Two species of fire-bellied newt are common in the pet trade. They are the Chinese fire-bellied newt and the closely related Japanese fire-bellied newt. Neither is particularly difficult to care for and raise. However, because of their long lives -- up to 30 years in some cases -- environmental requirements, and the difficulty of re-homing amphibians, newts are not pets to adopt on impulse. Both species of newt require a steady supply of live food, which you can purchase from a pet store, raise yourself or collect from your garden.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Live food
- Calcium supplement for amphibians
- Vitamin supplement for amphibians
Obtain various live, non-toxic invertebrates. Fire-bellied newts happily eat earthworms, bloodworms, brine and glass shrimp, crickets, slugs, insect larvae and maggots.
Wash any invertebrates caught in your garden, such as earthworms and slugs, in de-chlorinated tap water in a bucket. The simplest way to de-chlorinate tap water is to leave it in a bucket for 24 hours.
Cut up any food items that are longer than the newt.
Dust the food items with a calcium supplement specially formulated for amphibians each feeding, as per the directions. Also use a vitamin supplement for amphibians every second feeding.
Place the food near your newt. Your newt will need about three or four food items, two to four times a week. If some items are uneaten after half an hour, remove them and feed your newt fewer next time. If your newt eats all of its food within a few minutes, feed it a bit more.
Tips and warnings
- Feed your newt a variety of foods. Feeding it just a single type, such as worms, can cause it to develop nutrition deficiencies.
- Some tap water is treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Neither leaving the water exposed to air for a day or using standard aquarium de-chlorinators will remove the chloramine, which is dangerous to newts. You will need specific chemicals, available from an aquarium supply store. If the water in your area is treated with chloramine, your local aquarium supply stores should be aware of that fact, and should stock the appropriate products, which you will need not only for rinsing food but also for the tank water.
- Never buy amphibians or reptiles as pets unless you're certain that they're captive-bred. Buy one from a breeder, rather than buying from an online store or general pet store. The exotic pet trade can decimate wild populations. To find a breeder, contact a local reptile club.
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