Japanese Fire Bellied Newt

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Scientific name: Cynops pyrrhogaster

The basics:
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


little handling

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