How to introduce smooth newts to water?

FishForLife2001

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Hi all,

I currently have my m/f pair of smooth newts hibernating in a container. I plan on introducing them into the water between the end of the month and mid March. What is the best way of doing this? Can I simply place them into the water or is there a better procedure?

I also have three small newts produced by said pair last year. Should these want to move into water or will they remain terrestrial until adulthood?
 

caleb

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The juveniles will almost certainly stay terrestrial until their first breeding. Sometimes they'll enter the water in the autumn before breeding, but spring is more usual.

If the adults are really ready to become aquatic, you can just put them straight into the water. They might try to climb out at first, but will usually get used to it within a few hours. Their skin might appear silvery (due to trapped air bubbles) at first- this will disappear as their skin adapts.

Alternatively, you could make a floating island from a piece of polystyrene with a bit of moss on it, put them on that, and just remove it when they've gone in the water.
 

FishForLife2001

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Thanks for the reply Caleb. Are there any signs they are ready to become aquatic?
 

caleb

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There aren't any really obvious changes. Sometimes their skin gets a bit darker, and sometimes they develop a hint of a raised crest along the back (this can happen in females as well as males).

If they've been on land in the cold for a few months, and the water isn't too warm, they should go in with no problems.
 

ndbug

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I keep half my populations in water with no transitions. Half I let on land when they morph. The fully aquatic populations become more robust and sexually mature faster.
 
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