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Newt vs. Salamander: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 20, 2024
Newts are a type of salamander typically characterized by a semi-aquatic lifestyle and rougher skin, whereas salamanders include a broader group of amphibians with generally smoother skin.

Key Differences

Newts are a subgroup within the salamander family, known for their distinct life stages, which include an aquatic larval phase, a terrestrial juvenile phase, and a return to water in adulthood. Salamanders, a larger group, include species that are exclusively terrestrial, exclusively aquatic, or, like newts, have a variable lifestyle.
In terms of physical appearance, newts often have rougher, more textured skin and are usually smaller in size compared to some salamander species. Salamanders typically have smoother, moist skin and can range widely in size depending on the species.
Habitat-wise, newts are generally found in moist, aquatic or semi-aquatic environments, especially during breeding seasons. Salamanders have a broader range of habitats, from damp forests to streams, depending on their specific species requirements.
Behaviorally, newts have unique adaptive strategies for survival, such as the ability to regenerate lost limbs. While many salamanders also possess this ability, the broader salamander group exhibits a wide array of behavioral adaptations, suited to a diverse range of environments.
In terms of diet, newts primarily feed on small aquatic invertebrates. Salamanders, on the other hand, have diverse diets that can include insects, worms, and other small creatures, depending on their habitat and species.

Comparison Chart


Semi-aquatic, with distinct life stages
Variable: terrestrial, aquatic, or both

Skin Texture

Rougher, textured
Generally smoother


Typically smaller
Varies widely by species


Moist, aquatic/semi-aquatic environments
Diverse: forests, streams, etc.


Small aquatic invertebrates
Insects, worms, varied by species

Newt and Salamander Definitions


A small amphibian that is typically semi-aquatic.
I spotted a newt swimming in the garden pond.


A member of the amphibian family with a lizard-like appearance.
We found a salamander under the wet leaves in the forest.


Newts undergo a distinct aquatic larval stage.
The newt larvae in my aquarium are starting to develop legs.


Known for their ability to live in diverse environments.
Salamanders are adaptable and thrive in various habitats.


Known for their rough-textured skin.
The newt's skin was bumpy to the touch.


Salamanders often have smooth, moist skin.
The salamander's skin was slippery and wet to the touch.


Primarily feeds on small aquatic invertebrates.
Newts in my pond feed on the water insects.


Some salamanders are entirely terrestrial or aquatic.
The salamander in this region lives entirely on land.


Capable of regenerating lost limbs.
It's fascinating how the newt can regrow its tail.


Their diet can include a range of small creatures.
The salamander was seen eating small insects and worms.


Any of several small, often brightly colored, aquatic or semiaquatic salamanders of the family Salamandridae of North America and Eurasia that typically breed in water but spend part of their lives on land.


Any of various small, tailed amphibians of the order Caudata, having porous scaleless skin and usually two pairs of limbs of equal size, found chiefly in northern temperate regions.


A small lizard-like amphibian in the family Salamandridae that lives in the water as an adult.


Any one of several species of small aquatic salamanders. The common British species are the crested newt (Triton cristatus) and the smooth newt (Lophinus punctatus). In America, Diemictylus viridescens is one of the most abundant species.


Small usually bright-colored semiaquatic salamanders of North America and Europe and northern Asia


What do salamanders eat?

Salamanders typically eat insects, worms, and other small creatures, depending on their species and habitat.

Can salamanders survive in dry environments?

Some terrestrial salamanders can survive in dry environments as long as they have access to moisture.

Are all salamanders capable of living in water?

No, some salamanders are exclusively terrestrial, while others are aquatic or semi-aquatic.

Can newts regenerate body parts?

Yes, newts have the remarkable ability to regenerate lost limbs, tails, and other body parts.

Are salamanders good swimmers?

Aquatic and semi-aquatic salamanders are adept swimmers, while terrestrial ones are less so.

What defines a newt?

A newt is a small, semi-aquatic amphibian with a distinct life cycle and typically rough-textured skin.

Do newts hibernate?

In colder climates, newts can enter a state of hibernation during winter.

Are newts poisonous?

Some newt species secrete toxins as a defense mechanism, but not all newts are poisonous.

How long do salamanders live?

Salamander lifespans vary by species, with some living just a few years and others over 20 years.

What is the difference in skin texture between newts and salamanders?

Newts typically have rougher skin, while salamanders generally have smoother, moist skin.

How do newts reproduce?

Newts reproduce in water, where they lay eggs that hatch into aquatic larvae.

Are salamanders active during the day or night?

Many salamanders are nocturnal, being most active at night.

Do newts have teeth?

Yes, newts have small teeth used for grasping prey.

Are newts solitary or social creatures?

Newts are generally solitary except during breeding seasons.

Do newts need to live near water?

Yes, newts are semi-aquatic and need access to moist or aquatic environments, especially for breeding.

How do newts communicate?

Newts communicate primarily through body language and chemical signals.

Do newts have gills?

Newts have gills during their larval stage but lose them as they mature into adults.

Can salamanders be found worldwide?

Salamanders are found in various parts of the world, but not everywhere; they are absent in most of Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

Can salamanders regrow lost parts?

Yes, many salamanders have regenerative abilities, similar to newts.

What habitats do salamanders prefer?

Salamanders prefer moist environments like forests, streams, and ponds, but this varies by species.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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