Mikey, pictured above, is an Eastern Newt (Latin name Notophthalmus viridescens) whom we found on the doorstep of our house this summer. Since he seemed inclined to the domesticated life, we put him in a 10 gallon tank, and he’s been happily munching on flightless fruit flies ever since. If you happen to find one of these amphibians (and there are hundreds in New England during wet summer nights) and decide to keep it as a pet, I would highly suggest the fruit flies as a staple diet. I spent a couple of weeks trying everything from pinhead crickets to hand-caught pond skimmers, all to no avail. Once I found that Petco has vials of fruit flies, though, at the reasonable price of $5.99, I made the hour-long trip to the nearest one and bought two vials. NOTE: If you buy them online, they’re almost $30. Definitely worth the drive if you have a Petco anywhere near you.
One of the great things about the fruit flies is that they reproduce for several generations in the vials, as long as there is enough medium for them to eat. I have also started experimenting with breeding my own flies, with some materials bought from Ward Scientific (more on breeding flies and how much money it can save you in a later post). I finally had my first generation of home-hatched flies born in one of my cultures, and so far they seem even larger and juicier than the imported generation.