Length 3 – 4 in. (7.5-10 cm). Although most salamanders do not become land dwellers until they have reached a terrestrial juvenile stage, just the opposite is true with newts. About three or four months after hatching, the tiny larva loses its gills, acquires lungs, and begins life on land in the Red Eft immature state. Unlike the adult newt, the eft’s bright red- orange skin is somewhat dry and rough. Its tail is rounded, much like a lizard’s, rather than wedge-shaped. During the next two to three years, it will forage on the forest floor, often wandering about during the day, especially during or just after a rain. Although it is conspicuous during this Red Eft stage, other animals seldom bother it because its skin glands produce irritating secretions. During the third year of its life, a remarkable transition occurs. The skin becomes slimy and changes from orange to olive green. The tail becomes broad and wedge-shaped, and the body looks more like that of a salamander than a lizard. At this point, the salamander returns to water to breed and remains there for the rest of its life as a mature Red-spotted Newt. Newts occur sporadically throughout our state in permanent or semi-permanent bodies of water bordered by relatively undisturbed woodlands.
Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/id%20guides/pub348.pdf