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How Long Can Newts Stay Out of Water?

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If your pet newt doesn't seem interested in the water, don't worry. Newts are amphibians, and like many amphibians they live both in water and on land. Many newts will live most of their lives on land until it is time to return to the water for breeding. Where they spend the majority of their time depends on the stage of life they're in and the type of newt they are.

Newts in the Wild

Newts belong to a subcategory of the Salamandridae family. Salamanders have 55 living species and are informally divided into true salamanders and newts. Salamanders have smooth, slimy skin while newts have rough skin. They are mainly found in Europe and Asia. Two genera can be found in North America, including the eastern newt that live mostly in the eastern United States. According to Animal Planet website, the larva of the eastern newt lives on land for one to three years before it returns to the water to transform into an adult.

From Eft to Adulthood

In the wild, most newts start life in the water and move to land. Larvae of some newt species transform into adults in three or four months, and newts of a few species stay the larval form their entire lives and can reproduce. Most species remain terrestrial until they return to water to breed. Before newts return to the water to mate, they can wander on land for years. During this stage a newt is called an eft. It can take 1 to 3 years before an eft reaches maturity.

Conditions in Captivity

Newts in captivity need housing that features water and land. The semi-aquatic fire-bellied newt, for example, needs 70 percent water and 30 percent land. The division of land to water, as well as filtration, will depend on the species you keep. A sturdy partition between land and water, such as carefully set stones or a ramp, helps newts go in and out of the water, according to The Amphibian website.

Water-Shy Newts

If your newly purchased newt doesn't enter the water at first they may have been exposed to poor conditions in captivity, including high temperatures and stress. Help ease your newt into his new environment. Provide resting places such as a rock or land platform in the tank that has a small portion sticking out of the water. That way, the newt can rest on top but cannot avoid placing a part of himself in the water. Once the newt acclimates to the water their urge to be on land often reverses.