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Commonly Asked Questions About Newts & Crabs

Q: Is a newt different from a salamander?

A: Yes, but the differences are fairly subtle. Newts and salamanders both belong to the same basic family, Salamandridae. However, a newt’s skin is rougher than a salamander’s.

Q: Why do baby newts look so different from adults?

A: Newts go through three distinct phases, just like frogs. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles have feathery gills. Eventually they develop legs, and the gills are replaced with air-breathing lungs. During that “eft” stage, they live on the land. When they reach full maturity, they return to the water for the remainder of their lives.

Q: Are newts really poisonous?

A: Many newts do produce a toxin which can be poisonous if ingested. Most newts can be handled safely, but prolonged physical contact is not advised, because human skin oils can be equally dangerous to them.

Q: Why are newts so much brighter than salamanders?

A: Newts have very bright skin to warn predators away. Predators instinctively avoid animals with brightly colored skin, because it usually means that they are poisonous.

Q: Why are Fiddler Crabs sometimes called “Halloween Crabs”?

A: Because of their brilliant purple and orange colors.

Q: What do Fiddler Crabs eat?

A: Practically anything! Fiddler crabs are scavengers, and will eat anything from vegetation to scraps of dead meat.

Q: What kind of tank setup should I keep my Fiddler Crab in?

A: Bigger is always better; think how you’d feel if you were trapped in a single-room efficiency apartment for the rest of your life.

Q: Are hermit crabs really hermits?

A: No! Despite their name, hermit crabs are really quite social. In places where they still live wild, hundreds of thousands gather together during mating season.

Q: Are hermit crabs “throw-away pets”?

A: Absolutely not! If properly tended, hermit crabs can live for decades.

Q: How can I make sure my hermit crab lives for a long time?

A: There are many different factors that contribute to hermit crab health. Proper space (they require a lot of room!) and plenty of shells to move into as they grow are an absolute must.

Q: What do hermit crabs eat?

A: Like their cousins, the Fiddler Crabs, hermit crabs will eat almost anything. Make sure to remove day-old scraps so that they don’t turn moldy and dangerous.

Q: Should I put sand in my hermit crab’s tank?

A: Hermit crabs don’t really live on sand in the wild. They actually live at the upper edges of the beach, where the sand gives way to bracken (dead leaves and branches). Sand is not recommended as a substrate, unless it’s a small part of the habitat, because it harbors bacteria and is difficult to clean.

Fiddler (Halloween) Crabs

Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crabs Fiddler Crabs

Red Efts (Baby Newts)


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Pretty red-spotted newt on a log
Red-Spotted Newt
Cool photo of a newt larva in green water
Newt Larva
Lovely fiddler crab aka halloween crab on leaves and bracken
Fiddler Crab
(aka Halloween Crab)
Hermit crab in green shell shows tons of cute personality Carribean hermit crab in natural shell clinging to the side of a tree
Hermit Crabs