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Home > Geckos > What Do Newts Eat in the Wild and as Pets? Vet-Approved Feeding Guide

What Do Newts Eat in the Wild and as Pets? Vet-Approved Feeding Guide

eastern newt

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Newts are semi-aquatic amphibians. Even if you have never seen a newt before, they looked somewhat like a frog and lizard mix. As a result, it’s no shock that newts seem rather harmless looking.

Don’t let their cute appearance fool you, though. Newts are carnivores, and even to people, they can be dangerous because of the toxins secreted through their skin. On land, wild newts eat slugs, worms, insects, and eggs. In water, they eat shrimp, insect larvae, and aquatic insects. Pet newts should have a similar diet: crickets and mealworms for terrestrials and bloodworms and nightcrawlers for aquatic newts.

To learn more about these dangerous yet super cute amphibians, read on.

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Where Are Newts From?

eastern newt red spotted
Image Credit: Melinda Fawver, Shutterstock
Important

It’s important to know that newts are not safe pets for children, as they secrete a toxin on their skin to deter predators. Always check local regulations and laws before adopting an exotic pet. In some jurisdictions, a permit might be required in order to keep newts as pets. In other jurisdictions, it might be against the law to adopt them.

Wildlife organizations strongly discourage keeping newts or other salamanders as pets, as they do not do well in captivity. The content in this article is for informational purposes only. At PetKeen, we do not encourage adopting newts.

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Newts can be found all over the globe, including North America, Asia, and parts of Europe. Depending on the newt variety, they can be found on land or in water. So, it can be a bit difficult to know where to look if you are trying to find a wild newt.

For example, the crocodile newt can be found in swamps, grasslands, forest, and croplands from India to the southern part of China. In contrast, the eastern red spotted newt is found exclusively in ponds, lakes, and marshes in North America.

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What Do Newts Eat in the Wild?

As we have already learned, newts are pretty dangerous creatures, despite their appearance. These creatures are exclusively carnivorous, which means they eat animal protein. In the wild, terrestrial newts get most of their food from slugs, small invertebrates, worms, insects, and even other amphibian eggs.

For newts that are found in water, they often eat shrimp, insect larvae, and aquatic insects. In other words, newts will eat a variety of insects and animals, but their exact diet depends on whether they spend most of their time on land or in the water.

What Do Pet Newts Eat?

Eastern Newt
Image Credit: lakewooducc, Pixabay

As a newt owner, it is your job to provide your pet a diet most like their natural diet. This means that you should feed your pet a variety of insects and animals, depending on the species of newt you have.

If your newt is aquatic, feed them bloodworms, brine shrimp, and nightcrawlers. Terrestrial newts feast on a diet of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and white worms. It’s a good idea to always feed gut-loaded insects to your pet, as these have been recently fed a diet high in calcium.

How Often Do I Feed a Newt?

Newts do not need to eat multiple times a day. In fact, adult newts don’t even need to eat daily. It’s best to feed your newt every other day. If your newt is still in the juvenile stage, however, feed them daily so they get the appropriate amount of nutrients and vitamins for growth. It is best to consult your exotic veterinarian for a diet plan that works for your pet, because their needs will vary depending on their species and life stage.

Will My Newt Try to Bite Me?

fire belly newt in tank
Image Credit: HWall, Shutterstock

Even though newts are carnivorous, you don’t have to worry about them biting you. Imagine if you were that small of a creature. Would you want to go up against a creature of human size? Probably not. The newt probably feels the same way. However, scientific consensus suggests that newts simply don’t associate humans as food, so they usually don’t bite.

Basically, newts don’t bite people, especially not for food. That said, newts can secrete a poison from their skin as a self-defense mechanism. This toxin can be dangerous to humans and should be approached with utmost caution. The toxin is dangerous if consumed or if it comes in contact with your mucous membranes or a break in your skin.

Luckily, newts and animals in general learn very fast who feeds them. With a bit of time and patience, your newt will learn that you are a friend, not a foe, and they will trust you.

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Do Newts Need Any Supplements?

fire belly newt
Image Credit: Judit Herbert, Pixabay

In the wild, newts obviously don’t have access to supplements, which causes many people to think that they don’t need to feed vitamins to their pets. However, in order for your pet newt to have the healthiest and best life possible, we highly recommend giving them a calcium and multivitamin supplement once or twice a week.

Reptiles and amphibians need incredibly high amounts of calcium. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for these creatures to get the required amount of calcium from their regular diet. Using a calcium and multivitamin supplement ensures that your newt is as healthy as possible.

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Conclusion

To recap, despite their cute faces, newts are carnivores that need to eat a variety of insects and animals. Aquatic newts specifically need a mixture of shrimp and aquatic insects, and terrestrial newts typically only eat terrestrial insects.

As pets, newts still need a similar diet that consists primarily of fish or insects. Veterinarians also recommend using a calcium and multivitamin supplement to ensure that they receive all of the nutrients they need.


Featured Image Credit: Brandon Alms, Shutterstock

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