Good Temperature for Fire-Bellied Newts

Hi,

 April read how we like the temperature of 68 F more than 70 F or above so she lowered the temperature in our home.  Actually, she just turned off the heater in the tank.

She says it made a very noticeable difference in how much we move around now.  Instead of sitting in one place all day everytime she checks on us we are either moving around or have moved to another area.

Also, she has seen us eating crickets which she never saw before.  In fact, she said we may even have pot bellies now.  What is a pot belly?  It seems to have something to do with eating a lot.

She also cleaned and rearranged the tank yesterday.  She found another large flat rock and gave us even more above water space.  Now all 5 of us can be in different hiding places if we wish.  It gives us more elbow room.

Tank set up      New tank set up

The other news is that the female guppy had a bunch more babies.  April said if we don’t start eating guppies she is going to have to find someone to take them off her hands.  There must be about 30 of them in the tank right now.

The male guppy died the other day.  April is not sure why and we didn’t tell her what happened.  But, that means there shouldn’t be any new guppies born for a while.

Well, got to go.  There is an interesting look hiding place over there we haven’t investigated yet.

Newt

Kind Regards,

Randal1 and Randal2

Newt hiding  Randal1

Randal2  Randal2

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?)

Where do Fire-bellied Toads come from?

Hi,
Ever wonder where wild fire-bellied toads live?
There are two different genera of toads referred to as fire-bellied toads.  We are in the genera of Bombina.  There are others in the genera of Bombina but we are the ones that are also sometimes called Oriental fire-bellied toads.  In the wild we live at 5,300 to 10,000 feet above sea level in parts of Northeastern China, Southeastern Siberia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.
Image Preview China    edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/03/22/raise.kursk/map.russia.jpg Russia      South Korea   Japanese Map  Japan 
In our natural habitat we are able to withstand a low temperature of 41F (5C), and a high temperature of 86F (30C). Toad owners need to keep in mind that in the wild we have our natural habitat to help us survive these temperatures.  Since you cannot provide us with our true natural habitat we need a more even temperature of 64.4-68F (18-20C).  We may need extra heat in the winter months, or we could hibernate (if you provide the right environment for hibernation) at 41-59F (5-15C) for a few months.
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  We usually are found hanging out floating or swimming in ponds and streams near the shore in the wild.
07-12-09-limey-hunting-posture-he-sees-brownie.jpg  We are very special because, unlike most toads, our tongues do not fold out to catch crickets (YUMMMMM!).  Instead we have to stalk our prey, jump right up to it and grab it with our mouth.  (See “The Best Cricket Hunt Yet”)  Then, if the prey is too large to be just one bite we use our front legs to shove it into our mouth.
07-12-09-limey-showing-off-his-belly.jpg   When we are in the wild and a predator comes along we often arch our back, raise our front and back legs so they can see our bright “fire” belly.  Sometimes we roll over on our back so all of our belly shows.  That way they know if they eat us they are going to get sick from our toxin.  But, in captivity we don’t usually do this since we are pretty much safe from any predators.
07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg  We love to cuddle and we even hug  10-27-07-courtship3.jpg  (if one of us is a male and one is a female).
We all have fire-bellies on bottom but can be very different colors on our top sides.  We come in many tones of brown and green ranging all the way from dark, dark brown to lime green.  In fact, we sometimes change our colors and a lime green toad can become dark green.  We don’t know why this happens but it may be temperature changes or even mood changes.  A naturally brown toad can’t change its color to bright green, but a bright green toad will become dark green on occasion.  We all have glossy black spots on our backs and two areas where we secrete our toxins.  These two areas usually are a slightly different color than the rest of our body.
When we are in the wild and between 2 and 4 years old we will mate in the months of April and May.  A male hugs a female just like you see in the picture above when they mate. The female then lays anywhere from 80 to 300 eggs!  The eggs can be found hanging off plant stems.  Tadpoles eat mainly algae and plants.  The toadlets live in pools or puddles where they eat insects like flies and beetles but also worms and water spiders.  They turn into toads in just a few weeks. Their metamorphosis is complete some time in July or August. Some eggs are laid in August and these will metamorphose in the spring.
We didn’t come from the wild but from a toad farm.  In order to protect the ecosystem of any habitat please never take animals out of the wild to keep as pets.  Just as we mentioned in an earlier blog that you should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER release your pets into the wild.  We could destroy the ecosystem of your backyard if you released us out there.  If you find you can’t care for your pets any longer take them to a pet store and ask the manager to find a good home for them.  Most pet stores are more than willing to help you find a home for your pets.
Kind Regards,
Greenie, Brownie and Limey
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie

The Best Cricket Hunt Yet

Hi,

We just finished the best cricket hunt ever.  April filmed most of it.  And, she said it ended so sweet with all three of us basking in the glory of the hunt.

See for yourself.

Kind Regards,

Limey, Brownie and Greenie

P.S. April still doesn’t know if Limey is a male or female yet.  We plan on keeping her guessing for a while.

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg

Check out our videos

Randal2 and Limey taking showers. 

Fluffy eating a mouse.

 Morning with Brownie.
 Feeding time for the fish.
The best cricket hunt ever! 

Limey, the newbie!
Home Sweet Home!  
  
Our Family Album Newts Rule!  

  

Poor Greenie.  He really loves Brownie and she ignores him.  

Watch the hunting machines.  Just like lions stalking their prey. 

Newts are our Friends – by Greenie

I think we can breath easy now.  The newts seem to be okay.  They even became more photogenic in the last 24 hours.  We have named them Randall One and Randall Two (after a monster in Monsters, Inc.).

Newt close up

Yesterday Randall One, who we have not seen eating, ate a piece of waxworm off of a toothpick that April held for her.  She had to be enticed it to eat, but finally did.

After that cuddling the other night.

Newts cuddling

We are now wondering if we have a male and a female newt in our midst.  Perhaps the lack of appetite on Randall One’s part was because of that.  Does anyone out there know if a female or male newt would not eat if they were breeding?

Anyway, these two newts have become our fast friends.  I spent the day on one side of the tank with Randall One and Brownie (who seems to be avoiding me) spent the day on the other side of the tank with Randall Two yesterday.

Newt belly  Here is Randall One showing off her fire-belly.  The crickets on her head are there to keep out of the water.  Those little devils will go anywhere to get as high up as possible.  They don’t realize how close they are to the jaws of death in this picture.

Our tank was thoroughly cleaned yesterday.  This needs to be done about every other week with the way it is set up.  Many tanks for fire-bellied toads need to be cleaned every week, or even more often, since they have less water to absorb our waste products and our toxin and get too dirty for us to live in much sooner.

In the process of cleaning we found three baby guppies.  (I guess that male and female guppie have been busy). 

 Baby Guppies        10-28-07-male-guppy.jpg

April gave us permission to use them as a food source if we wish.  So far we have been happy with the crickets and waxworms.  But, if April goes away for a period of time we may start looking at the fish as a meal.

That’s about all that is happening here today.  I just wanted to give you an update on the newt’s progress.

I think I’ll go over and find out why Brownie is avoiding me.  She sure is beautiful.  Don’t you agree?

Brownie’s belly  Check out her fire-belly.  Isn’t that the most beautiful toad in the world?

Kind Regards,

Greenie

Greenie showing fire-belly