Salamanders and Newts
Wondering what the difference is between newts and salamanders? All newts belong to the salamander family, but newts have dry, bumpy skin. Salamanders have smooth, wet skin like a frog’s. Newts spend most of their time on land. Salamanders can live on land or in the water, depending on the species.
Salamanders and newts are amphibians. Most of them hatch from eggs that are laid near or in water. Most have gills when they are born. Later, they develop lungs. A few have both gills and lungs their whole lives. Lungless salamanders have neither gills nor lungs. They breathe through their skin. They also breathe through skin in their mouths.
Fun Facts about Salamanders and Newts for Kids
- Salamanders can lay up to 450 eggs at once. Many salamanders are good moms. They stay with their eggs or even wrap each egg in a leaf to protect it. Whew! That’s a lot of work!
- Salamanders often look like tadpoles when they’re born. They slowly develop their front and back legs. Unlike frogs, though, salamanders keep their tails.
- Salamanders’ legs are very short. Their tummies drag on the ground when they walk.
- Salamanders and newts are carnivores. They move slowly so they have to catch slow-moving prey like worms or snails.
- Salamanders and newts must stay near water. If they get too dry and hot, they’ll die. Look for them in wetlands and woodlands, under rocks or near streams.
- Some salamanders have poisonous skin. Their bright colors tell other animals to leave them alone.
- North America is home to more salamanders than any other continent.
Salamander and Newt Vocabulary
- Smooth: slick, even
- Amphibian: animals that hatch from eggs and develop legs and lungs after birth
- Gills: membranes on fish or amphibians that get oxygen
- Carnivores: eats other animals
- Woodland: area with trees, streams and meadows
Learn More All About Salamanders and Newts
Check out this really cool video of a newt in a near death scenario!
A video about a rough skinned newt surviving after being eaten alive.
Salamander and Newt Q&A
Question: How big do salamanders grow?
Answer: Giant salamanders can grow 6 feet long, but most salamanders are 2 to 6 inches long.
Question: Do salamanders make good pets?
Answer: That depends on your goals. Salamanders can’t be handled very much because their skin is sensitive. They’re nocturnal and they burrow into the soil so you won’t see them very much. On the other hand, they don’t need a heating pad like snakes or turtles, and they eat worms and crickets.
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