Neurergus crocatus AKA Yellow Spotted Turkish Newt
Neurergus crocatus (Pronounced new-rer-gus crow-cat-us), known as the Yellow Spotted Turkish Newt, are black newts with yellow polka dots. Easy to care for and a reasonable size at about 10cm (4 inches), these newts are great for a keeper who is interested in a semi-aquatic species. Needing both water and land in their tanks, these unique little newts have not proven to breed well in captivity, but individuals do well and can live for well over 20+ years!
Minimum Enclosure: 60cmX30cmX30cm(24”X12”X12”)
Heat: 18°C-25°C (65°F-77°F)
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts aren’t too variable in their coloring and patterning. A black newt with yellow spots, these little amphibians can reach up to 10cm (4in) in length. With their big black and white eyes and typical newt tail, crocatus stands out among newts and is not easily confused with other species.
Distribution and Natural Habitat of Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts are native to Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. These newts like it wet, and are swimmers, so they are often located near or in ponds or streams. These water sources are prone to drying up, so crocatus can also survive for a time out of water. These newts are listed by the IUCN Red List as “Vulnerable”, meaning they are at risk of declining populations due to habitat change, warmer overall temperatures, collection for the pet trade and a deadly virus affecting all salamanders and newts around the world. Due to the location of their natural habitat range, it’s difficult to gather new data on these fascinating newts in the wild.
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts are nocturnal, meaning they are awake at night. While being more terrestrial than some other newts, crocatus really appreciates its water source. Likely due to drying of water in the wild, in captivity some specimens never leave the water, as if expecting it to evaporate at any moment. It can take about 5 years for a newt to reach sexual maturity, so breeders can have a pretty long wait. Slow and plodding, these newts stroll along at a leisurely pace, and are also capable of digging shallow holes or exploring pre-existing ones. They can also be found in damp cellars. When sexually mature, these newts will return to the water. Females get their pick of males, and after mating and depositing eggs they will go their separate ways.
Life in the Vivarium
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts require a humidity range of 70-100%. Half the vivarium should be water and half should be land, so the newt can choose which to utilize at it’s will. They will often be on the wet side, but a dry side must be present for basking. Crocatus appreciate limestone rocks as decor, and will climb them and hide within them.
Crocatus thrive at temperatures near 22°C (71°F) but can survive a range of 18°C-25°C (65°F-70°F). Never exceed 27°C (75°F) as this can be fatal to the newts. Generally a heat source such as a pad or light is not needed on a newt vivarium, apart from any lighting for plants and UVB depending on personal preference. UVB for these newts is a highly debated topic, and does not as of yet have any concrete evidence for or against. Neurergus newts are nocturnal, so they likely would not receive much sunlight in the wild. If you are unsure, you can always supplement with vitamin D3 during feeding. Do not rely on sunshine from a window, because the sun through the glass will heat up to extremely unsafe temperatures very quickly. Keep note of any air conditioning or heaters used in your home as well, as they may affect the temperature in your newt cage. These newts will appreciate a slight temperature drop to 18C (64F) at night, and can function happily at lower temperatures.
It is possible to house a single juvenile crocatus in a 10 gallon aquarium. We recommend larger than this, with 60cmX30cmX30cm(24”X12”X12”) being fine for 2-4 newts – but bigger is always better.
As juveniles you can house several crocatus together, and as adults they do well in groups or colonies. Remember to increase the enclosure size substantially the more newts you add. 10 gallons per newt should be the minimum.
These animals should be handled as little as possible, preferably not at all. They have semi-permeable skin, meaning they absorb anything on your hands. The natural oils present in our skin are bad for these newts, so gloves (powder free latex) should be worn when handling.
It is possible that your Neurergus will live to 20+ years in a vivarium. Please consider this before deciding to take them home to your family.
Crocatus require small live prey to hunt. This is easily achieved by providing them with flightless or wingless fruit flies and crickets. Baby and juvenile crocatus will eat Drosophila hydei. Crickets at 2-3 weeks of age are the correct size for adult crocatus. The flies and crickets on their own are a poor nutritional source. We recommend “dusting” your fruit flies or crickets with a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement. Include small amounts of D3 if not providing the newts with a UVB bulb.
It is very common to build a bioactive vivarium for your newts. This is achieved by introducing isopods and springtails into the environment. These little land crustaceans (no they are not insects!) will eat the decaying and decomposing bio matter as well as any excess feces in the vivarium. Some of these micro fauna will be eaten by your newt, as a little snack.
As with all our newts, we do not recommend that you house multiple species or morphs together. Please supply each group with a vivarium to call their own.
Breeding Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts in Captivity
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts have proven to be difficult to breed in captivity for many keepers. At Jungle Jewel Exotics we have had limited success breeding our crocatus. We find that by keeping them terrestrial for 80% of their life, then introducing them to an aquatic set up for breeding purposes only in early spring. Our local water is already fairly hard as it contains lots of mineral content from the rocky mountains and a PH value similar to their natural environments. As we live in Calgary, we also have weather systems called Chinooks, which have wild swings in barometric pressure and temperature in a day sometimes as much as 30°c within 24 hours!!. This has given us some success when timing the newts spawning. By doing a large water change with cooler, hard water it will simulate the natural run off from snow caps melting and rain storms from in the wild. This helps signal to the newts that it’s the perfect time to breed, as their natural ponds and springs will be flowing for the next several months. The female will lay eggs on the underside of floating plants, logs or rocks in slow moving water.
After about 2-3 weeks the eggs will hatch as aquatic larvae ( similar to tadpoles). However with their gills on the outside of their body. For the next several months they will slowly develop their legs and lungs. During this time you will see the larva coming to the surface to gulp air from time to time. We feed our newly hatched newt larva freshly hatched brine shrimp, and daphnia. As the larvae grow we start feeding them live grindle worms, and eventually small live white worms and frozen bloodworms. After about 5 months you will see the dark colors on their body turn black. It won’t be much longer until they start to absorb their gills and metamorphose into juvenile newts with fully functioning lungs! Great amount of attention is needed at this stage as they can be very vulnerable to drowning. We removed the metamorphing newts to another enclosure that had clean shallow water but was very easy to crawl out of the water or to rest on the water edge to breathe air. During this time the newts don’t eat. After some time to metamorphose we move the juvenile newts to a terrestrial enclosure and resume feeding them. At this point we feed them drosophila hydei (flightless fruit flies) and tiny1 week old crickets. As the newts grow, we slowly increase the size of the prey until they are eating 3 week old crickets as adults. Breeding and raising baby newts is very challenging, time consuming and requires a lot of your attention. This would not be recommended for anyone other than the most experienced keeper. However as adults they make a great amphibious pet!
Neurergus crocatus Yellow Spotted Turkish Newts are small, slender newts who love to swim and are quite personable. Easy to keep and great for an experienced keeper who wants an enclosure with both water and land, these newts’ bright colors will keep you entertained for many years. Their difficulty to breed appeals to the most experienced amphibian enthusiast.