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Reptile Rapture
6308 Monona dr., Monona WI 53716
608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Name: Spanish Ribbed Newt
Scientific Name: Pleurodeles waltl
Origin: Native to Spain and Portugal (the Iberian Peninsula) south to the northwest coast of Morocco.
Size: 7"-9"
Lifespan: 7-10 years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.

In the wild, the aquatic Spanish ribbed newt inhabits ponds, lagoons, marshes, and even irrigation ditches. Because it's not a strong swimmer, it lives in still (or very slow moving) water and takes advantage of underwater vegetation to hide in. During times of drought, this species will seek out areas under rocks or other protective hiding places to stay moist.

After mating, the adult female lays eggs, usually attaching them to underwater plants or other fixtures. When the young hatch, they emerge in their larval form as tadpoles. They have voracious appetites and feed off of tiny plankton, insect larvae, etc.

As the young mature, they transform into the aquatic eft stage (at 3-5 months). They now have the appearance of a salamander and no longer have feathery gills or dorsal and ventral tail crests. This is a good stage at which to purchase your new pet since they're able to consume commercially available newt food pellets.

Once the Spanish ribbed newt grows into adulthood, it usually lives a solitary lifestyle except during mating season.

Your newt will do well in a normal aquarium. A 15 gallon tank is usually fine for one pair of adults. For each additional newt, you should increase the size of your tank and the amount of water by 5 gallons. The water should be deep enough to enable free swimming--around 10" (deeper if you are breeding a pair).

Your aquarium should be furnished with live plants, live java moss, plastic plants, or other similar elements to make life more interesting for your newt. Live aquatic plants also help maintain water quality.

Be sure to include floating plants, a turtle platform, or a small floating land mass so your pet can easily climb out of the water to rest.

The bottom of the tank can be left bare, or if you prefer to line it with gravel, make sure the pieces are large enough not to be swallowed. They also should be smooth and rounded. Sharp stones can injure your newt.


Use tap or spring water that has been treated with drops of dechlorinator (or alternately, let it sit out for 24 hours). Do not use distilled water which can harm your amphibian from its lack of minerals.

Once a week, you will want to remove waste from the bottom of the aquarium using a fish tank siphon. Then you should change out the water by replacing at least 50% of the volume. Make sure the temperature of the new water is the same as that inside the tank.

To keep your newt healthy, consider doing a complete cleaning once a month or so (if needed).

A water filtration system can be employed but may stress your animal. If you use a filter, you don't want a strong current in your water. Spanish ribbed newts live in still waters. Use plants or other obstacles to reduce water movement.

The Spanish ribbed newt does well in cooler water. The temperature is best kept between 60-68° F. The species can tolerate up to 72° F without issue. Water temperatures above this, however, will stress your animal and is not healthy.

Lighting (including ultraviolet) is not necessary. Yet if you choose to have a fixture overhead, use LED or fluorescent lights so as to not increase the water temperature from hot bulbs. If the lights are too bright, your newt may hide at the bottom of the tank. This can be remedied by positioning floating plants to soften the intensity.

Your Spanish ribbed newt will eat a variety of foods. You can offer it Zoo Med Aquatic Newt Food, shrimp pellets, and turtle pellets. Also Reptomin Food Sticks, freeze-dried shrimp, and mosquito larvae.

Rounding out this diet are live foods. Insects, earthworms (if small or chopped up) bloodworms, slugs, guppies, smaller crickets, and more. Hunting these will add some excitement to your pet's life.

We do not recommend using other feeder fish because they could carry disease.

The Spanish ribbed is one of the largest newts in the world and loves to eat. It will explore its territory, search for food, and interact with others of its kind. 

If you must handle your newt, do it sparingly. Make sure your hands are wet so as to not disturb the salamander's protective mucus skin coating.

Like all amphibians, these guys are quite sensitive to toxins in their environments. So do not use strong smelling cleaning products, scented candles, or incense near your aquarium. Smoking in the vicinity of your pet can also be toxic as they absorb chemicals through their skin (even airborne ones).

Take good care of your pet and have fun watching its fascinating behavior.