Scientific name: Cynops pyrrhogaster
This active little newt is a pet-trade favorite, and with good reason. Attractive, bold and undemanding, the Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt is a pleasure to keep and breed.
The Japanese Fire-bellied Newt is found on Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu in Japan, and on nearby offshore islands. It favors well-vegetated ponds, swamps, ditches, slow-moving streams, and rice fields.
Appearance / health:
The back is jet to brownish-black in color, while the abdomen is light to bright red mottled with black. Adults average 3.5-4.2 inches in length.
Japanese Fire-bellied Newts may live to 20+ years of age with proper care. Pets will swallow small gravel bits, resulting in intestinal blockages. If ammonia levels are not kept low, “Red Leg” and other bacterial/fungal infections will take hold.
Behavior / temperament:
Japanese Fire-bellied Newts adapt well to captivity, anticipating feeding times and happy to be out and about in full view. They are quite active and seem constantly in search of their next meal.
Newt skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth. They should be handled only when necessary, and then by being urged into a water-filled container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed.
A 10 gallon aquarium can house 4-5 adults; larger groups will get-along in more spacious tanks. Gravel should be avoided, or of a size that cannot be swallowed.
A submersible or other filter and weekly partial water changes will help ensure low ammonia levels. Strong currents from filter outflows should be avoided. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water used in aquariums via liquid preparations available at pet stores.
Although highly aquatic, Japanese Fire-bellied Newts require cork bark or floating plants as resting spots. They are well-suited to aquariums stocked with live aquatic plants and can climb glass, so a secure cover is needed.
Japanese Fire-bellied Newts ideally should be kept in soft water with a pH of 6.9-7.2 and a temperature range of 65-74 F. Sustained temperatures above 78 F may render them susceptible to bacterial/fungal infections.
The Japanese Fire-bellied Newt accepts a wide range of prepared and live foods. Commercial newt diets and frozen tropical fish foods serve well as a mainstay. Live blackworms, chopped earthworms, tiny crickets, and guppies provide excellent supplementary nutrition, or can be used as the main diet if preferred.
Females are stouter than males, which swell about the cloaca when in breeding condition. Normal room temperature fluctuations often stimulate reproduction, while a sudden increase of water volume and a drop in water temperature will do so at most any time of year.
Females attach 50-200 eggs, one at a time, to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch 10-30 days, and the larvae transform at age 10-12 months. They can be reared on chopped live blackworms, brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
healthy pet, good beginners pet, pretty low maintenance, Normal room temps, intrigue visitors
You're not supposed to handle them often?
When I was a kid, I insisted on getting two fire bellied newts from the pet store. They were like 10 dollars and I came home with one, without asking my parents. Luckily, my parents were very supportive of their animal loving daughter and purchased the newt a tank and everything they needed. I loved my newt, Fergie, so much that my parents let me get another one. They were both very friendly, and not knowing any better, I handled them fairly often. They let me hold them and I took them out of their tank to crawl around my room. Newts were fairly easy to care for. Their diet consisted of dried mealworms and their habitat needed shallow water and a nice rock for them to rest upon. I had to clean their tank once every few days. After around a year, I noticed them start to develop white spots on their backs, I believe some sort of fungus. I wasn't sure what to do and fearing for their well being, we all decided it'd be best to turn them over to a reptile rescue group. The rescue group was shocked at how tame and friendly they were! They seemed to thoroughly enjoy being handled. I think they are great starter pets, they were very easy to care for all in all. .
From AmberForsythe17 Feb 5 2019 7:33PM
A long-lasting Mother's Day gift to Grandma
So, for some strange reason when I was a kid and decided I wanted to get Grandma a newt for Mother's Day, my mom let me. Even though she had to have known my Gram wouldn't like it.
All that newt got was a little container with a ramp onto a little gravel-filled box of "land" with a plastic palm tree and newt pellets to eat. Water was changed in the sink whenever it got dirty. No heater, no filter... sometimes I would feed the newt minnows I caught in the creek. Although it wasn't mine, I considered it mine, and I played with it quite a lot. I'm surprised it didn't die from all the shock and stress.
It lived for 11 years. Amazing. At some point, I do want to set up a proper tank full of newts in memory of "Zardo the Immortal"...
Zardo also looked different from many other firebellies as he had some white speckles with the red and black. I don't have a picture of Zardo, but I've uploaded one from flickr that shows a similar belly. (source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/3149749632/ ).
From serrus Jul 5 2015 8:41PM
Don't Expect Much
When I saw the newts at the pet store for the first time, it was very exciting. They aren't the most common pet, so I was intrigued. I ended up leaving with two, and had them for the next 2 years.
I think the first time I saw them was the most exciting they ever were, because I got bored of them very fast. They just laid on their rocks all day and didn't swim around much. I couldn't even hold them because they would always hide when I tried to pick them up.
They were a pretty low maintenance pet, however, and a daily feeding and somewhat interesting tank was all it took to satisfy them.
The only thing I would caution anyone about is that newts are sensitive and I wouldn't recommend them for young children, especially if they would want to handle them.
Altogether I have found newts to be a low-maintenence pet that isn't too exciting, but something to look at and intrigue visitors..
From BrookeOliviera Oct 2 2013 10:53AM