10 Types of Salamanders to Keep as Pets (With Pictures)

Types of Salamanders to Keep as Pets
Photo by Mikołaj Kołodziejczyk

There are many good reasons why people pick different types of Salamanders to Keep as Pets; this is because they have relatively simple needs in terms of care and shelter, and they are exceptionally fascinating creatures.

Salamanders and newts are two of the most popular kinds of amphibians that people keep as pets worldwide.

There are about 650 different species of salamanders and newts, and many of them are ideal if you are looking for the best types of salamanders to keep as pets.

Like the vast majority of other amphibians, they spend most of their lives (if not their whole lives) in water.

Salamanders and newts share many characteristics, but there are a few key differences between the two.

Even though they are all related to salamanders, newts are distinguished from their relatives by the presence of webbed feet and tails that resemble paddles.

Salamanders have longer, rounded tails and developed toes that have evolved to dig in the dirt efficiently.

Because of this, they are best adapted to live on land. Newts are salamanders that spend the majority of their time in the water.

However, because certain species aren’t as well-known as others, not everyone knows how to care for them.

Do not acquire a salamander or newt without first conducting the necessary amount of study.

You have high hopes that your new companion animal will live its entire expected lifespan, which might be at least 15 years or even more, with the right kind of attention and maintenance.

Remember that if you’ve never owned an amphibian as a pet before, you probably shouldn’t go out and purchase the most exotic species.

Even if you have previous experience with other types of pets or reptiles, it is best to begin with the basics.

Best Types of Salamanders to Keep as Pets

1. Eastern Newt

Eastern Newt
by Greg Schechter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Notophthalmus viridescens
  • Average Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
  • Average size: 4 – 5 inches

Taking care of an Eastern Newt can be a bit difficult because the animal goes through three life stages, each of which has a unique set of housing requirements.

The larvae are aquatic, the young ones are terrestrial, and the adults are mostly aquatic.

Four regional varieties of the Eastern Newt have colors and markings that are easily distinguishable from one another.

However, DNA investigations have shown that these regional varieties are not real subspecies because they have very little genetic variation.

Their housing requirements vary depending on their life stage, but even adults require a terrestrial area containing pebbles or wood.

These newts can thrive in both shallow and deep bodies of water; therefore, the depth of the water is not a significant factor in their habitat preference; however, they prefer quiet water.

2. Fire Belly Newt

  • Scientific name: Cynops pyrrhogaster
  • Average Lifespan: Up to 25 years
  • Average size: 4 – 5 inches

The Fire Belly Newt is a species of newt that is native to Japan. It is a somewhat large newt, reaching an average adult length of around 5 inches.

People frequently confuse them with the Chinese Fire Belly, which has a similar appearance but is somewhat smaller and less robust than Japanese species, which also have a distinct skin texture.

Because they require circumstances similar to those found in semi-aquatic environments, Japanese Fire Bellies can only be housed in large tanks.

These newts have a preference for colder water temperatures and aquatic vegetation that is lush and dense.

It has been noted that these newts live practically totally aquatic lives in certain locations and semi-aquatic lives in others; therefore, you will want to provide them with both possibilities when they are kept in captivity.

3. Fire Salamander

Fire Salamander
by wwarby is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Salamandra salamandra
  • Average Lifespan: 6 – 14 years (up to 30 years in some cases)
  • Average size: 6 – 12 inches

There are at least six distinct types of fire salamanders, making them a species and subspecies that are fairly complicated.

They are rather large amphibians, reaching a maximum adult length of between 6 and 12 inches, and their skin coloring is normally dark or glossy black with lighter markings.

Because these salamanders can cover a big area in their native environment, they will feel the most at home in a tank as large as you can make for them.

If you plan on breeding them, they will also want a small body of water in addition to the substrate you provide, which should consist of moss, bark, and leaf litter.

On the other hand, they are mostly terrestrial animals and only come into contact with water during the reproductive process.

4. Marbled Salamander

Marbled Salamander
by 2ndPeter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Ambystoma opacum
  • Average Lifespan: 4 – 10 years
  • Average size: 4 – 5 inches

The size between medium and chunky Adult Marbled Salamanders can grow to a maximum length of 5 inches, yet despite their small size, they have a stocky build.

They often have dark bodies with white stripes that go horizontally down and across their heads.

These salamanders are sometimes referred to as “mole salamanders” because they spend most of their life underground in burrows.

It is best to provide these salamanders with a deep enough substrate made of loose soil; however, this will make watching them much more difficult.

A suitable alternative is the use of damp paper towels, with pieces of the towel crumpled up to provide a hiding spot for the insects.

When utilizing paper, they should also have shelters made of rocks or bark to give a few additional hiding places for themselves.

5. Tiger Salamander

  • Scientific name: Ambystoma tigrinum
  • Average Lifespan: 10 – 20 years
  • Average size: 8 – 13 inches

The Tiger Salamander is one of the species that is maintained as a pet more frequently than any other species.

This is because they have stunning, one-of-a-kind colors and an easygoing disposition.

They are fearless animals known to identify their owners and have even been known to beg for food from those owners.

All these characteristics make them the ideal types of salamanders to keep as pets.

They can grow to a maximum length of 13 inches as adults and survive as long as 20 years when kept in captivity.

These salamanders are easy to care for, which is another factor that contributes to their widespread popularity.

They can adapt to a terrestrial lifestyle and can survive in a wide variety of different enclosures.

Because they like to burrow, the optimum environment for them is organic topsoil devoid of chemicals or pesticides.

Additionally, pieces of driftwood, boulders, or bark provide excellent places to hide.

If you are new to the hobby of raising salamanders, Tiger Salamander is by far the easiest species to care for and obtain.

6. Axolotl

by scazon is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum
  • Average Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
  • Average size: 15 – 17 inches

The Axolotl, often known as the Mexican Salamander due to its common name, is one of the largest species of Salamander and may grow to a maximum length of 17 inches when fully grown.

The fact that they maintain some of the characteristics of their larval stage into adulthood, including their gills and fins, distinguishes them from other species of salamanders and makes them one of the most popular types of salamanders to keep as pets.

Because these salamanders never leave the water and lead a life entirely submerged in water, they also need housing submerged in water.

They require a water depth of at least 7 inches, along with large plants, substrate, and rocks that are bigger than the Axolotl’s head.

This helps prevent the Axolotl from swallowing anything in the environment.

These amphibians require a gentle filtration system rather than lights because flowing water is stressful for them.

However, lights are not necessary for the environment.

7. California Newt

California Newt
by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Taricha torosa
  • Average Lifespan: Up to 20 years
  • Average size: 6 – 8 inches

The adult length of the California Newt can reach up to 8 inches, which classifies it as a species of newt that is among the larger of its genus.

They are frequently kept as pets, even though it is against the law to do so in California, where they are initially from.

They are ideal for beginners because they are easy to care for and have a distinctly non-aggressive nature.

However, they contain tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin, and it’s vital to wash hands and utensils thoroughly after coming into contact with these newts.

Depending on where they are in their life cycle, California newts require housing that is either semi-aquatic or terrestrial.

Once they reach adulthood, however, they spend most of their time on land, except when mating.

Because they do not require an exceptionally high humidity level, they are simple to care for; all that is needed is a daily misting of their terrarium.

8. Dunn’s Salamander

Dunn's Salamander
by Greg Schechter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Plethodon dunni
  • Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Average size: 5 – 6 inches

The Dunn’s Salamander, native to Japan, is gaining ground as one of the best types of salamanders to keep as pets because it is hardy and requires minimal maintenance.

They are relatively little salamanders, with an average adult length of around 6 inches, and their bodies often have a gray-green base color with black dots in a circular shape.

However, certain species of salamanders do not have any spots on their bodies, and their complete bodies may have an iridescent blue coloring.

These salamanders spend their time on land but frequently venture into the water to search for food or spawn.

An appropriate habitat for these salamanders should have aquatic and terrestrial areas, as they spend the majority of their time on land.

They are solitary creatures that spend most of their time concealed from view.

9. Slimy Salamander

Slimy Salamander
by 2ndPeter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Plethodon glutinosus
  • Average Lifespan: 18-20 years
  • Average size: 6 – 8 inches

If you handle a Slimy Salamander, it may leave behind a sticky, clear material that clings to your fingertips.

Although all salamanders feel damp to the touch, the Slimy Salamander is particularly sticky.

Although it is bothersome to people, the chemical does not in any way put them in danger; yet, some may find it repulsive.

Despite all these tendencies, they are among the best types of salamanders to keep as pets.

They require a low level of maintenance and can be put in an enclosure that is as small as a shoe box made of plastic.

Because they spend the majority of their time hiding and feeding on small insects like crickets, you should make sure to provide adequate places for them to conceal themselves.

10. Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander
by 2ndPeter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Ambystoma maculatum
  • Average Lifespan: 18-20 years
  • Average size: 6 –10 inches

The Spotted Salamander is one of the rarest species of Salamander and also one of the ideal types of salamanders to keep as pets.

This is not the case because the animal is rare, difficult to care for, or expensive to purchase; instead, it is because it has something of a “cult following.”

People who have had experience with them in the past extol their praises, while others who have no knowledge about them do not know very much about them.

Another species of amphibian that falls into the medium-sized category is the spotted Salamander.

The average length of an adult female is between six and seven inches.

However, they can sometimes reach a maximum length of ten inches. Males are also easily discernibly less robust than their female counterparts.

People who choose to keep Spotted Salamanders as pets are typically drawn to the animal because of the vivid combination of yellow and orange spots on its back.


It is possible to refer to newts and salamanders as “hands-off pets” since they do not enjoy being handled and do not make good pets from an observatory perspective.

They have incredibly delicate skin that is readily harmed and can lead to the development of bacterial illnesses if it is handled roughly. These infections can be fatal.

They are simple creatures to care for most of the time, but they have a few requirements.

Because they spend the most time in the water, the water in their tank must be clean and free of any pollutants.

Additionally, the water temperature in their tank must not be too high, as this can cause their immune system to become compromised, making them more prone to contracting infections.

It is also essential to keep in mind that they are predominantly nocturnal, which means you will only observe them active throughout the night.

These amphibians are not the best alternatives for you as a pet, regrettably, if you are looking for something interactive or cuddly in nature.

However, newts and salamanders are great pets if you are seeking something intriguing to watch as it goes about their daily activity.

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