How to Keep Your New Gold Belly Newt
Inside scoop from Aqualand Pets Plus on Taricha torosa
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Kind of cute. Maybe it depends on how you were raised?
In the hilly parts of
Appearance. Orange/brown on top and a brighter orange or gold on the belly – a warning to potential predators not to eat them. Cute looking to humans. Do not eat them.
Gold belly newts hit the market at four to six inches.
They grow to
inches – large enough to threaten other
newts. Do not mix them with
Wild specimens live 12 to 15 years.
Captive specimens live longer (no predators to eat them).
Like most newts, gold belly newts use their sticky bellies to
shinny up their glass walls and waddle to freedom.
They take longer to dry out, but will eventually desiccate in your
house. Keep yours covered.
Since they come from the hilly/mountainous parts of
Gold belly newts are not aquatic newts like the red-belly and Eastern
newts. Think of them as
In the wild, about the only critters that can stand to eat them are
raccoons, crayfish, and some specially adapted garter snakes.
Skin Toxin. Hardly anything will eat gold belly newts because they are poisonous. Their skin exudes tetradotoxin –a nasty tasting poison supposedly capable of killing humans. Next time you’re on Fear Factor, just say “No” to tetradotoxin. If you handle a gold belly newt, wash your hands carefully afterward. That toxin will burn your lips, your eyes, and any small cuts on your hands.
Not considered picky by some, gold belly newts will not eat
commercial newt foods. They
insist on worms, brine shrimps, small fish, crickets, or other similar
Captivity Threats. Gold belly newts will most likely succumb to dirty cages and/or overeating – possibly the same cause. Second biggest threat in captivity is escaping and drying out.
Sexing Newts. Male gold belly newts in breeding condition develop those typical lumps between their back legs and their tail. Females look like the one in the above photo.
Breeding. After coming out of the woods and jumping into their breeding pools, the males develop a smoother skin. They also develop those lumps around their back legs. They take turns playing life guard until the babes show up. Then they get down to serious seduction. Bunches of them will get into amplexus in close proximity. Females will lay typical salamander snotty blobs of eggs with that secret tetradotoxin ingredient for protection.
Last Word. You don’t need a heater to keep these cute little rascals. Gold belly newts have very minimal needs. LA
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