Fun Facts About Fire-Bellied Newts

   

 07-12-16-randal-2-front-face-shot-showing-underside-resized.jpgFUN FACTS ABOUT FIRE-BELLIED NEWTS:

Fire-bellied newts like cool temperatures of 68 F or 20 C.  But they can tolerate 70 F or 21 C.  They may become sick if you keep your tank at higher temperatures.  I’m going to go lower the temperature for Randal1 and Randal2 right now.  Perhaps that is why they are sluggish and very seldom move. 

Newt close up  Fire-bellied newt have glands on the side of their head that secrete toxins.  This can cause skin irritations and may be poisonous to some animals.  Do NOT handle your fire-bellied newts unless you absolutely have to and after touching them wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

There are two kinds of newts that are referred to as fire-bellied newts commonly kept as pets.  The Cynops orientalis is the Chinese fire-bellied newt (also called the oriental fire-bellied newt or the dwarf fire-bellied newt) and the Cynops purrhogaster is the Japanese fire-bellied newt.

Newts cuddling  Newt bellyThe Chinese fire-bellied newt, Cynops orientalis is approximately 3-4 inches long (6-10 cm), with smooth skin that is dark brown to black over most of their body.  Their fire-belly usually has orange as the predominant color. They have poison glands on the sides of their head.  Randal1 and Randal2 are Chinese fire-bellied newts.

The Japanese fire-bellied newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster, is approximately 3.5 to 5 inches long (9-12 cm) with a rough or bumpy appearance to the skin.  Usually its fire-belly is more of a speckled pattern of red-orange. They have poison glands on the side of their head.

Fire-bellied newts will regulate their intake of food and do not usually become obese even if food is available at all times.

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How We Like Our Tank Set Up

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-spread-out-in-strange-post.jpg

Hi,

Today we’re going to tell you what we like and dislike about setting up a home for us.

First, we have seen some tanks that are just water and a small flat area of dry land.  YUKKKK!  How boring.  Don’t they realize we are animals in need of variety and fun?

How do you know whether we like to spend most of our time in the water or on land?  You don’t unless you provide us with a lot of both.  For instance, Brownie spends almost all of her time in the water hanging on to the edge of the land area.  Greenie spends most of his time on a rock that is submerged by the waterfall.  And, Limey hardly ever goes into the water at all.  He likes to sit up high and overlook his domain.  Sort of like “King of the Mountain.”

Limey would spend more time in the water if he had to because there was only one small rock in the tank, but he wouldn’t be happy.  Brownie would spend less time in the water if the tank had only a small area of water, but she wouldn’t be happy.

If you are going to keep pets, let them be as happy as they can be.

Here is how April has our tank set up right now so we can all enjoy what we like.  She rearranges our tank every time she cleans it making new hiding places to find which keeps us interested in our environment.  Toads can get depressed just like any other animal.

April has a 30 gallon tank and likes to keep fish in it so she has to have a lot of water in the tank.  But, she wanted a lot of land for us and the newts also.  So she put 2 vases in the water upside down.  As you can see in the picture below the larger vase is clear so it doesn’t block your ability to watch the fish in the tank.  She also has a tall underwater cave structure and puts a plastic baby fish holder on top of that.  She used to use the baby fish holder to protect the baby guppies from the other fish when she raised guppies.  She puts decorative rocks, shells and some small plastic plants in the baby fish holder to add weight to it before setting it on the top of the underwater cave.  She places that structure and the two vases in a triangle to be the support structures of the land mass she is going to construct.

08-01-14-front-of-tank.jpg

She has an upside down ceramic bowl on one of the vases to help start making the land mass above the waterline.  She has a flat piece of plastic from the top of an older hexagon aquarium that she balances between the three tall support columns.  Then she adds some large flat rocks until she has a large flat land mass (most of this area is still slightly under water).

08-01-14-side-of-tank-better-view.jpg  You can see the underwater cave and plastic baby fish holder on the right side of this picture.

Now comes the fun part.  She adds different size rocks to the land mass and builds hiding places by placing flat rocks across the top of round rocks.  That way we can hide and she can still see us.

08-01-14-side-of-tank-top.jpg   08-01-14-newt-hiding-places.jpg   08-01-14-top-of-tank-with-toads.jpg

She also puts in extra long plants so their tops float on the water.  We all love to sit on those sometimes.

11-15-07-exc-g-b-photo.jpg   08-01-14-top-of-tank-front.jpg

Then we are almost set.  One last thing she does is make sure the rock under our waterfall is placed just right.  She doesn’t want us hopping up into the water filter but more importantly she knows how much Greenie loves to sit below the waterfall hiding under a rock for hours at a time.  So, she makes sure the flat rock under the waterfall has a good hiding rock on it for Greenie.

08-01-14-waterfall-with-toads.jpg  Of course, Limey has to keep an eye on Greenie at all times.

We all like to climb up on the waterfall rock and take showers every so often.  The newts don’t though.

Did you notice the piece of carrot in some of the pictures above?  It is for the crickets.  With all the rocks in the tank the crickets can hide from us so April sometimes puts a bunch of crickets in the tank.  She puts the carrot in so they have something to eat and will be fat and plump even if they manage to hide from us for a few days before we catch them.  She changes the carrot stick out for a new one every day though otherwise it would get moldy.

This is a good home for the fire-bellied newts also since they really don’t like to be forced to spend all or most of their time in the water.  At least Randal1 and Randal2 would prefer to be out of the water in a damp area instead of directly in the water.

April thinks having fish in the tank keeps us entertained.  She catches every one of us watching the fish every now and then.

We love our tank!

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

07-12-12-brownie-and-newts-cuddling.jpg  Brownie, Randal1 and Randal2

10-29-07-greenie-under-rock.jpg  Greenie

07-12-16-limey-close-up-front-showing-belly-resized.jpg  Limey

Full House

Hi,

Our house is full of animals today.

April bought us all food–even Fluffy, the corn snake.

He got three mice.  But, he didn’t eat the third one so April got rid of it.  Mice smell whether they are alive or dead and this one was dead so out it went.  Fluffy gets 15 minutes to decide whether he is going to eat it or not and then he just has to wait until next time which in his case is a couple months.  We’re glad we don’t have to go two months between meals!  April got what she thinks is a great video of Fluffy eating his mice.  She plans on putting it up on the blog soon.  We think she is crazy.  Why would anyone want to watch a snake eating when they can watch us–the mighty hunters eat?

More important than Fluffy and his mice are the wax worms and crickets she got for us.  April makes a house for the wax worms so they don’t die in a couple days like they used to.  She takes an empty Glad plastic container (Tony’s lunch meat comes in it) and puts a mixture of oatmeal and honey on one end.  Then she puts the wax worms in the other end including the bedding them come in (after picking out the wax worms that have already died).  They like the oatmeal and honey mixture because in the wild they eat honeycomb from bees nests when they are in the wax worm phase of their life.  She does poke holes in the top of the Glad plastic container and keeps it on in case the worms think about crawling out.  She hand fed both of the newts pieces of a wax worm today.  She also hand fed Limey, but ,as we all know, Limey will eat anything so that isn’t too hard.

She also fixed up the cricket keeper with carrots and oranges for the big batch of crickets she bought today.  They think they are in heaven with so much good food and fun places to hide in in the cricket keeper.  April said we have to eat wax worms until the crickets get bigger.

So our house is full of animals today.  We can see the crickets and wax worms from our aquarium and if toads could salivate we would be doing just that.

Best Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

11-23-brownie-praying-from-front.jpg  Brownie

Greenie under water  Greenie, and

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-and-randal-1.jpg  Limey (Hey, Randall 1, why is everyone laughing at me?)

We hate those red wiggle worms!

Happy New Year!

07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg  We thought we would report on our diet today.

The other day April bought those skinny red wiggly worms (the kind you can use as bait for catching fish) at the pet store for us.  The lady at the store said we would eat them.  Boy, did we prove her wrong!

April cut one up into pieces so they would be small enough for the newts to eat.  They really wiggle even after being cut up so she thought that would attract our attention and it did.

07-12-16-randal-2-showing-his-chest.jpg  First Randal 1, the fire-bellied newt, ate one.  That was a good sign she thought. 

07-12-09-limey-face-shot.jpg  Then she held one out for Limey who immediately jumped at it, bit it and pushed it all into his mouth.  Remember, Limey jumps at anything and tries to eat it.  He had Randal 1’s head in his mouth just last week.

07-12-09-limey-and-randal-1-head-to-head.jpg  Randal 1 and Limey going head to head.

April couldn’t get the rest of us to even show any interest in those worms.  She tried and tried.  It would be so nice and easy if we would eat them because they stay fresh and last longer than the wax worms or the crickets. 

After she was gone over Christmas and we were hungrier than usual she tried again and Limey took the bait but the worm had some dirt on it and Limey dropped it and tried to push the dirt out of his mouth with his front feet.  It was real cute watching him do it just like some little kid who accidently ate dirt.  After that even he ignored those wiggly red things.

So, yesterday, April went back to the pet store and bought us more crickets.  When she put in 3-4 this morning we all were hopping after them because we were so hungry.

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-and-randal-1.jpg  Where did that cricket go to?  Do you see it Randal 1?

April says we can be as fussy as kids when it comes to eating.

Perhaps your fire-bellied toads and newts will eat those worms, but we are way to spoiled to eat them.

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie