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Salamanders and Newts

Salamanders and Newts

includes tiger salamanders and fire-bellied newts

Tiger Salamanders are the world’s largest land dwelling Salamanders. Fire-Bellied Newts are so named because of their distinctive bright reddish-orange markings on their bellies. While Tiger Salamanders are predominately land dwelling, Fire-Bellied Newts are primarily water dwelling, with the exception of juveniles.

Salamanders and Newts

Salamanders and Newts Facts

Average Adult Size 3 to 13 inches long, depending on species
Average Life Span 6-10+ years with proper care, depending on species
Diet carnivore

Will reach adult size in 4-6 months, depending on species and under ideal conditions; upgrade habitat size as your reptile grows.


A well-balanced Salamander or Newt diet consists of:

  • Aquatic - brine shrimp, bloodworms, live and frozen chopped night crawlers.
  • If terrestrial – provide a variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, mealworms, white worms and tubifex worms.
  • Also benefit from commercial diets.


Things to remember when feeding your Salamander or Newt:

  • Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times.
  • Feed Salamander 2-3 times a week, at night; feed juvenile Newts daily, adults every other day.
  • Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily and a multi-vitamin supplement once or twice a week.


  • Size - for terrarium, use glass, acrylic or plastic 10 gallon habitat; for aqua-terrarium, use glass habitat.
  • Habitat - for terrarium, provide a water bowl to submerge in, pieces of bark for hiding places; for aqua-terrarium, separate into land and water areas using a partition, or provide an island or alternate décor to get out of the water. Maintain 70% humidity by misting as needed every day.
  • Substrate - Salamanders prefer dampened sphagnum moss and pieces of bark, or a mulch-type soil such as coconut fiber. Newts prefer a water substrate of slate, or large smooth gravel; land area with decorative plants and similar substrate as Salamander. Avoid gravel and artificial turf that is too harsh for amphibian skin.
  • Temperature - 60-75°F.
  • Lighting - UVB rays with full spectrum lighting for 10-12 hours a day is required for Newts only; Salamanders require a 10-12 hour day light cycle using an incandescent day bulb during daylight hours only; recommend low level UVB lighting for Salamanders, but provide hiding places so they can hide from light as needed.
  • Can house several tiger Salamanders together, same for Newts but do not house different amphibian species together.

Normal Behaviour

  • Growing Salamanders molt every few days to every few weeks; they usually eat the shed skin.
  • Newts breathe oxygen and hold their breath when they dive.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Thoroughly clean the habitat at least once a week: place amphibian in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings; rinse thoroughly with hot water; dry the tank and furnishings completely and add clean substrate.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Don’t handle unless necessary; always wear latex gloves when handling your amphibian; residue or oil on your skin can harm amphibians; all amphibians secrete toxins, do not allow amphibian’s secretions to contact eyes, mouth, or open wounds.


Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Eats regularly; digests food properly
  • Maintains weight; avoids obesity
  • Healthy skin, clear eyes

Red Flags

  • weight loss
  • skin parasite
  • diarrhea
  • distressed breathing
  • lethargy
  • cloudy or dull eyes
  • skin lesions
  • bloated abdomen
  • poor balance

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Gas bubble disease Symptoms or Causes Bloating; bubbles under skin surface, loss of balance. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian and ensure water is not too aerated.
Health Issue Metabolic bone disease Symptoms or Causes Deformities, soft bones, paralysis. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian and ensure use of vitamin/calcium supplements.
Health Issue Skin problems Symptoms or Causes Abrasions, bacterial and fungal infections. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian.
Health Issue Wounds Symptoms or Causes Most likely to happen when amphibian is introduced to new surroundings and panics. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian.


Ask an associate about Petco’s selection of books on Salamanders and Newts and the variety of Petco Brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All Petco Brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all Amphibians are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your Amphibian and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for an Amphibian and should consider not having an Amphibian as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about Amphibians and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.