It has nothing to do with the cute little amphibians, or Newt Gingrich--my domain was named long before anybody knew about him. No, it was named after the little girl in Aliens. Don't ask me why. I think it was the way she enunciated her name--it stuck in my brain.
Since I've never held one hostage, I don't know. However, the Encyclopædia Britannica, includes the following:
also calledEFT, any of more than 40 species and 10 genera of salamanders constituting the widely distributed family Salamandridae of the order Caudata. They are called newts when aquatic and have moist skin, but are called efts when terrestrial and have rough skin. The name newt is derived from the expression "an eft," which became "a neft" and the letter "f" was transformed by popular usage to a "w."
The newt's body is long and slender, and its tail is flattened laterally (higher than wide). Different species of newts live either on land or in water, but all return to ponds or streams to breed, usually in spring. The fertilized eggs usually hatch in three to five weeks' time, and the aquatic larvae metamorphose into adults in late summer or early fall. Most young newts lead a completely terrestrial life, but when two to four years old they begin their annual or permanent return to the ponds. Newts eat earthworms, insects, snails, and other small animals.
In Great Britain newts are represented by three species of the genus Triturus, members of which are sometimes called tritons. The most common British newt is the smooth newt, T. vulgaris, a spotted form that also occurs widely throughout Europe. The largest European newt is the warty newt, T. cristatus, which grows to approximately 17 cm (7 inches). The California newt, Taricha torosa, found in humid regions of western North America, grows to about 15 cm in length. A common species of eastern North America is the red eft, Notophthalmus viridescens. The red eft lives on land for two or three years before becoming permanently aquatic. As it does so it turns from bright red to dull green with a row of red spots on the sides. The Japanese newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster, is frequently kept as a pet, surviving for several years in captivity. Newts are also found in the Middle East, Iran, and large areas in China and adjacent regions.
"newt" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
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[Accessed October 3 1999].
Copyright © 1999, 2008 Bill Wohler
Last modified: 2008