How to take care of a newt, considering whether this is a good pet to get for your environment, how to feed, care and give shelter to the new newt.
Newts are closely related to salamanders and their care is very similar. The only behavioural difference between newts and salamanders is that newts like to spend much of their time in water. Salamanders are also slimy to the touch while the newts are not. There are over 350 known species of both salamanders and newts, so the choice for which type of newt to buy might be paramount. But you can just pick one that appeals to you. Newts spend most of the summer in ponds and streams in the wild and deposit their eggs in the water as well. They are amphibians like frogs and the eggs are soft and need to be in the water since they lack a hard shell. Newts shed their skin, and if they loose a leg or a tail, they can grow them back.
Picking a newt:
When you go to the pet store, don't just get the first newt you see. Observe him for a while and check that the water is clean and that the tank isn't crowded. If the tank is crowded, often there are diseases that your newt will carry home. Pick a specimen that is plump, has unblemished skin, and look for bright, open eyes. The newt should be trying to escape to show it is healthy and inquisitive. Do not buy an animal that has wounds, infections, fungus, sores, or tumours on their skin. If you have more newts at home, quarantine the new newt for at least 2 weeks to make sure you have bought a healthy animal.
The aquarium that you will need for the newt needs to be set up in a way so that there is both water and land available to the newt. Gravel and plants will be needed to place in the water, and the surface of the land should be made of moss, logs or fern. The water needs to be shallow in a place so the newts can crawl back onto the land. A newt also require some hiding places such as hollowed out logs, rocks or overhangs where they can sleep or spend a lazy afternoon. Newts are primarily nocturnal, so using ultra violet light is a great way to regulate their lighting. For the water you can use tap water, but let it stand for at least 24 hours before you add it to the tank. That is done so the chlorine can escape into the atmosphere. The newts prefer a pH from about 5.8 to 7.8. The water should be changed about twice a week, and if you use a filter less often. A good way to ease the cleaning task is to use airstone, which will help circulate the water. To clean the aquarium never use detergents, just clean with warm water and use a clean sponge to scrub it carefully. Never change all the water, just change about 30 percent of the water by removing the water and adding new water that has been out at least 24 hours. Make sure your aquarium has a cover, which still lets air through. A good choice would be a screen cover with netting similar to mosquito netting on windows. Newts are able to climb the glass wall and could escape if you do not watch them carefully.
The newt should be fed only about three times per week. Even once every three to four days is good. Avoid over feeding the newt since he will become obese and will die much quicker. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before handling food. The newts like to eat a variety of things such as flies, locusts, grasshoppers, mealworms, moths, aphids, brineshrip, minnows, daphina, egg rafts, slugs, water fleas, tubifex, cockroaches, and millipedes. Some of these insects can be cultured at home to save you much money. Newts prefer to eat in the water, and the food is swallowed whole. Therefore you should make sure that the food isn't too large to swallow. Give the food to the newt live since the it is fresh and contains vital nutrients. Frozen foods are also a good choice, especially when you don't have any live food available. Make sure you keep alternating different types of food since the newt is picky and will not keep eating the same food if he gets bored with a type.
Newts do not like to be handled by us because of the secretion of slats and heat of our hands. If you still attempt to handle a newt he might secrete toxic fluids from his skin to protect himself. So wash your hands carefully in warm water and using an anti-bacterial soap if you still choose to handle the newt. Be careful when handling the newt and do so near the ground so he won't be injured if you accidentally drop him.
The water temperature and light exposure of the newt needs to be adjusted since they need to spend time in hibernation. If they don't hibernate, the life cycle will be shortened. The breeding process will also be more successful if they hibernate. Make sure that the newts look plump with fat storage before you attempt to help them into hibernation. Start gradually cooling the entire aquarium over a period of three weeks. The newt requires a hibernation quarter into which it can burrow. Just use something like moist stand. The temperature should be about five degrees Celsius and let them hibernate about 3 months. After that time, gradually raise the temperature again over a period of three weeks back to room temperature.
Enjoy taking care of your newt! He will add a great atmosphere to your home and will brighten the lives of you and your family.