Choosing your pet
Pick out the largest and healthiest newts you can find (and ignore the people who flip them over and make big, glaring eyes at them as if they had X-ray vision). Observe them closely for at least a few minutes in order to choose a healthy pet properly, and remember that activeness does not always indicate good health. Most newts are not overly active in nature, and prefer instead to rest on plants or hide under logs. Yes, much like tired dogs on a hot day.
If the newts you see are thin or appear weak, it might mean that the poor fellows are not properly nourished or that they have a disease. If they have difficulty swimming and sumberging properly, this could point to diseases like bloat, which are very difficult to cure, so it's best not to choose these. Sorry, Bubba.
Also remember never to mix different species of newts together because they have different personalities. While it's not as bad as introducing the Terminator to Pee Wee Herman, let's just say that there could be 'issues'.
Next: Care and feeding
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