Difference Between Newt and Salamander (With Table)

Both newt and salamander fall under the amphibian. Amphibian is made up of two words: Amphi (dual) and bio (life), and it refers to animals that can live both on land and underwater. Though newt is one type of salamander, it is somewhat different from them. Furthermore, most amphibians with tails are classified as salamanders.

Newt vs Salamander

The main difference between newt and salamander is that newt amphibians are brighter in color in comparison to salamander due to the presence of toxins on their bodies. Moreover, the newt mostly prefers to live alternatively as both land species and aquatic animals, while salamander mostly lives underwater like other marine animals.

A newt is a salamander that differs from the other amphibians belonging to the salamander family in terms of physical appearance (coarse and bright in hue), habitat (semi-aquatic), and way of living. The threat to their survival comes from human activities (loss of habitat and pollution). Otherwise, it has a life span of up to fourteen years.

The oldest fossils of the amphibian salamander may be in Kyrgyzstan. When physically touched, they resemble frogs and are wet. Generally, it can be found in the northern part of the hemisphere. Human activities or predator invasion pose a threat to their survival. Therefore, in most countries, it is specially protected.

Comparison Table Between Newt and Salamander

Parameters of Comparison



Skin Texture

Newt has rough skin and looks very dry.

Salamander has smooth skin.

Physical Appearance

It has webbed feet, and its tail resembles the paddle.

It has larger feet and tails comparatively.


Live alternatively on land and in water.

It lives in a moist area (either near water bodies or underwater).


Newt breed in the deep ponds.

Salamander either breed in water bodies or forests.

Defense mechanism

It secrets the poisonous toxins to attack the predators.

It leaves its tails behind like lizards as a defense mechanism against predators.

What is Newt?

A newt is an amphibian that belongs to the salamander family of amphibians. It looks more like lizards. Despite being classified as a salamander, it is distinct from other members of the reptile family.

Newt was discovered for the first time during the late Mesozoic period when oceans were forming. A total of 100 newt species have been identified, with the majority of them being found in North America, Europe, North Africa, and Asia.

To protect themselves from predators, most newts are venomous and produce toxins. Furthermore, it contains tetrodotoxin (dangerous toxins for the human body if ingested). As a result, eating newts is not recommended.

The newt’s skin is tough, and it has webbed feet and tails like a rudder (beneficial for swimming). Newt comes in multiple vibrant colors, including orange, olive, and brown. For protection and hibernation during the winter, newts seek refuge in piles and muddy pond banks.

The female newt lays about 200 eggs on the leaves in the spring when it breeds in the water. The newt goes through three stages of development. The first stage is aquatic larvae, which means they stay in the water for up to five months before moving on to the second stage, which is known as the terrestrial juvenile stage.

It means it lives on the land after five months in this stage and is called eft. When it turns into an adult, it enters into an adult stage and then lives underwater. It means, while growing, newt live alternatively underwater and on land.

A unique feature of newts is their ability to repair body parts if they are damaged or harmed by predators. Even some newts can regenerate their iris.

What is Salamander?

Salamander is known to be a group of most of the amphibians who have tails and appear to be like frogs. Newt also falls under this group. Since salamanders mostly live in moist places, their skin is moist when touched. They even lay their eggs in the wet (near water bodies).

Salamander can grow in multiple ways depending on the species. For example, some thrive in water like a newt. Some grow from an egg on land. There are a few which develop from the tiny larva.

The salamander could be six feet long or only 0.6 inches long (Thoriusarboreus salamander). It has long paws, a tail, and an entire body. Furthermore, they look to be slim. They are primarily found in the Holarctic realm or ecozone.

Moreover, some of them have two legs, while others have four legs. But like all amphibians, they have four limbs and do not have claws like land animals. They appear to be dull in hue. Since they are environmentally sensitive, they fall under endangered species in some regions like the USA.

They are nocturnal (very active at night and lazy in the morning). Underwater, they tend to breathe through either gills, lungs, or skin based on the different members of the salamander.

Main Differences Between Newt and Salamander

  1. Newt breeds in water during spring. However, salamanders can breed either on land or in water, depending on the type of the species.
  2. The newt has four legs, while the salamander has either two or four legs.
  3. The newt has a very rough texture skin in comparison to the salamander, which is glossy.
  4. The newt can regenerate most of the body organs such as limbs and tails. On the other hand, mostly salamander can only regenerate tails.
  5. The newt appears very vibrant as compared to other salamanders.
  6. The newt can defense itself by releasing extremely toxic toxins. On the contrary, salamander leaves their tails back to fool predators and save themselves.


One should not be confused between amphibians (newt and salamander). Newt is an amphibian belonging to the family of the salamander. So, consider it as newt are a subset of the salamander. All salamander fossils have been discovered in Kyrgyzstan, an Asian country that dates back to the Mesozoic era and is roughly 165 million years old (Jurassic and Cretaceous era).

From its appearance to its breeding, the newt differs in many ways from other salamanders. Moreover, newt has a shorter lifespan up to twenty years. However, some species of salamander can live up to 50 years. But nowadays, salamanders are endangered due to pollution. Many projects in the Western world have also been launched to conserve it.


  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/biological-reviews/article/evolutionary-ecology-of-facultative-paedomorphosis-in-newts-and-salamanders/45CD23C93EF284DC03576F7B9791B54A
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065345408602028