Newts and Salamanders

Red-Spotted Newt ~ in or near freshwater in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, newts and salamanders (Caudata) are a group of amphibians that include about 10 subgroups and 470 species.

Most newts spend part of their lives in water and part on land and are two to six inches (5 to 15 cm) long. Newts and salamanders are silent amphibians, they do not croak or make loud sounds like frogs and toads. Newts have slender bodies, short legs, and long tails. They are greenish, brownish, or blackish above, and yellowish, orangish, or reddish below. The body is typically striped or spotted. The skin of many species secretes a substance that is toxic to predators.

Newts have the ability to regenerate limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and upper and lower jaws. They feed on insects, spiders, worms, crustaceans, molluscs, and the eggs and larvae of other amphibians.

Female newts lay one egg at a time on a specially selected piece of pond plant. She sniffs the leave to make sure it has the right cellulose amount and then after laying one egg closes the leaf around it with her back legs and glues it shut over the egg. It’s usually pretty easy to spot a clutch of salamander eggs. They look like a mound of bubbles or jelly, and you can count each egg.

Fire salamander (Salamandra salamander)

On land, newts and salamanders bend their bodies from side to side when they walk. The way they move helps them support their bodies. Their tails are used for support, too. In the water, these animals move their bodies and tails in an S-shape and swim like fish.

Newts hibernate in winter usually under logs and stones and in rubble piles. Some individuals occasionally spend the winter in the bottom of ponds.

Red-Spotted Newt