How to Care for a Newt as a Pet

Keeping a newt as a pet can be a bit of a challenge. Pet newts need access to clean water, because they absorb it through their skin, rather than drinking it.

What Is a Newt?
A newt is a type of salamander. Newts are generally bright-colored and may have drier skin than salamanders. Newts always breed in water, even those that live mainly on land. When you're setting up an aquarium for a newt, it is important to know what type of newt you will be caring for, and where it prefers to live.

  • A newt that spends most of its time in the water needs an aquarium set up with mostly water and a few islands poking out of the water. You also need to provide live vegetation for the newt.
  • A newt that spends most of its time on land needs an aquarium that is mostly gravel and live plants. You also need to provide a "lake" for the newt. The land part of the aquarium should have moss, logs and ferns available. Make sure the water part of the aquarium has a shallow area, so that the newt can easily climb onto the land portion of the aquarium.

Feeding Your Newt Pet
Newts need to be fed something every day, and some will only eat live fish, bugs and worms. You can feed newts reptile food or fish food, but they prefer live food and may not eat commercial foods.

Maintaining the Habitat
Keep the newt's aquarium clean. If the water starts to get cloudy, change it more often. If the newt's water stays clear for a week, you can clean the aquarium once a week. The time frame for cleaning is based on what you feed the newt and whether the newt eats all of its food or not. Feeding live bugs helps keep the cage clean, since the bugs will live for a few days in the aquarium if the newt doesn't eat them right away.

Newts are highly susceptible to chemical poisoning from strong cleaners and pesticides. Clean the habitat with water only, or use an exceptionally mild soap. If you collect live bugs, be certain they haven't been sprayed with pesticide by keeping them alive for three days before offering them to the newt. Newts are also sensitive to chlorine. If you use tap water, it must stand for 24 hours before adding it to the tank. This allows most of the chlorine to evaporate.

Regulate the newt's lighting with an ultraviolet light. Some newts are nocturnal and will need a space where they can hide during the day. Small rocks formed into a cave are ideal.

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