Do Newts Eat Tadpoles?

Newts can prey on a number of small animals, and since these amphibians are aquatic or semi-aquatics, much of their prey is found in the water. These carnivorous amphibians will hunt in ponds, streams, lakes, and even on land.

Do newts eat tadpoles?

Newts are carnivores that frequently eat tadpoles. They feed on a range of aquatic prey, from tadpoles to fish and small frogs. In addition, these amphibians will also hunt terrestrial prey, such as bugs.

4 Newts That Eat Tadpoles

1. Smooth Newt

floating smooth newt
floating smooth newt | image by Clint Budd via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris
  • Where they are found: North America and Britain
  • Diet: tadpoles, fish, bugs

Smooth newts are commonly spotted across North America, near ponds and in wooded areas. These amphibians are usually green or brownish in color, and are fierce hunters in aquatics settings.

Not only do these newts frequently go after tadpoles, but they are also known to eat small frogs, fish, shrimp, and snails. These newts can also be spotted across regions of Britain.

2. Palmate Newt

resting palmate newt
resting palmate newt | image by Frank Vassen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Lissotriton helveticus
  • Where they are found: Europe
  • Diet: tadpoles, fish, crickets

Palmate newts are a common amphibian spotted across Europe, and they thrive in moist settings like bogs and wetlands. These newts will hunt tadpoles and other aquatic prey, in addition to some insects. Palmate newts are also known to hunt fish, spiders, crickets, and even small frogs.

3. Eastern Newts

eastern newts
an eastern newt | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Notophthalmus viridescens
  • Where they are found: North America
  • Diet: tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish

Eastern newts, like most other newt species found around the world, will feed on tadpoles and a range of other aquatic prey. Newts are carnivores, and will eat tadpoles, fish, small frogs, and water bugs. They will also eat a range of land prey, such as spiders, roaches, and flies.

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Due to how often eastern newts eat mosquitoes and mosquito larvae, they have been considered helpful to people. These newts are common across North America, and live near ponds, lakes, and marshes.

4. Fire belly Newts

fire belly newts inside the aquarium
fire belly newts inside the aquarium | image by Σ64 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0
  • Scientific name: Cynops pyrrhogaster
  • Where they are found: Asia
  • Diet: tadpoles, crickets, fish

The Japanese fire belly newt, often just called the fire belly newt, is one of the smaller types of newts known for feeding on tadpoles. These amphibians also eat crickets, worms, and small fish.

The Japanese fire belly newt can be found in regions across Asia, and is most common in Japan, which is where their common name comes from. They can be found in forests, marshes, and wetlands.

Are Newts Carnivores?

Newts are carnivorous amphibians, and they can be fierce aquatic predators. They will hunt for food, and are not that picky about what they consume. Various types of newts are natural predators of tadpoles.

These amphibians have a wide-ranging diet though, which includes aquatic and terrestrial prey.

What Else Do Newts Eat?

red spotted newt
red spotted newt | image by pondhawk via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Newts are hunters and carnivores, and there is plenty they will eat in addition to tadpoles. Newts have a wide diet, and while it includes plenty of aquatic prey, they can also find food to hunt for on land.

The newt diet includes;

  • Tadpoles
  • Frogs
  • Small fish
  • Mosquitoes
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Spiders
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers

Other Animals That Eat Tadpoles

Even though newts are a common predator for tadpoles, they are not the only ones. There are several types of aquatic and land animals that will eat tadpoles.

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Animals that will eat tadpoles include;

  • Newts
  • Frogs
  • Water snakes
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Lizards

Do Newts Start As Tadpoles?

tadpoles underwater
tadpoles underwater | image by Björn S… via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Just like frogs and toads, newts will begin life as tadpoles. A female newt can lay hundreds of eggs at one time, and these will hatch into tadpoles. These tadpoles grow in ponds and similar bodies of water until they develop into adult newts.

Some newts will have gills as adults and spend their entire life in the water, while others develop lungs and will spend a lot of time on land. Some newts do not return to their home ponds until time to lay eggs of their own. Unlike frogs, newts lay eggs on aquatic plants, and will only lay one at a time.

What Eats Newt Tadpoles?

Frog tadpoles have to worry about being eaten by predators, and so do the larvae of newts (aka newt tadpoles). Not only will some newts eat these tadpoles, so will plenty of other aquatic carnivores.

Newt larvae can be eaten by;

  • Fish
  • Toads
  • Frogs
  • Other newts
  • Lizards
  • Small snakes

As adults, newts face an entirely different range of predators. Adult newts can be eaten by snakes, raccoons, birds, coyotes, foxes, and other omnivorous animals.


Newts are capable of eating plenty of tadpoles, even the tadpoles of other newts. As aquatic carnivores, they will also frequently hunt fish, mosquito larvae, and small frogs.

Some newts will hunt land prey such as spiders, crickets, and other insects. Whether kept as pets or found in the wild, these amphibians can and will feed on tadpoles.

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About Jesse Martin
Enthusiast and pet owner

Jesse grew up with pet reptiles and amphibians and has remained close to them into adulthood. He has experience with boa constrictors, pythons, Argentine horned frogs, bearded dragons, geckos, tortoises, and more. Jesse's daughter currently has a corn snake, her first pet reptile.