The skin of the crocodile newt is colored a chocolate brown or black. Along the tail, head, limbs and the tubercules of the rib peaks they may be colored orange or orange-brown. Their head is oval in shape.
Their tail is compressed and has a fin-fold that is well developed. The tail is typically lighter in color when compared with the rest of the body.
Females tend to be much larger than the males. An average length for this species is between 16 and 20cm (6.3-7.9in) long.
Crocodile newts are carnivores which will feed on a range of invertebrates such as insects and earthworms. Larvae will primarily feed on aquatic insects.
Adults may cannibalize young frogs and eggs.
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Asia is the native home of the crocodile newt. Here they can be found in the following countries – China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.
They may potentially be extinct in Viet Name while the species is considered extinct in Bhutan and Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Note: This species geographic range remains unclear as it continues to be split in to separate species or have populations assigned to other species. The range listed here is the current recognized range by the IUCN.
They make their home in mountain forests, shrubland and wetlands. Crocodile newts are often found near a water source such as a pool, stream or lake.
Populations of the crocodile newt can be found in close proximity to humans and agricultural areas.
Males will attract a mate by dancing around and bending, pushing and curving their tail.
Breeding occurs during the monsoon season when adults will gather at the breeding ponds. This is from March to May in much of their range but may continue till September in some areas.
Females will attach their eggs to water plants. Each clutch includes between 26 and 60 eggs. Females may provide some parental care.
Sexual maturity is reached between 3 and 5 years old.
Crocodile newts will move between the land and water. Most of the spring, summer and autumn will see this species be completely aquatic rarely emerging from the water.
Throughout winter and dry periods these animals will burrow under the ground.
These animals are primarily active at night.
Predators and Threats
Their bright coloration shows that the crocodile newt can exude a foul tasting substance if captured by a predator.
This species faces a number of threats including habitat destruction, the introduction of competitors, collection for the pet trade and for traditional medicine. In parts of their range they are collected and used as bait.
In some areas the crocodile newt is viewed as a bad omen and they may persecuted as a result.
The crocodile newt is known by a range of alternative names. These include the Himalayan newt, Mandarin salamander, red knobby newt, crocodile salamander or Inthanon salamander.
Crocodile newts are able to regrow limbs which may be lost. This ability is possible due to a peptide in their skin. Scientists have isolated this and will use it for research in speeding up wound treatment.
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By Wilfried Berns, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4234139\
By SATOSHI TOMIYAMA – originally posted to Flickr as Tylototriton verrucosus-Himalayan Crocodile Newt-アメイロイボイモリ, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9779003
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