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What Do Newts Eat in the Wild and As Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

Newts are semi-aquatic amphibians that are very cute but familiar looking. 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 are super cute and harmless looking.

Don’t let their cute appearance fool you, though. Newts are carnivores that can be pretty dangerous. Even to people, Newts can be fatal because of the toxins secreted through their skin. However, don’t worry, your pet Newt isn’t going to try to eat you.

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

Newts can be found all over the globe, including North America, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa. 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 Alligator Newt can be found in swamps, grasslands, forest, and croplands of the southern Japanese islands. 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 its natural diet. This means that you should feed your pet Newt a variety of insects and animals, depending on the species of Newt.

If your Newt is aquatic, feed it 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, which are insects that have been recently fed a diet high in calcium.

How Often Do I Feed a Newt?

Unlike us, Newts do not need to eat multiple times a day. In fact, adult Newts don’t even need to eat daily. Instead, it’s best to feed your Newt every other day. If your Newt is still in the juvenile stage, however, feed it daily so that it gets the appropriate amount of nutrients and vitamins to grow to full size.

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 your size? Probably not. The Newt feels the same way.

As a result, Newts don’t bite people, especially not for food. That being said, Newts can secrete a poison from their skin as a self-defense mechanism. This toxin can be fatal to humans and should be approached with utmost caution.

Luckily, Newts and animals in general learn very fast who feeds them. With a little bit of time and patience, your Newt will learn that you are a friend, not a foe, and it will trust you for it.

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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 they don’t need to feed their pets vitamins. In order for your pet Newt to have the healthiest and best life possible, we highly recommend providing 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, Newts are carnivores that need a variety of insects and animals, despite their cute faces. Aquatic Newts specifically need a mixture of shrimp and aquatic insects, whereas terrestrial Newts typically only eat terrestrial insects.

As a pet, Newts still need a similar diet that consists primarily of fish or insects. We highly recommend using a calcium and multivitamin supplement as well to ensure your Newt gets all of the nutrients it needs.


Featured Image Credit: Brandon Alms, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.