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My sister lost a newt in the house

  1. Jul 7, 2005 #1
    My sister lost a newt in the house. Is there anything we could use to track it's body heat? Like goggles or something that would show it's body heat? Is there anything else like that we could do? Just a quesiton. I guess it wouldn't give off that much body heat though

    I mean I read this: Newts and salamanders are ectothermic which means that their body heat is derived and determined by external sources such as the sun, warmth from the ground or even water. A better term might even be poikilothermic: Amphibians normally allow their body temperature to fluctuate with their surroundings. Their body temperature is usually approx. 2 degrees above their surrounding temperature. Ground dwelling amphibians, terrestrial newts and salamanders are subject to slight temperature changes*living along the forest floor, but not nearly as drastic as we experience living in urban areas. Newts and salamanders move from shade to shelter throughout the seasons in order to help control their body temperature.

    It's just that it could be anywhere- under the carpet, in the wall, etc. If we had a thing we could just shake around that would show it's body heat or something...
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2005 #2


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    You could set a trap for it- put out some smelly or noisy food, create hunting conditions (darkness and quiet or whatever). Do they have mating calls or anything?
    You could also just be very quiet and listen for it to make some noise.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2005
  4. Jul 7, 2005 #3


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    What kind of newt is it, what habitat do you have for it?

    A good thorough search of the room where it was lost is your best bet, but you've probably tried that already. It's strange because I almost lost my newt yesterday. I went to feed the fish in the tank he resides in and he's sitting on the back of the hood looking down at the floor as if preparing to jump. I scooted him back in and rigged some plastic sheeting to block his way out. Hopefully he won't keep trying to escape! :grumpy:

    A "trap", as honestrosewater suggested, may be your next best option. The type of amphibian traps we use in the field aren't all that amenable to home use but maybe you can modify it. Basically you half bury a long sheet of rigid plastic or metal along a suspected path/habitat and at intervals along the way bury jars that act as pitfalls. My suggestions would be to set up jars or similar containers along the walls that contain some damp/wet substrate such as sphagnum moss or vermiculite, preferably what you kept him on in his cage, and perhaps add some of the food you provide him with as well. Trays of water may also work if you can rig some ramps to provide access. Leave these up for a while and cross your fingers. Good luck and keep us posted.
  5. Jul 7, 2005 #4
    It's a fire-bellied newt.

    Okay, I think I know where the newt is, but I can't get it out. I'd like to, just to know whether it was dead or not, (and to save it if it's alive) (keep in mind it could be alive because it could have survived on spiders...or...something) (and to find out where it was and if its dead to dispose of it) and to prove to my sister that I could have found it earlier if she hadn't misinformed me about the vents.

    As far as I can tell it would either be:

    Outside (Unlikely)
    Upstairs (Apparently unlikely)
    Downstairs (Despite the fact that we've searched, it could be downstairs)
    or *gasp* it could have gone into one of the two open vents in my sister's room. There's a straight, level tunnel between those two vents and there's the two vents themselves (One of which only goes in one direction). I didn't really explore the tunnel option earlier because my sister said that the tunnel goes down, but it doesn't, it's a level tunnel between the two vents. (Apparently) If the newt went down there, it could still be in that tunnel. I'm not saying it would be alive or anything but maybe it would be. But would there be a way to tell if it was in that tunnel? Could we get it out somehow? I suggested trying to suck the newt out of the tunnel/vents (without damaging it/killing it) with something that would actually suck it out of the tunnel/go inside the tunnel and suck it out. But then I thought we could maybe place a barrier (So that it doesn't go into a different tunnel) and try and get it out with a broom or something (But in a way that wouldn't hurt it. So we wouldn't necessarily be able to use a broom because that might hurt it.) (Assuming of course there's a possibility that it's still alive. How long could it survive outside the cage for?)
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2005
  6. Jul 8, 2005 #5


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    Depending on the humidity, temperature and/or access to water it could survive for several days. If you think it is in one of those ducts, try placing the traps in there and let them sit. I can't see that the suction method would work, it would take a lot of suction. If you're mechanically inclined you could rig up a homemade remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a camera attached and search the vents that way :bugeye: , although that seems a bit over the top (but probably something I would do anyway! :biggrin: ).
  7. Jul 8, 2005 #6
    thanks I'll see what my family wants to do. I think they think it's probably dead though but I'll let them know what you said about how it could maybe survive for several days
  8. Jul 8, 2005 #7


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    I had a couple of Anoles (tropical lizards) escape in my house. They survived in the walls on bugs for a while.

    I beleive your newt will seek darkness and moisture.
  9. Jul 9, 2005 #8
    Both the vents seem to only be connected to each other. They don't seem to go in any other direction since it seems that a wooden wall stops them from going any other direction (I looked with a mirror and a flashlight)

    I just want to know if the newts in there; couldn't I just xray the tunnel or something lol?
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