The Eastern Newt
Der Grünliche Wassermolch (German)
La tritón del este (Spanish)
Species: notophthalmus viridescens
It is a common species in the eastern part of the USA and in the south-east of Canada. They can be found in woodland near lakes and ponds.
An adult newt can reach 13-15 cm in length.
Larvae are olive brown, they have flattened body and external gills. Young newts are terrestrial and have very bright coloration: they can be red-brown, bright orange or even crimson with bright red and black dots. Adult newts are green-brown or yellow-brown. Depending on the terrain, the pattern can consist of dots or bright red lines. The belly is lighter than the back, it can be yellow or orange. The whole body is covered with small black dots.
These newts normally have calm and gentle disposition, they are easy to care for. However they shouldn’t be handled unless absolutely necessary, since they become dehydrated and stressed easily. Handling a newt can even poison it because humans have salts and oils on their bodies that the newt will absorb.
Eastern newts may require different conditions depending on the stage of their life cycle. Adult newts need a 40 litre tank with a lot of plants and a log or a small island. The water can be quite deep (in the wild they can be found in the lakes up to 13 m deep). This species prefer slack water, so you will have to set a filter so that it doesn’t create a powerful flow. If the tank is kept in a room with normal ambient temperature, heating is not necessary. Young newts need a horizontal tank with a lot of shelters and with a high level of humidity. They need a thick layer of substrate where they can bury themselves.
Adult newts eat worms, small fish and amphibians, insects and other invertebrates. Young newts eat cricket powder and drosophila.
Amphibians are very sensitive to the environmental conditions and can get ill under improper husbandry. Wild-caught newts are particularly prone to illnesses that occur due to stressful situations and bad conditions during transportation. In order to keep amphibians safe, you need to keep all new specimens in isolation for a while, even if they look completely healthy.
Average life span is about 12-15 years.
The breeding season begins in late winter and lasts until early spring. Females are attracted by a male's spots, which he uses to lure a female towards him. He also makes fanning motions with his tail and emits a pheromone (sexual odor). When a female approaches, the male climbs onto her back and begins to rub his head on her snout. Males then deposit a sperm packet on the bottom of the pond and the female moves forward to pick it up. Males might compete with each other, but it is usually females who choose their mates. Females lay 200 - 400 jelly covered eggs on submerged vegetation. After 3 - 8 weeks the eggs hatch producing tadpoles with gills and brown/green colouration.
After 3 - 4 months the larvae lose their gills, develop sac-like lungs and emerge onto land as a red eft. The eft is bright red, orange or brown in colour with black-edged red spots along their back and rough skin. Their body is slender with a laterally flattened tail.