Emperor Newt

ZOO LOCATION: My Big Backyard


Lifespan: About 12 years

Wild Diet: The emperor newt usually eat small insects in their environment

Zoo Diet: "Waxworm, Tebo, earthworm, white slugs, cabbage-white caterpillar, strips of lean beef, crane-fly larvae, chopped pinkie mice, crickets and brown slugs"

Predators: Have few predators because of the poison glands on the side of their body that their ribs push against when a predator grabs them, delivering a small amount of potent poison into the predator's mouth. Though, water snakes and raptors prey on them without displaying any adverse effects from alkaloids in poison glands

SSP: No

IUCN Status: Near Threatened


Habitat/Range: Found in Forested mountain areas of southern China; often near slow-moving water.

Characteristics: Ridged orange head with single orange ridge running along its back. Ridge along back lined with two parallel rows of orange glands (6-14) on a black background. The orange bumps mark the spot of poison (paratoid) glands beneath the skin. The tips of the ribs push against these glands when a predator grabs them, delivering a small amount of potent poison into the predator's mouth. Ridged skull and upper vertebrae are heavily armored with additional layers of thick bone which also deters predators

Behavior: Females larger than males. Passive, non-aggressive. Aposematic. Thought to be nocturnal to avoid water snakes and raptors which prey on them without displaying any adverse effects from alkaloids in poison glands.

Reproduction: Mates in rice paddies and marshes during rainy season. Male helps female onto his back, then deposits a sperm packet which she picks up with her cloaca. Female lays 50-100 eggs which become attached to nearby vegetation.

Conservation: Wild populations of emperor newts are declining due to habitat destruction and collection for the pet trade.


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