WHAT THEY EAT :
The majority of the salamanders and their larva are carnivorous, taking in insects and small invertebrates; the larger adults eat fish, worms, snails, and slugs. Secretive, essentially voiceless animals, they are chiefly nocturnal. They hide under fallen logs and damp leaf litter during the daylight hours where they find the fare that they feed upon. The larvae begin feeding immediately after hatching, devouring tiny aquatic animals.
WHERE THEY LIVE :
Salamanders and newts are found only in the Americas and in the temperate zones of Northern Africa, Asia and Europe. They live under stones in streams and under logs or leaves in moist forests. North America has more salamanders (including newts) than any other continent in the world. They are found throughout the Appalachian mountains, especially in the Great Smoky mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the "Salamander Capital of the World". Though it is the most visited park in the National Park system, the great majority of vertebrate animals (including humans) in the park on any given day are salamanders. The cool and damp mountain forest environment provides ideal habitat for all types of salamanders. Soils rich in mineral composition and plant life provide for a multitude of invertebrates on which salamanders mostly feed. There are more than thirty different species here from five families of salamanders: the Cryptobranchidae, the Proteidae, the Salamandridae, the Ambystomatidae, and the Plethodontidae. The Plethodontidae are commonly known as the lungless salamanders. There are 24 species of lungless salamanders in the Great Smoky Mountains park. These salamanders lack lungs, but they do breathe. They breathe, as in exchange oxygen and cardon dioxide, through the walls of tiny blood vessels in their skin and linings of their mouths and throats. Salamanders vary in size from the tiny Pygmy salamander, which is less than 2 inches long, to the Hellbender, which reaches nearly 30 inches. Some such as the spotted salamander spend most of their time underground where it is moister and it has fewer enemies. Others, such as waterdogs and sirens never leave the water.
SALAMANDER & NEWT
All continents except Antarctica and Australia
Ponds, swamps, streams, lakes, rivers, wet mountain forests, and grasslands
Is a newt a salamander?
Yes, but a salamander is not always a newt. Confused? The word "salamander" is the name for an entire group, or scientific order, of amphibians that have tails as adults. This includes animals commonly known as newts and sirens. Most of the animals in the salamander order look like a cross between a lizard and a frog. They have moist, smooth skin like frogs and long tails like lizards. The term "newt" is sometimes used for salamanders that spend most of each year living on land. The name "siren" is generally given to salamanders that have lungs as well as gills and never develop beyond the larval stage. Other names salamanders go by include olm, axolotl, spring lizard, water dog, mud puppy, hellbender, triton, and Congo eel. Whew!
Most salamanders are small, and few species are more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) long. Sirens have only two legs, but the other salamander species develop four legs as adults, with fleshy toes at the end of each foot. Some species, like paddle-tail newts, have fullywebbed feet with very short toes for their aquatic lifestyle. Those that like to dig and are less aquatic, such as the tiger salamander, have no webbing at all on their feet.
A salamander’s hind legs grow more slowly than its front legs. (Frogs and toads are just the opposite: their hind legs grow more quickly than their front legs.) All four legs on a salamander are so short that its belly drags on the ground. The axolotl (pronounced AX oh la tul), a very unique species of salamander from Mexico, has the ability to regenerate missing limbs and has become very important to scientific study.
The exception to having legs is found with the sirens. They don’t have hind legs at all! Their long, strong tails are flat to help sirens swim like a fish, with the tail flapping from side to side.
Take a deep breath :
Different members of the salamander order have developed different ways of breathing. Sirens keep their gills all their lives, which allows them to breathe underwater. Others, such as the tiger salamander, lose their gills as they grow older and develop lungs to breathe air. But most, like the arboreal salamander and the California slender salamander, don’t have lungs or gills as adults. Commonly called lungless salamanders, they breathe through their skin and the thin membranes in the mouth and throat.
All wet! :
Newts usually have dry, warty skin, and salamanders have smooth, slick skin. But, of course, there are exceptions! Yet no matter what they may look or feel like, salamanders and newts need to keep their skin moist. If they get too hot and dry, they could die.
Land or water or both? :
Since salamanders need to stay cool and moist to survive, those that live on land are found in shady, forested areas. They spend most of their time staying out of the sun under rocks and logs, up in trees, or in burrows they’ve dug in the damp earth. Some seek out a pool of water where they can breed and lay their eggs before returning to land. Others, like sirens, olms, and axolotls, spend their entire lives in the water.
There are 16 cave-dwelling salamanders. They have very pale skin, greatly reduced eyes, and have adapted to living in complete darkness in underground pools of water.
How dry I am :
There is a species that defies typical amphibian habitat: the Kaiser’s spotted newt. Thisendangered animal, also known as the emperor spotted newt or Iranian harlequin newt, lives in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. It is found in streams and pools surrounded by arid scrubland, where water is only present for three or four months a year. Not exactly the shady, humid place you’d expect to find a newt! In late March and early April, when it begins to rain and the streams and pools fill up, Kaiser’s newts emerge to feed heartily and then find a mate. After this burst of activity, summer arrives, and they head underground, burrowing into the sandy soil and entering a state of torpor in which their heart rate and breathing slow, and they do not eat.
Four months of activity a year may not seem like much, but the Kaiser’s newt definitely knows how to make the most of it.
Would you want to eat something that tasted awful or hurt your mouth? Probably not! Salamanders have some special ways to keep from becoming another animal’s next meal. Most salamanders, such as the red-spotted newt, have brightly colored, poisonous skin. The bold color tells predators that the newt is not safe to eat. Many salamanders have glands on the back of the neck or on the tail. These glands can secrete a poisonous or bad-tasting liquid. Some species can even shed their tail during an attack and grow a new one later. The ribbed newt has needle-like rib tips. It can squeeze its muscles to make the rib tips pierce through its skin and into its enemy, teaching it a sharp lesson! The ensantina, a California native, stands high on its legs and waves its tail to scare away danger.
What’s on the menu?
All salamanders are carnivores, but they are seldom in a hurry to catch their meals. Because they move more slowly than other meat eaters, salamanders tend to eat slow-moving, soft-bodied creatures such as earthworms, slugs, and snails. Larger species may eat fish, crayfish, and small mammals such as mice and shrews. They might approach their target slowly, and then make a quick grab with their sharp teeth. Or they might hide and wait for a tasty meal to pass close enough to snatch. Several species can flick out their tongues to catch food as it goes by.
At the San Diego Zoo, we feed our salamanders and newts blood worms, earthworms, pinhead and two-week-old crickets, wax worms, frozen brine, and mysis shrimp. These items are offered on alternate days, five days a week.
Bringing up baby :
Most salamander species hatch from eggs. Female salamanders that live entirely in the water lay more eggs—up to 450—than those that spend some time on land. The California newt lays a clump of 7 to 30 eggs on underwater plants or exposed roots. The eggs are protected by a toxic, gel-like membrane. Lungless salamanders such as the spiny salamander are devoted parents that share egg-guarding duties. They curl their body around the eggs and turn them over from time to time. This protects the eggs from predators and fungal infections. Some mother newts keep their eggs safe by wrapping leaves around each one as they are laid—up to 400 eggs! Salamanders in the larval stage of their development are called efts.
Life cycle :
Different salamander species have different life cycles, too. Some breed, lay their eggs, and hatch on land while others, such as some of the newts, breed and lay eggs in the water. When the eggs hatch, the larvae grow up in the water before heading to the land as adults. Still others, such as the giant salamander and the hellbender, spend all the stages of their life cycle in water. Lungless salamanders have eggs that hatch directly into small salamanders, skipping the larval stage entirely, and the axolotl lives out its aquatic life in the larval stage, never developing beyond its larval features, a condition called neoteny.
Salamander is a common name for the order of Caudata which includes 9 families, of which 8 are found in North America. Newt is a common name applied to certain members of a family of relatively small salamanders. Also in the order of Caudata are sirens which are aquatic salamanders, which have no hind limbs. So newts and sirens are really salamanders. Salamanders make up a mere 350 species out of the 4000 or so known species of amphibians.
Often mistaken for lizards, salamanders (sometimes called "sallies" by people who raise them) have soft, moist skin covering their long bodies and even longer tails. They have no scales, claws or external ear openings, and they lay eggs that are surrounded by clear jelly. The larva are sometimes confused with the frog tadpoles, but their heads do not get as large as the tadpole's heads. Salamanders have 4 toes on their front feet where lizards have five. They range in size from less than 2 inches (5cm) to the Giant Salamander of China and Japan at 4.9 feet (1.5m)!
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS :
There are three types of salamanders: totally aquatic, semi-aquatic, and completely terrestrial; some of the latter are arboreal. The aquatic live out their complete life cycles in the water. The semi-aquatic live primarily on land, hibernating during the winter, and enter the water as breeding season begins. After mating and egging is complete, they once again return to land. The terrestrial salamanders spend their entire lives on land, rarely entering the water though they are never far from it. Early born young will reach the terrestrial stage by the end of the year; late born young usually overwinter as larvae, metamorphosing the following spring. Most salamanders lay eggs in the water which hatch into larvae with tufted external gills, with which they use to breathe. Those who lay eggs on land do not go through this stage, such as the Woodland salamander. Several salamanders including the waterdogs and sirens never loose their gills and never leave the water. Others, after several months to several years, lose their gills and tranform into land dwelling species. Adult salamanders either breathe through their skin or with lungs. Most are active only at night. Though they normally remain hidden under leaves, they will come out during heavy rains and pursue their prey away from shelter.
SPECIES FOUND IN THIS AREA :
In the southern Appalachians are found: the Pygmy salamander, a terrestrial species adapted to high-elevation forests, the Hellbender, found in warmer low-altitude streams, the Eastern newt, Jordan's salamander, Marbled salamander, Mountain Dusky salamander, Appalachian Woodland salamander, Blue Ridge Two-lined salamander, and the Red salamander are also found here. As well as many more species.
CLASSIFICATION : They are classified in the phylum -Chordata, subphylum -Vertebrata, class -Amphibia, order -Caudata.
Best Beginner Pet Salamanders and Newts :
Choosing a Salamander or Newt
Salamanders and newts are the most popular pet in the world, but they are an interesting pet. These guys typically do best with high humidity and both land and water enclosures (except for the axolotl, which is solely aquatic), or at least a large water bowl. Because these species aren't as popular as other species, not everyone knows how to care for them, so before getting a salamander or newt, make sure to do the proper research. You want your new pet to live its full estimated lifespan, which can be at least 15 years or more with proper care.
Just remember that if you've never had a pet amphibian, you don't want to go out and buy the most rare one. Start off simple, even if you have experience with other reptiles or pets. Salamanders and snakes just aren't cared for the same way.
When choosing a pet salamander or newt, check out the following beginner amphibians.
1- Axolotl :
The Ambystoma mexicanum is one of the few species of salamanders that is found in the pet market. Because these salamanders are a hardy and heavily-bodied animal, they are pretty fun to watch in a home aquarium. This species is native to the cool-water lakes in southeast Mexico City, but they can also be found in large numbers in central Mexico.
This salamander will range from about 7 to 9 inches in length, and can live up to 20 years in captivity.
When setting up an aquarium for this salamander species, you want to use at least a 10 gallon tank for one adult, although larger is always better. Keep the water temperatures around 56 to 72F to prevent internal problems and skin disease, and make sure to keep the pH around 7.2.
When it comes to feeding, axolotls will eat chopped earthworms, black worms, and other live food, such as brine shrimp and daphnia. You may find that some will eat trout chow, catfish chow, and koi pellets, but in general, they prefer live food. In some cases, if you're housing multiple axolotls in the same tank, you'll need to worry about larger individuals munching on their smaller cage mates; in some cases, you may have missing legs, gills,or tail tips.
Axolotl Care Sheet :
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com by JOHN CLARE
Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl) at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco.
Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) :
Axolotls are large salamanders that come from the remnants of lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. Axolotls live their entire lives in water, never emerging onto land. Axolotl care requirements are minimal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, they are hardy, easy-to-care-for captives that breed readily in captivity. It is difficult to think of a more unusual display animal than the axolotl, and its bold and tame nature makes it an interactive pet.
Axolotls are often available from private breeders, often via the Internet. Axolotls are not commonly available in reptile stores or at reptile shows, owing to their incompatibility with most reptile-friendly temperatures. Some suppliers may be able to special order them for you, but generally the best sources for healthy axolotls are other hobbyists.
Leucistic axolotls are white with dark eyes, and sometimes they have a few black markings along the top of the body.
Most axolotls reach about 10 inches total length (from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail). A few will pass 12 inches, but this is rare. I have personally seen and photographed a 17-inch axolotl that had to be seen to be believed, but such monsters are highly unusual. Axolotls reach sexual maturity when they reach about 8 inches. This can be in as few as six months, but generally it takes about a year of good care to reach this size.
Axolotl Life Span
Axolotls have been known to live past 20 years, but it is unusual to find an individual older than 10 years.
A 10-gallon aquarium can accommodate a single adult axolotl, but due to the large amount of waste produced by these messy creatures, a 20-gallon aquarium is a safer choice. Axolotls do not emerge from the water, so a land area would go unused. Fill the aquarium to the depth of your choice, but it will be easier to maintain good water parameters when the aquarium is filled, as you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood should be kept in place at all times because axolotls have been known to jump out of their aquariums.
A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. The best choice is an external canister filter, but ensure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted with a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. This is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in a noticeable water flow for a few months will go off food and develop stress-related diseases. Lack of appetite and forward-curled gills are usually a sign of stress from too much water flow.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature:
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting, and indeed, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will become accustomed to it if provided with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” such as caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lighting is generally for our viewing pleasure and for the benefit of aquarium plants. Choose a plant-friendly bulb, such as those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lighting fixtures often generate a lot of excess heat and this can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to the low 70s Fahrenheit are tolerated well by axolotls. An ideal temperature range is the low to mid 60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will invariably lead to heat stress, loss of appetite and death. If you cannot provide year-round temperatures below this limit, axolotls are not the ideal pet for your circumstances. If you must have an axolotl but you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for the warmer parts of the year.
Axolotl Substrate :
The ideal substrate for axolotls is aquarium-safe sand. Axolotls have a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects if they are available. This can lead to gut impactions and the death of the axolotl. If you wish to use gravel, consider large pebbles instead. Anything the size of an axolotl’s head or smaller can and will be consumed!
A substrate is not essential – many keepers use no substrate at all – but it is certainly more pleasing to the eye in a display aquarium if a substrate is used, and it will also help to keep water parameters stable by providing surface area for beneficial bacteria.
Axolotl Food :
Good staple foods for axolotls are nightcrawlers (large earthworms) and frozen bloodworm cubes. Good treat foods for axolotls include frozen shrimp from the supermarket (cooked), and lean pieces of beef and chicken. Avoid live food such as feeder fish because of the risk of parasite and disease transmission – axolotls are vulnerable to many fish diseases and parasites. Pinkie mice and other fatty foods are best used only as a rare treat for axolotls and preferably not at all.
As is the case with most salamanders, axolotls have no need of vitamin/mineral supplementation, and indeed it would be hard to deliver this to an aquatic animal. In my experience, axolotls fed solely on nightcrawlers will never develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Axolotl Water and Quality:
Tap water is fine for axolotls, provided it is pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are far more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but a good filter and regular water changes should be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, follow a similar routine.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter should be allowed to cycle for several weeks prior to the introduction of axolotls to let the water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Be sure to keep an eye on water parameters using the test kits sold at aquarium stores.
Axolotl Handling and Temperament :
Axolotls have virtually no true bone in their bodies, particularly when young. Much of their skeleton is made up of cartilage. Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. As such, axolotls should not be handled unless absolutely necessary (they are tricky to catch in a net). If you use a net to move an axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that would let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged. Use a soft, very fine-mesh net.
Young axolotls tend to nip at or bite off the legs and gills of their tankmates, so youngsters should only be kept together if fed well and given plenty of space. Axolotls larger than 5 inches tend to be safer tankmates, and adults will rarely have any altercations. Contrary to the advice of some sources, axolotls are not social animals and do not benefit from having a companion axolotl. Keeping multiple axolotls is purely for the keeper’s benefit and for breeding.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish should not be kept with axolotls. In fact, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls!
For more information we recommend to use this Website :
2-Tiger Salamander :
courtesy to : www.theamphibian.co.uk
Description: Depending on the type of Tiger Salamander you have, their dorsum colours tend to range between olive green, grey and golden yellow. They have black, brown or grey blotches on their bodies, given them their tiger-like pattern and name.
Size: Tiger Salamanders generally grow to between 15 to 25cms (6-10inches) in length, but it is not unknown for them to reach 35cms (14inch) in some cases.
Life span: (Captive) Tiger Salamanders can live between 10 – 25 years with appropriate care.
Origin: Tiger salamanders are found throughout North America.
Common names: Tiger Salamander or Eastern Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
Habitat: The Tiger Salamander has two specific phases in it’s life cycle, which both determine the habitat that they are found in. The larvae are entirely aquatic, living in ponds and shallow lakes. Adults are terrestrial and only return to the water for breeding purposes. They can be found burrowing in grasslands and hiding in the undergrowth. They are hardly ever seen out in the open.
Things to consider when purchasing your first Amphibian
Who will look after your new pet if you are away?
• Can you get food easily from your local pet shop?
• Can you deal with feeding live insects as food?
• Can you handle the live food to feed your pet?
• Is the rest of the family happy to live with an amphibian?
Temperament: Tiger salamanders are highly inquisitive and lively salamanders, and can often be seen exploring their tank. They make an ideal first amphibian as they are relatively easy to care for.
Housing: Adult Tiger salamanders are quite large and will require a larger terrarium than most ground dwelling amphibians. A 15-20 Gallon tank should be adequate for 2 adult salamanders. They are quite social and can be housed with other Tiger salamanders.
Tiger salamanders do well in a woodland set-up with deep coco husk substrate.
Larvae are entirely aquatic, so if you are housing a Tiger Salamander in the larval stage you will need an aquarium heated to around 19oC (67oF) with 15cm (6 inches) of water in the bottom. A filter, airstone and rocks to hide behind will also be necessary to ensure the health of your larvae.
Salamanders should be fed daily with a varied diet of appropriately sized gut loaded insects, including meal worms, crickets, small grass hoppers, flour beetles, wax-worms, moths, caterpillars, earthworms, woodlice and may even take pinkie mice. Feeding 3 or 4 insects per salamander per feeding.
The live food should be dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements once a week.
As adults your Salamander should be able to feed on the occasional pinkie mouse, but you should regard this as a treat item as regular feedings on mice can cause your Salamander to become obese.
Tiger Salamanders will actively hunt their food, instead of waiting for it to come to them like other frogs and salamanders. This makes them enjoyable to watch at feeding time.
Your Tiger Salamander’s terrarium should be inspected and spot cleaned daily when changing the water. Every two to three weeks clean out the tank completely and sterilise using a reptile/amphibian friendly disinfectant. Sterilise any décor and carefully remove any live plants to replace when the tank has been cleaned. Your salamander(s) should be moved to a temporary tank whilst being cleaned.
All amphibians are delicate skinned and oils and salts on our skin can cause them harm. It is recommended to wear gloves if the need to handle arises
Tiger salamanders shed their skin at regular intervals as they grow. The old skin is pushed off with the hind legs and the skin peels off from the back end. The skin should come off in one piece and is normally eaten by the salamander. The skin is pushed forwards using it’s legs towards the mouth.
Females tend to be larger than males, with males being more slender-bodied.
Your terrarium should contain:
A deep coco husk substrate as Tiger Salamanders like to burrow, sphagnum moss, peat, live moss and a selection of live plants (see plant list in the forum) can all be used in your set-up. Avoid using vermiculite and gravel as these are no good for burrowing. Set-up tips can also be found on the forum.
- A place for your salamander to hide and climb :
All amphibians require somewhere to hide and may become stressed if this is not provided. This could be a plant pot on its side, which is low cost but easily cleaned if it becomes soiled.
Logs and cork bark make good natural looking additions to your terrarium and make great hiding places. Plants and stones can also be used.
Stones or branches from the wild need to be debugged by soaking first in chlorine/water solution, then rinsed thoroughly, soaked in clean water, then left to dry in the sun.
Some live plants may be harmful to your salamander, if in doubt please see the list of safe plants which can be used on the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section or in the forum.
A change of scenery :
Tiger salamanders are very inquisitive animals and like to explore new surroundings. Once in a while change the layout of the terrarium; this will keep your salamander from becoming bored. You will notice once you put your salamander(s) back in the tank it will start to re-explore its new surroundings.
All amphibians need fresh water daily. A large water bowl should be given (no deeper than the salamanders height when at rest) with de-chlorinated or bottled spring water. The water should be changed daily to avoid the build up of bacteria.
Salamanders like most amphibians will soak up water through their skin and since their water bowl is used as the main place to defecate it is important that it is cleaned regularly.
Misting the tank regularly with de-chlorinated or bottled spring water will ensure that the substrate does not dry out. Placing the water bowl in the warmer side of the terrarium will also raise humidity levels, although it is unlikely that your salamanders will need extra humidity. In the wild they live in quite dry grasslands, so keeping your substrate damp is all that is necessary.
The ideal temperature for your salamander(s) is a temperature gradient of 18-21°C with a slight temperature drop at night or 2 or 3 degrees.
Additional heat should not be required for most of the year, but in winter, heat can be provided using a heat mat regulated with a thermostat. Heat mats should only cover between a third and a half of the floor or wall space to allow your salamander to thermo regulate. A cool hide should be placed in one end of the tank and a hotter hide at the warmer end, giving your salamanders a place to hide at both ends.
Never use heat lamps or basking lamps for amphibians, as these can cause your salamanders to dehydrate.
It's useful to have a small thermometer on either end of the terrarium to check the temperature.
Tiger salamanders do not need the edition of UV lighting if they have enough vitamins and variation in their diet. Although you may find the live plants in your terrarium will die without any light. A fluorescent low UVB tube is ideal as it won’t give out any heat and will help the plants thrive. You should place the light at one side of the terrarium creating a light gradient so your salamanders can find a darker place out of the light if preferred. Ideally you should cycle the lighting to mimic the salamanders natural habitat by having a 12/12 system - 12 hours of light and 12 of dark.
Other questions about the Tiger salamander :
This care sheet is a simple step-by-step guide to successful Tiger Salamander keeping, but if you have anymore questions or need more specific information about the keeping of Tiger Salamanders, please enter our forum. It is a useful resource where you can ask members to share good practice and also talk about your experiences of being a Tiger Salamander keeper.
Fire Belly Newt :
The Cynops pyrrhogaster is a pretty newt, that is actually one of the larger species of newt, ranging up to about 5 inches long as an adult. These guys are native to Japan, being found in quiet ponds, swamps, and slow-moving streams.
This species of newts will live well over 20 years with proper captive care.
When setting up an enclosure for an adult fire belly newt, you want to have at least a 20 gallon long aquarium because you'll need to create a semi-aquatic enclosure. You'll need to create a sloping edge in and out of the water so that the newt doesn't have to struggle to get into the water or back onto the land. You'll need to make sure to use a good filtration unit for the water area of the enclosure, and make sure to dechlorinate the water ever 1-2 weeks, making partial water changes at that time. Keep the temperatures below 75F. They generally do fine with room temperatures or temperatures around 68-70F, anything over 75F will stress out this species.
This species of newt will feed on frozen or live blood worms, chopped earthworms, brine shrimp, glass shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried tubifex cubes, and sometimes small guppies. You may also find that some newts will even eat the floating amphibian pellets, such as Repto-Min.
It's not ideal to handle these newts, as can secrete a toxic residue that can mildly to severely irritate your skin, eyes, and nose.
CHINESE FIRE-BELLIED NEWT
Adult Size: Adults range from 2 to 4 inches in length.
Range: East-central China.
Habitat: Chinese fire-bellied newts are usually found in still waters with plenty of vegetation in which to hide.
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Beginner
Chinese fire-bellied newts have a black dorsum and a brightly colored orange or red belly, hence the common name. They have less obvious parotid glands than the similar Japanese fire-bellied newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster). Care should be taken to wash one’s hands after handling this species.
The Chinese fire-bellied newt is primarily aquatic, but it is important to incorporate a terrestrial area into the captive environment as well. A 20 gallon aquarium will be enough room for up to four newts. Spring water or dechlorinated tap water should be used to fill the aquatic portion of the enclosure. Make sure to include a filter in the cage design, as it will help to maintain water quality. It is also beneficial to have aquatic plants in which the newts can conceal themselves. Java moss or Java fern will do well in an enclosure housing these newts. Chinese fire-bellied newts prefer lower temperatures, 68 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly less being ideal. As with many species of amphibians, higher temperatures will stress these newts, and may result in bacterial infections. An amphibian that spends an abnormally high percentage of the time on land may be sick and should be monitored carefully. This may also indicate that the water is too warm, or that it has become too dirty for the newts' liking.
The diet for Chinese fire-bellied newts should be comprised of both animal and plant food items. Bloodworms work very well as a food item. They will also feed on guppies, earthworms, brine shrimp and even freeze-dried tubifex worms. Feeding these newts three times weekly should suffice.
Because of their ease of care, these newts are a great beginner species. Few problems should be encountered with this hardy species, especially if care is given to provide the newts with a clean environment.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt :
courtesy to : www.reptilesmag.com / BY JOHN CLARE
Japanese fire-bellies are easier to acquire as captive bred offspring from other hobbyists.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster):
These newts are native to the islands of Japan. Their skin is coarse and granular, and they have prominent disc-shaped parotoid glands behind the head, which can secrete distasteful chemicals if a predator bites the newt. While their back and sides are brown in color, they get their name from their bright orange belly. The belly is frequently spotted with white dots or larger brown markings. Other Asian newts can have orange bellies too, so don’t rely on this alone to identify fire-bellied newts.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Availability:
Wild caught fire-bellied newts are often available in the pet trade, but these are usually the smaller, more delicate species, the Chinese Fire-Belly, Cynops orientalis. Japanese Fire-Bellies are easier to acquire as captive bred offspring from other hobbyists. Search internet forums or contact amphibian specialists at reptile shows to acquire them. Choose large, bold, brightly colored and well-fed specimens, with bright, unclouded eyes. These newts rarely cost more than $20 each.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Size:
They are medium sized newts, reaching 4-6 inches in total length. Young juveniles may be less than 2 inches in length. Older newts are more aquatic and easier to keep, so try to acquire larger specimens if possible.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Lifespan:
These newts can live for 3 decades or more, but 10 years is a reasonable age in captivity.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Housing:
A 20 gallon aquarium is adequate for 2 pairs of newts. These newts will live happily in a fully aquatic setup, but be sure to provide a platform or island onto which they can crawl should they wish to leave the water. Tap water should be treated with aquarium dechlorinator, and 20% water changes should be carried out every 1-2 weeks.
Aquarium sand or gravel make good substrates. The newts will enjoy lots of live aquarium plants such as Egeria, Cabomba and Amazon Sword. An aquarium filter can be used, but these newts are still water animals. So keep filter water flow to a minimum if possible.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Lighting and Temperature:
These newts do not tolerate extremes of temperature well, so keep their aquarium between 60 and 75 F for most of the year. Cold temperatures are easily avoided by using an aquarium heater set on its lowest setting.
Fire-bellies do not require lighting, but if you wish to keep aquatic plants with your newts, which they will appreciate, then you will need a freshwater spectrum light, such as those sold for fish aquariums. Don’t forget a tight fitting lid because these newts are excellent escape artists.
Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt Food:
Chopped live nightcrawlers or frozen bloodworm cubes are good staple foods. Feed 1 chopped nightcrawler or 1 cube of frozen bloodworms per 4 newts every 2 days.
Eastern Newt :
The Notophthalmus viridescens is a popular species of newt, as it is brightly colored. The species is native to a wide range, including southward from southern Quebec to southern Florida and southeastern Texas. Different subspecies will be found in different locations.
- The red-spotted newt ranges southward from Quebec to central Georgia.
-The central newt ranges from southern Ontario to northern Florida and central South Carolina.
- The broken-striped newt ranges from southeastern North Carolina and northwestern South Carolina.
-The peninsula newt is found in the southern 4/5 of the Florida Peninsula.
This newt ranges to about 3 inches as an adult but there are some that can reach up to 5 inches, so it's a slightly small species, but it can live up to 20 years in captivity with proper care.
You can house up to three eastern newts in a 10 gallon aquarium, but remember the larger the better. You can leave the enclosure unheated, as this species is able to thrive in cooler temperatures, but they thrive in the mid 70sF. You want to create a swimming area, as well as a nice, muddy land area. Some people will just use large water bowls, and a mostly land area to the enclosure, whereas others may set up semi-aquatic enclosures with about 75% land and 25% water.
This species will eat frog eggs, tadpoles, earthworms, small guppies, snails, slugs, craw fish, other small fish, crickets, and even dried flies.
You do not want to handle these newts, as the can secrete toxins that will irritate the skin, eyes, and nose.
Eastern Newt care
courtesy to : www.caudata.org
Synonyms Red-spotted Newt
Range USA, Canada
Regional forms N. v. dorsalis
N. v. louisianensis
N. v. piaropicola
N. v. viridescens
IUCN Red Book Least Concern
CITES No Listing
First described Rafinesque, 1820
Eastern newts have three distinct life stages; aquatic larva, terrestrial juvenile (referred to as an eft or red eft), and aquatic adult. The adults range from greenish-brown to yellowish-brown above. Depending on regional variety, there may be rows of spots or incomplete stripes of bright red enclosed by black borders along either side of the body. The belly is lighter than the back and is yellow to orange. The entire body is covered with small black speckling.
Males can be distinguished during the breeding season by a swollen cloaca, higher tail fin, and rough, black tubercles on the inner thighs and feet of the rear legs. Males also have wider back legs and a yellowish gland on the posterior portion of the cloaca. The small (2-8 cm), terrestrial efts range in color from reddish-brown to orange to bright crimson and also have the red spots and black speckling.
Four regional varieties (or races) of the eastern newt exist. Studies of DNA indicate that these varieties are not true subspecies, as there is very little genetic divergence among them.
Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens: Adults of the red-spotted newt have a row of red spots enclosed by black rings along both sides of the body. This is the largest variety with adults capable of reaching a maximum of 14 cm in length. The efts of this form tend to be the brightest of all the varieties, particularly efts from higher elevations. This is the most common form in the pet trade and ranges from northeast Canada to the eastern Great Lakes and south through the Appalachians to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
Notophthalmus viridescens dorsalis: Adults of the broken-striped newt have red spots fused together to form an irregular, broken line along both sides of the body. This is the smallest form, with adults rarely exceeding 10 cm. It is probably the second most common form available in the pet trade. The efts are usually duller than those of the red-spotted newt. Sometimes the eft stage is skipped completely with larvae developing into mature adults. Adults are sometimes neotenic. The broken-striped newt is found along the coastal plains of the Carolinas.
N. v. viridescens eft.
N. v. viridescens adult male.
Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis: The central newt is characterized by having fewer, very small spots of red or orange along the back which are incompletely ringed with black. Some individuals lack spots entirely. It is a slightly smaller and more slender form than the red-spotted newt with adults reaching 12 cm. The efts, when present, are uncommon and range from dull orange to dark brown. Neotenic adults are common along the gulf coastal plains and have also been found in Illinois. This newt ranges from the western Great Lakes region of Canada westward to Minnesota and Kansas and south to the Gulf Coast.
Notophthalmus viridescens piaropicola: The peninsula newt is a darker form of the eastern newt and lacks red spots entirely. Individuals range from greenish-brown to almost black and are heavily speckled with black spots. The venter may also be a deeper orange color than the typical yellow of the other forms. The eft stage is usually skipped and neoteny is frequent. This variety is only found in peninsular Florida.
N. v. louisianensis, showing typical coloration.
N. v. louisianensis, showing unusual coloration.
N. v. dorsalis efts.
N. v. dorsalis adult male.
Neotenic Notophthalmus v. piaropicola
Notophthalmus v. piaropicola.
Natural Range and Habitat :
Eastern newts are widespread across the eastern half of North America. They range from southern Canadian Provinces to south Texas and south Florida to as far west as Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. Aquatic adults live in any suitable body of permanent or semi-permanent water such as ditches, ponds, sloughs, floodplains, slow-moving creeks, swamps, and marshes. They are often abundant in fishless bodies of water with large amounts of aquatic vegetation. Bodies of water with large predatory fish are usually avoided. The terrestrial efts live in moist woodland areas adjacent to the adult habitat.
N. viridescens dorsalis habitat near the coast in North Carolina.
The captive requirements of these newts will depend on which life stage they are currently in. Aquatic adults will need a planted aquarium with a small land area or rocks or driftwood breaking the surface. Adults have been documented inhabiting water depths ranging from as shallow as a few centimeters to as deep as 13 meters so water depth is optional. They prefer areas of still water so aquarium filters using strong currents of water should be avoided or have their water streams diffused by objects in the tank. Temperatures are variable also and adults have been observed foraging for food under ice-covered ponds. Generally, these newts will prefer a temperature between 18-23°C (60-74°F) for spring summer and reduced to around 5-10°C (40-50°F) for the winter. Adults have been noted actively foraging under ice-covered ponds throughout the winter and so one shouldn't worry much about cold temperatures unless they approach freezing.
Though adults should be considered totally aquatic, in the wild some adults do leave the pond and become temporarily terrestrial if water levels drop or water temperatures become too high. It is also possible that adults occasionally leave the water for extended periods to avoid waterborne pathogens or to remove aquatic parasites such as leeches. Efts are entirely terrestrial and will require a moist woodland terrarium. As an alternative, they can be housed in simple plastic containers with a substrate of moist soil or damp paper towels that should be cleaned and misted regularly. Efts must also be kept at the temperatures described above for adults.
Adults have been documented in the wild to eat worms, small amphibians and amphibian eggs, small fish, insects, arthropods, crustaceans, and other small invertebrates. In captivity, one can feed them chopped earthworms and nightcrawlers, bloodworms (alive or frozen), blackworms, and strips of beef heart. Some individuals may eat some commercial fish/amphibian pellets, though these are not recommended over the other foods described. The efts are slightly more difficult to feed because of their small size. They will require small earthworms, whiteworms, pinhead crickets, fruitflies, and very small waxworms and mealworms.
Neotenic Notophthalmus v. piaropicola showing gill nubs just behind the jaw.
Male N. v. louisianensis in breeding condition. Note high tail fin and black toe tips (nuptial pads).
N. v. viridescens pair in amplexus.
N. v. louisianensis female with newly-received spermatophore
Eastern newt courtship involves the male grasping a female in a dorsal amplexus with his wide hindlimbs. This can last for several hours. During this time, the male will rub the snout of the female with his chin and fan his tail to waft pheremones towards the female's nostrils. This behavior intensifies until finally he will release her and position himself in front of her, undulating his body. If she is receptive, she will press her snout against his tail or body and this will signal him to deposit a spermatophore, which he guides her to pick up with his body. If she is not receptive, she will take this opportunity to escape the male's advances!
Amplexus often causes worry for new owners who may be unfamiliar with it. Often it appears that the female is being crushed or suffocated/drowned by the male's hindlimbs. However, there is no need to worry as the female will surface for air if she needs to with the male still on her back. Males will also accidentally amplex other males in their enthusiasm, and this can result in some irritated wrestling matches. Females can be stressed by constant amplexus. If a specific female is seen in amplexus frequently, or if she is known to be in a weakened condition, she should be removed from the male(s).
Adults breed in late-winter through spring and 200-400 eggs are laid singly on aquatic vegetation. True hibernation is not required as adults from the northernmost range are active throughout winter, but if at all possible, winter water temperatures should be reduced by 10F degrees or more to help promote courtship activity.
Larvae are easily cared for using the methods found in: Raising Newts from Eggs. Upon metamorphosis, the efts usually remain terrestrial for 2-3 years before eventually returning to the water as adults, though some populations may take as long as 7 years. In captivity, this time is often reduced by plentiful food. Some populations may skip the eft stage as well, so be prepared for that possibility by allowing access to water immediately after metamorphosis.
N. v. viridescens aquatic adults.
N. v. viridescens terrestrial adult male.
Gabor, C. R. and Nice, C. C. 2004. Genetic variation among populations of Eastern Newts, Notophthalmus viridescens: A preliminary analysis based on allozymes. Herpetologica 60(3):373-386.
George, C. J., Boylen, C. W., and Sheldon, R. B. 1977. The presence of the red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens in waters exceeding 12 meters in Lake George, New York. Journal of Herpetology 11:87-90.
Gill, D. E. 1978. The metapopulation ecology of the red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens. Ecological Monographs 48:145-166.
Kesler, D. H. and Mums, W. R. Jr. 1991. Diel feeding by adult red-spotted newts in the presence and absence of sunfish. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 6:267-273.
MacNamara, J. A. 1977. Food habits of terrestrial adult migrants and immature red efts of the red-spotted newt Notophthalmus viridescens. Herpetologica 33:127-132.
Massey, A. 1990. Notes on the reproductive ecology of red-spotted newts Notophthalmus viridescens. Journal of Herpetology 24:106-107.
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Petranka, J. W. 1998, Salamanders of the United States and Canada, Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington.