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Having a pond or terrarium where a wide range of amphibians and reptiles can thrive in the vicinity of each other is one of the lingering ideas in every hobbyist and exotic animal owner’s head.
Of course, a combination of all these species can offer a colorful and impressive display. Yet, in reality, such an idea isn’t always as good as it seems.
This is because not all species of amphibians can coexist together in the same aquarium or terrarium setup. But can newts and frogs live together?
In today’s article, we’ll walk you through a brief guide with everything you need to know about mixing species of newts and frogs in the same habitat. Let’s jump right in!
Can Newts and Frogs Coexist in the Same Enclosure?
A mutually exclusive relationship in animals is a phenomenon where two species cannot coexist at the same time. In other words, one of them ends up killing or warding off the other.
Newts belong to the salamander family, which is a semi-aquatic species like frogs. Technically speaking, both frogs and news aren’t mutually exclusive, so they can “in theory” live in harmony together.
But in reality, frogs and newts will typically avoid each other in nature, so in the limited space of a terrarium, problems are almost inevitable when you combine the two species together.
For that reason, keeping the two species together is highly unrecommended if you don’t want to lose one of the species or you really know what you’re doing.
Factors That Prevent Newts and Frogs from Living Together
There are plenty of factors that make the idea of newts and frogs coexisting in the same vivarium quite a bad one. Let’s have a quick look at each one of these factors:
1 – New World Syndrome
New World Syndrome is a term that describes the non-communicable diseases that were brought from the old world when the New World was discovered by the Europeans in the early 15th century.
The problem here is that humans from the new world didn’t have the immunity or natural resistance to overcome diseases brought along by Europeans, which ended up causing a huge drop in the population of Natives.
A similar phenomenon can occur when certain species of newts and frogs are mixed together in a small vivarium.
These species can be brought from two completely different parts of the world, and while one species is resistant to local pathogens, the other species isn’t, causing both species to fall ill of possibly fatal diseases.
In fact, even captive-bred newts and frogs can still be carriers of some pathogens from their original habitat.
2 – They Can Feed on Each Others’ Tadpoles
Even the frog and newts you have in the vivarium setup come from a similar region and have similar resistance to local diseases, this isn’t the only problem between the two. As amphibians, both newts and frogs produce tadpoles.
Cannibalism in both frogs and newts species is not uncommon but is more evident between members of different species. In other words, a frog can eat the tadpoles of other frog species while newts can do the same.
When they live in a closed habitat, both frogs and newts will be tricked into eating each other’s tadpoles, which can greatly decrease the population of both species and may even wipe them out completely.
3 – Toxicity
Newts belong to the salamander family and a lot of them are known for being quite poisonous or toxic as a mechanism to protect themselves against predators.
Similarly, many frog species can also be extremely toxic or poisonous, including their tadpoles, which happens to be an attractive meal to newts.
For that reason, it’s quite difficult to predict the effect of each others’ poisons and venoms and the extent of toxicity within the habitat unless it’s too late.
4 – Malnutrition Due to Stress
Another major issue that will arise when the two species are housed in limited space is behavioral and changes.
Both newts and frogs are solitary creatures who like to live alone, and as previously mentioned, both of them will simply avoid each other in nature.
But, in a small habitat, even with the presence of proper hiding spots, both newts and frogs will become extremely stressed when they’re forced to live close to other species.
As a result, they might act out by rejecting food, which can lead to anything from malnourishment and compromised immunity to starvation and death.
Some frog species might also act out by becoming aggressive, so they would start bullying or even harming other passive creatures like newts.
5 – Huge Difference in Suitable Housing Temperature for Newts and Frogs
In addition to all the previous reasons, the ideal housing temperatures for newts and frogs are quite different, and there isn’t a proper mid-point temperature that you can set to make both of them satisfied.
For instance, most frogs will prefer humid environments with a warm vivarium temperature of about 75 and 85 degrees F (23.8 to 29.4 degrees C).
On the other hand, newts prefer a humid environment that is relatively cooler than frogs’ ideal range, which is usually between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 degrees F).
6 – Other Precautions to Keep in Mind
Newts and frogs have a fairly similar appetite, as they both feed on insects, worms, and slugs. However, different species may have specific preferences and are unfavored by the other.
Also, having frogs or newts that have a huge gap in their sizes could lead to bullying and other behavioral issues inside the vivarium, adding to all the previously mentioned problems.
There you have it! A brief guide with everything you need to know to answer the popular question “can newts and frogs live together?”
As you can see, both newts and frogs are able to coexist in the same habitat, as they’re technically not mutually exclusive.
However, it’s highly unlikely that both species will be able to thrive in that habitat due to several issues and differences between them.
So, in conclusion, having both frogs and newts living close to each other is generally a bad idea and should be avoided.