Spanish Ribbed Newt Care (Pleurodeles waltl)

Wondering about Spanish Ribbed newt care? These newts make fun pets for amphibian fans because they grow to such a large size. Reaching lengths of up to twelve inches in the wild, Spanish Ribbed Newts generally stay in the range of six to eight inches in captivity, which is still very large for a newt.

spanish ribbed newt care
Spanish ribbed newts can make excellent, hardy pet newts.

Also known as Iberian Ribbed Newts and Sharp Ribbed Newts, these guys can be found in the wild in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Their common names show a lot of variation, but they are all derived from the unique ability this newt has to puncture its own skin with the sharp points of its ribs as an interesting  defense mechanism. In addition, during the process of ejection, the ribs are coated with a toxin or poison that would irritate a potential predator’s mouth. Not much is known about this behavior, however it’s very rare that rib ejection occurs in the captive animals and it is not harmful to humans.

ribbed newt rib defense
A photo of the Spanish Ribbed Newt’s defense mechanism of ejecting its ribs.

Ribbed Newts prefer an aquatic environment, so make sure that when housing these animals, their tank is equipped with a lot of water. Ideally, they should live in an aquarium with a small land mass to completely get out of the water if they desire. Temperatures should be kept below 72 degrees as these newts are very tolerant of cold but don’t do well in heat.

ribbed newt pet
Notice the orange tubercles where the ribs will protrude if this animal feels too threatened.

In the wild, Spanish Ribbed Newts are opportunistic eaters, chowing down on whatever stumbles across their path. When kept as pets, these newts will do well when fed pre-made shrimp/worm pellets, newt pellets, live worms, and other slugs and invertebrates. They are pretty indiscriminate when it comes to food.

pet newt picture

Breeding these newts is very easy. In fact, Spanish Ribbed Newts have been taken into space on expeditions before just because they are so simple to breed. All that is required is a pair of healthy, sexually mature newts. Under normal conditions, the females will become swollen with eggs and the males will develop crests and nuptial pads. This is how you know its time to drain most of the tank’s water and allow the courtship ritual to begin. Within one week of successful mating, the female will begin to deposit her eggs, which are usually attached to an aquatic plant. Larvae will hatch in about seven to ten days! What a speedy reproductive cycle!

Like many designer reptiles, Spanish Ribbed Newts have even been bred to express  the gene that causes leucism, but most are normally a brown or black in color with colored knobby warts.

pleurodeles waltl care

Backwater Reptiles currently offers Spanish Ribbed Newts for sale. Get yourself a pair and start your own breeding project!

The Rarest Newt in the World: The Iranian Kaiser Newt

The Iranian Kaiser Newt (Neurergus kaiseri) is the single rarest newt in the world. It originates from an area of land that is only ten-square kilometers in size in the hostile desert climate of Iran, making it hard to come by in captivity.

rarest newt in the world

Brilliantly colored with orange, black, and white markings, the Iranian Kaiser Newt is a hardy amphibian, largely due to the obstacles it has to overcome to survive in a harsh, relatively inhospitable habitat like Iran. We don’t hesitate to say it’s perhaps the hardiest newt we’ve ever had the pleasure of keeping–in fact, we have never lost a single one.

rarest newt


In captivity, the Kaiser Newt should be cared for much like any other newt or salamander. This species of newt seems to highly prefer an entirely aquatic setup. While we do provide floating cork bark for them to climb out onto, they very rarely use it. We have 20-gallon tanks with about 5-6 inches of water, a filter that helps clean and circulate the water, a floating piece of cork bark, and a pebble bottom (large pebbles). They absolutely thrive using this setup.

The Kaiser newt is gregarious and multiple newts can housed together in one enclosure–it’s not uncommon for them to spend time huddled together. These newts eat virtually any insects they can fit in their mouths and the captive-bred ones have been known to go so far as to beg for food. Suffice it to say that they are not picky eaters!

Our’s happily consume a diet of live blackworms and frozen bloodworms, and have also accepted small waxworms and crickets dropped onto the surface of the water.

Neurergus kaiseri care

While we do provide moderate lighting during the day, Kaiser Newts enjoy the dark and will be most active once the lights go out. In fact, they may utilize their hide spaces all day and only emerge once the Sun has set (or once you have turned off the lights in your home and their enclosure).

Backwater reptiles currently has a selection of flawless captive-bred Iranian Kaiser Newts for sale and due to the endangered nature of this species and the fact that it is illegal to export them nowadays, we encourage hobbyists to breed the animals to help contribute to the conservation effort.+

rare neurergus kaiseri


Crested Newts for Sale!

Backwater Reptiles just received a shipment of Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus), also  known as Northern Crested Newts, Great Crested Newts, or Warty Newts. These fun, hardy, little amphibians are most known for their spectacular appearance during mating season, but more on that later.

triturus cristatus

Backwater’s Crested Newts are mid-sized, averaging about three inches in length, but these newts can grow to be up to seven inches long.  They are generally brownish-black in coloration with the exception of their undersides, which are vibrant yellow or orange-colored with dark blotches.

crested newt amphibian

As mentioned earlier, Crested Newts are well-known because during the mating season, the males present with large, jagged crests along their backs and tails which assist in their mating rituals and distinguish them from the females. They are easy to breed simply by replicating the cues they would follow in nature, which for this species is a drop in temperature for a few weeks followed by an increase in temperature.

crested newt care
Here’s a beautiful male Crested newt during breeding season.

Crested Newt Range and Food

The Crested Newt is native to Britain and Europe and has protected status overseas which means limited to no wild-caught animals are available, but the captive bred newts in the U.S. have adapted well and thrive in captivity. They can be housed in either a fully aquatic or semi-aquatic enclosure and eat a wide range of foods such as earthworms, bloodworms, and even frozen reptile pellets.

crested newt care sheet
Crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

If you’re interested in purchasing one of your own, or even a breeding pair, Backwater Reptiles has Crested Newts for sale.