over there. The egg jelly was falling apart as they were ready to hatch.
Salamander eggs

On 3/25/08, Steve sent this photo of an unknown beautiful salamander from Switzerland. It might be a type of fire salamander.
Unknown salamander

On 3/4/08, Stan in South Carolina sent these two photos of salamander eggs. It looks like the first mass is nearing hatching while, in the second photo, the embryos are still just dots (early in the development).
Salamander eggs
Salamander eggs

On 3/11/07, Amber sent these photos to me for identification. They are salamander eggs laid in her pond in Georgia. Three globs were resting on a shelf a foot under the water that they found when they cleaned the pond.
Salamander eggs
Salamander eggs
Salamander eggs
Salamander eggs

Alan sent this e-mail in regards to the above photos on 4/10/07. I agreed with him and was aware of what he says.
"On your Pond Egg Identification Page you show a salamander egg mass that you received from Amber and dated 3/11/07. This is almost undoubtedly an egg mass of the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) for two reasons. First, the size and shape of the egg mass are pretty characteristic; also the time of year is just right for their breeding. This is a very attractive and not uncommon salamander but it is rarely seen during 99% of the year because it is active at night and spends the rest of its time in a burrow. But on the first warm spring night when there is a rain the spotteds gather together in hundreds at pools and mate and lay eggs. The pools are usually temporary pools that do not have fish."

Marbled salamander - Ambystoma opacum, named Sally sent by Guy to me on 9/13/06.

Amphiuma - sent by Petrea on 10/7/04; see here for details.

Adult yellow spotted salamander - taken by Brock Hodgkinson in July of 2002.


Salamander and Newt Books

Familiar Reptiles & Amphibians of North America, National Audobon Society Pocket Guide, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

Pond Life: A Guide to Common Plants and Animals of North American Ponds and Lakes by Dr. George K. Reid, Golden Press, 1967. A book chock full of information.

Newts and Salamanders by Frank Indiviglio, Barron's, 1997.

The Audobon Society Nature Guides: Wetlands by William A. Niering, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Here are links to those books.


Salamander and Newt Links

These links were last checked on 6/30/10.

There are few web sites on salamanders and newts aside from identification. If you know of a good site, let me know so I can add it here.

Caudate Culture - this is "the ultimate information resource for newts and salamanders." If you have questions, check out their discussion forums on all sorts of salamander and newt stuff!

Species Identification Guide - the North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations site with photos of over 100 amphibians!!

Herp forums - a place to ask questions about reptiles and amphibians

Amphibiaweb - dedicated to amphibian (mostly frog) abnormalities

Super Newt Webpage - information on the care of newts (specifically firebelly newts)

Amphibians of Virginia & Maryland - this is an archived version as the site is gone now.

Amphibians of Maryland

Mike's Life List - includes photos and a little information on about 27 species of newts and salamanders.

Living Underworld - salamander site.

enature.com - they have a guide to all animals including salamanders and newts. You can enter your zip code and find those species native to your area in the USA.

Salamanders and Newts - captive care


Where Can I Buy Some Salamanders?

There are few places that sell salamanders and newts but I found these. Local pet stores are the best place to find a selection of amphibians.

Carolina Math and Scientific, 1-800-334-5551 (North Carolina), catalog only sent to a business or school - eggs, larvae, and adults of mixed species (whatever they catch). I ordered eggs twice, and they were all spotted salamanders. I ordered larvae once and got a mix of spotted salamanders and tiger salamanders.

William Tricker, Inc. in Ohio, sells what they call "American salamanders" but they sound like Eastern newts. I got them once, and they were Eastern newts. Call 1-800-524-3492 or use their web site.


Back to the salamander and newt index.


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See the master index for the amphibian pages.


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