3 Conversations

~ What are they?
Red spotted newts are amphibians and both the adults and the young newts, known as “efts”, have roughish skin with bumps on it. They are not slimy like salamanders or frogs, but instead are pretty dry, (when not in the water) more like a toad. The scientific name for them is "Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens".

~ Where do they live?
The red spotted newt is found from Nova Scotia (Canada) to the Great Lakes and south to South Carolina and Alabama. The adults are aquatic and live in slow moving streams, lakes and ponds that have lots of vegetation and/or submerged logs. The efts are terrestrial and live in damp woodlands.

~ What do they look like?
The adults are yellowish-brown or olive-green to dark brown and the undersides of them are a rather dull yellow. They are covered in tiny black dots and also have larger bright orange dots with thin black lines around them along their back. They are 2.5 to 5.5 inches (6.5-14 cm) long. The efts are bright reddish-orange with the same bright orange dots lined in a thin black line. They tend to have less of the tiny black dots however. They measure 1.5 to 3.5 inches (3.5-8.5 cm).

~What do they eat and what eats them?
Adult newts can sometimes be seen in shallow water hunting for food. They eat worms, insects, mulluscs, crustaceans, amphibian and fish eggs and larvae and other such creatures. The efts eat the same types of creatures but what they can find on land. Worms and small insects and crustaceans mostly.
Newts secrete poison through their skin and so are avoided by fish and other predators. This is why the adults have orange spots and the efts are bright red. Its a warning to potential predators that they wouldn't taste good.

~How should I go about looking for them?
They are rearlly seen out of water but usually resting on logs just below the surface of a pond or lake. Because of their skin color they would be pretty hard to spot in the water plants they like to rest and hunt in.
The efts are easier to see then the adults and your chances of finding them are better then that of finding adults. After a rain is the best time to look for them as this is when they come out and forage for food. If the forest is dry then your best bet is to look under logs or in hollow and rotting logs. Just remember to put the logs back where you found them and don’t go ripping the tar out of to many rotten logs.

~What about breeding?
Breeding takes place in late winter or early spring.

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