Eastern Newt
eastern newt range

Status: common

Length: 2.5 to 4 inches

There is only one species of newt in Wisconsin.

The eastern newt is an interesting critter. It can go through three phases beyond the larval stage-- aquatic adult, terrestrial (land dwelling) adult and terrestrial eft. The eft is a very uncommon juvenile form. The newt is primarily aquatic, so you'll have to try to spot this critter in the water. The aquatic adults have smooth skin with orange and black spots on a brownish-orange to light olive-colored background. The terrestrial (lives on land) adults are dark olive to brown above with a whitish underside speckled with black flecks. The skin of the terrestrial adults feels like sandpaper. The eft, the terrestrial juvenile phase, is primarily a plain brown-orange color with tiny black flecks throughout. It seems that most newt larvae change directly into the aquatic adult form in Wisconsin. They are occasionally found in the terrestrial form. Scientists think that weather seems to affect what form the larvae become.

Predators beware! The eastern newt has a toxic skin that acts as a defense to help keep predators away.

Newts live in well-vegetated woodland ponds, roadside ditches, and wetlands near the banks of lakes and rivers. They eat small earthworms, snails, aquatic insects, and other amphibian larvae.