How to Tell Male & Female Fire-Bellied Newts

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Hardy and easy to keep, fire-bellied newts are suitable amphibians for a first-time keeper, as long as you're in it for the long haul. The newts live up to 30 years and will reproduce in captivity. While newts commonly available in pet stores are generally juveniles, it is impossible for the amateur hobbyist to tell male from female. Wait until the newts mature to see the readily discernible difference.

Telling the Difference

Males and female fire-bellied newts have similar coloration much of the time, but when ready to breed, males develop iridescent gray or blue highlights on the sides of their tails. As eggs in the female develop, her abdomen will become larger, to accommodate them, giving her an inflated appearance in comparison with the male. Another determining factor is the cloaca, the vent found at the base of the underside of the tail. Special breeding glands develop on each side of the cloaca in the male, giving it a bulging appearance.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images


A former world-class swimmer, J.T. O'Connell shares her love of adventure travel, extreme sports and pets through thousands of published articles. O'Connell studied journalism at Grand Canyon University, and brings professional experience as a tour guide and travel consultant. She authors the blog, Traveling With Large Dogs.