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.


Full House


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

Fire-Bellied Toads and Personality Plus

Hi again,

April asked us to write to you about personalities.

As animals, and especially amphibians, many people out there probably think “How boring having a toad as a pet.” or  “Give me an active dog or persnickety cat any day.”

But, you would be extremely surprised at how entertaining we are.  It became more noticeable when Limey came to live with us.  Then suddenly there were three very different personalities in one aquarium.

Brownie is a little shy and retiring (partly due to Greenie constantly attempting to show his affection). 10-27-07-courtship3.jpg You will often find her in the corner of the aquarium hanging onto a rock and just keeping an eye on things from afar.  She doesn’t jump and swim away when the tank top is opened–just watches to see what is going to happen.  She is an expert cricket hunter and when she is hungry nothing scares her away from a juicy cricket.

Greenie started out being very aggressive and not afraid of anything.  Then suddenly he became “jumpy.”  Any time April opens the top of the aquarium to talk to them and see what is going on Greenie will slip into the water and even swim down to a hiding place.  Occasionally he will just slip into the water and then hang onto a rock with just his nose and eyes protruding above the water line.Greenie hanging  Curious, but not brave enough to  come out of hiding.

Then Limey came on the scene.  Limey doesn’t like emerging himself totally in the water.  He spends 99 percent of his time on the rocks.  And, nothing gets by him.  Every time April or Tony opens up the top of the aquarium they see Limey’s body on alert.  He is either stalking one of the newts–ready to pounce if they move their tail.  Or he is intently looking out into the water at Brownie, Greenie, or a fish.  He seldom just sits around like Greenie but is turning and moving to get a better view of the next object of his attention.

Limey even observes what is going on outside the aquarium.  You will find him with his face up to the glass looking out.  His body posture shows he is following the movement of something outside his home boundaries.  April walked up one day and she had a top with white buttons on it.  As she got closer Limey, who had been very intent on watching her, pounced against the glass and tried to bite the button on her shirt.  For 15 minutes April tested him with different objects and he never gave up attempting to eat small objects on the other side of the glass.  We didn’t say he was smart–just entertaining.

There are a lot of dogs and cats out there that give a person less attention when they show up than Limey does to April when she comes to see him.

He is an avid cricket hunter albeit not a good one.  He spends three times as much energy to catch one cricket as Greenie or Brownie do.  But, he is young and may learn to be more patient and wait for the cricket to come to him.  In the meantime, the entertainment value is at a very small price (the price of a few crickets).

He still likes to pounce on the newts tails.  April caught him pouncing on Randal 1’s tail and actually grabbing his tail with his mouth before letting it go.  This was weeks after Limey had arrived so we know he is well aware of the fact that a newt’s tail is not food.  In fact, today he jumped at a newt and had the newt’s whole head in his mouth.  He slowly let the newt go.  The newt didn’t even flinch.  Like a patient dog with a baby pulling his hair the newt sat there and just waited for Limey to let him go.

Limey may have a little kitten in him (or lion).  He certainly behaves like one.

And, he is a camera hog.  Bring out a camera and he’s hopping, jumping, stalking all with a winning smile on his face.  Yep, this guy may be heading to Hollywood.

 07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-spread-out-in-strange-post.jpg  Perhaps a comedy role would suit him.

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

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

The Best Cricket Hunt Yet


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.


There’s a Newbie in the House!


April went to the pet store Sunday to purchase bird food, crickets, salt for the aquarium and a couple fish.  That is always a dangerous thing around here.  Sending April to the pet store for a few items.

She came back with bird food, crickets, a couple fish and a new fire-bellied toad called Limey.

She says she couldn’t resist it because Limey is bright lime green–a different color from both Greenie and Brownie.  Well, we hope she doesn’t find any other “different” colored toads or we’ll be too crowded.  Three fire-bellied toads and two fire-bellied newts are just about the limit for our 30 gallon tank.

She also bought a female guppy for the male guppy.  Ever since his female died he has been chasing the neon tetras around.  He is very aggressive about it.  And, we have two more neon tetras to watch swim around.  They seem to be the most hardy fish so far to live with us and our toxins.  None of the original neon tetras that were in the tank when we came have died.  There were a lot of baby guppies for awhile, but now there are only about 4 or 5.  April doesn’t know if they died because of our toxins, were eaten by the other fish or if we ate them and no one is telling.  Mums the word when it comes to who ate what fish–if you know what we mean.

Anyway, below are some pictures of the newbie.  You can decide for yourself if he is that cute.  April isn’t sure whether it is a boy or a girl.  We know, but again, we aren’t talking.  She will just have to wait and see if he starts barking for Brownie or if Greenie starts barking for her.

Check out the videos.  There is a new one that stars Limey.

 Kind Regards,

Greenie, Brownie and the newbie – Limey

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

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

07-12-10-limey-great-pic-from-front.jpg  and Limey

07-12-09-limey-face-shot.jpg  Okay, granted Limey is a nice color.

07-12-09-limey-hunting-posture-he-sees-brownie.jpg  But it is stalking Brownie!  Doesn’t it know the difference between a toad and a cricket?

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-and-randal-1.jpg  Obviously not, since it wears a cricket for a hat!

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-spread-out-in-strange-post.jpg  Did we mention how clumsy it is?

07-12-09-limey-showing-off-his-belly.jpg  And, what a show off.  Yes, we see your red-belly.

Newts Rule!

Greenie and Brownie turned the blog over to us today.
We are Randall1 and Randall2 the fire-bellied newts that live here.  Named after the very famous actor Randall in Monsters, Inc.
This is a great place to live.  We have lots of “land” space and lots of “water” space.  Also, there are some wonderful places to hide.
The food is great.  If we act like we aren’t eating we even get fed wax-worms by hand.  Now that is room service!  And, there is plenty of other food we love like brine shrimp and crickets.
Mostly we either sit under an overhanging rock or out in the open on a rock where the light from above warms us while we stare out into the water.
We are good friends with Brownie and Greenie the fire-bellied toads that live with us.  We often just hang around with them.
There are a lot of fish in our realm which we watch all day.  Just staring down into the water.  The male and female guppy had babies which are very tiny right now and catch our eye often.  The neon tetras don’t come close to the surface of the water but if we concentrate hard we can see them way down there.  They are very pretty to watch.  Then those pesky striped fish which started out as three and has now dwindled down to one are interesting to watch because they swim so fast.
April complains because we don’t move much.  So, the other day we thought we would show her and she actually got footage of Randall2 moving.  Not real fast, but moving.
Randall1 is the quiet one and she hardly ever moves when people are watching. 
Randall2 will move but seems to think very hard before he even moves his head.  He makes every movement precise and deliberate.  It reminds April and Tony of the chameleons they saw at the pet store one day.  Even when Randall2 blinks his eyes it seems like slow motion.
But, when we get in the water we move like lightening!
Here is a great video of us “moving.”
Kind Regards,
Randall1 & Randall2

Newts cuddling