Salamanders and Newts

With over 4000 species of amphibians, salamanders and newts comprise of 350 of the total amphibian species. Salamanders and newts are most commonly seen in the Americas but can also be found in the temperate zones of Africa, Asia and Europe. Salamanders and newts have no external ear openings, claws or scales this separates them from being commonly mistaken for lizards. An interesting fact about salamanders and newts is they can regenerate limbs, eyes, jaws and other internal organs.

Image Courtesy of Sara Viernum

Image Courtesy of Sara Viernum

The Difference Between Salamanders and Newts


Newts are from the family Salamandridae although they are not considered salamanders they are classified into the subfamily Pleurodelinae. Newts have been typically recognized as animals that spend the majority of their time in water. The relationship between newts and salamanders has been uncertain but is believed to have evolved from one common ancestor. The spectacle salamander, Corsican Brook and Sardinian Brook salamanders are classified in the subfamily Pleurodelinae, but are not newts. Even though there are no distinct physical differences other than newts having a rough skin, all newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts.

Salamanders and Newts in Captivity

red spotted newt

Image courtesy of Virginia Herpetological Society

Salamanders and Newts, while ‘cute’ are not recommended for beginning keeper or kids. They are not to be handled, but for the intermediate keeper they can be an excellent break from the normal amphibian pet! Captive enclosures range from natural looking glass terrariums to man-made ponds outdoors. Each species of salamanders and newts require different slightly conditions but all require partial land and water enclosures. Fire-bellied Newts tend to be the most commonly seen newt available to hobbyists. While Tiger Salamanders are the most popular salamander.

They are both carnivores and depending on whether the species lives primarily in water, semi-aquatic or terrestrial depends on their prey of choice. They can eat anything from insects to tadpoles and the occasional salamander or newt. Most captive animals live primarily on an available source of prey items. Crickets, earthworms, meal worms, blood worms, and other small invertebrates that are commercial bred for food.

Salamander and Newts Facts and Care Articles