Newt, a salamander found in or near freshwater in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Most newts spend part of their lives in water and part on land. Most newts are two to six inches (5 to 15 cm) long. Newts have slender bodies, short legs, and long tails. They are greenish, brownish, or blackish above, and yellowish, orangish, or reddish below. The body is typically striped or spotted. The skin of many species secretes a substance that is toxic to predators. Newts feed on insects, spiders, worms, crustaceans, molluscs, and the eggs and larvae of other amphibians.
The female lays as many as 400 eggs on submerged vegetation or submerged rocks. Larvae emerge from the eggs in about five weeks. The larvae of some species change into adults in three or four months. Newts of a few species remain in the larval form their entire lives but can reproduce. The larva of the eastern newt, a species found mostly in the eastern United States, lives on land for one to three years and then returns to the water to change into the adult form. In its larval form the animal is known as the red eft. As an adult it is greenish-brown.