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Fire-Belly & Sword-Tail Newts (Cynops & Hypselotriton) Perhaps the most famous and frequently bred newts in captivity, the fire-bellied newts and sword-tail newts are well known throughout the world as being excellent, gregarious captives.

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Old 24th May 2014   #1
Normans Mum
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Question Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

I have a Cynops pyrrhogaster who is over 29 years old, called Norman. He has only ever eaten earthworms, 2 or 3 a week in hot weather down to less than one a week in the cold.

Lately he has begun to eat less and less, which I put down to his advanced years, but he now looks quite podgy and I am worried it is bloat. At his age, do you think there is anything I can do? I think the stress of a visit to the vet might just do him ore harm than good.

Any ideas please?



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Old 24th May 2014   #2
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Welcome to the site! Could you post up some pictures of the old fella?



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Old 24th May 2014   #3
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Pictures would be a great help, unfortunately, there may not be much that can be done, the age of this newt is great, but it may be the end of his long life



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Old 25th May 2014   #4
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Thanks to both of you for replying
He has seemed a bit brighter today, but I haven't had the opportunity to get a photo. As I said, I want to avoid disturbing him as far as possible. I'll see if he decides to pose somewhere I can get a clear view of him tomorrow.
Thanks again.



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Old 27th May 2014   #5
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Hi
I have finally managed to attach pictures! I hope.....
The one of him on my hand was taken when he was 23, so I put that in for comparison. They are not very clear as I am no photographer.
He is continuing to seem a bit brighter than of late, although he went off in a sulk today when I offered him a worm.
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Old 28th May 2014   #6
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

I could be wrong, but from what I can see it looks like a female newt, a male C. pyrrhogaster usually has quite long toes on the hind legs and a blueish tinge to the tail at this time of year. If it is female it may be eggs that are causing the bloated look, if not, the bloat is usually a symptom of another problem like organ failure or damage rather than an illness in it's self. In the pictures it looks like there is a problem with the left hand back foot, it looks whitish, almost like a fungal or bacterial infection, Have you noticed it, or is it a trick of the light?



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Old 28th May 2014   #7
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Thanks for the reply.

I've never known if he was male or female, but there's just something about his personality that makes me think he's a man! He could sulk for Britain..... A little more scientifically, I always used to notice his orange patches on his belly seemed to brighten in the spring. I haven't read of that happening, but it seemed like it might be more likely to be a male characteristic, have you heard of it? But it hasn't happened the last couple of years, which I thought was probably a sign that he's getting to be a very senior newt.

Yes, he has a deformity on his back foot and a corresponding patch on the side of his trunk, which made me wonder if it could be congenital? He has had it for all of his 29 years with me anyway and it has never got any worse.

I'm hoping he may well just be turning into a cantankerous old newt with a pot belly and this is his way of saying "Life wasn't like this when I was a lad"



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Old 30th May 2014   #8
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

The red colour does seem to vary a little throughout the year on my male pyrrho's, in spring they get a blue/silver sheen so the red looks more pinkish for a while.
If I were you I would keep a close eye on him and watch for changes, I'm sure you know him inside out after all these years. If he completely stops feeding then it may be a trip to the vets, although he is a very old newt, he's not the oldest one I've heard of, but then again he could have been quite old when you got him way back then! Keep us posted, I love to see these noble old creatures that have survived the mass imports of years ago!



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Old 2nd June 2014   #9
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Thanks

He had a small worm yesterday and seems to be doing ok. I will keep you updated.



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Old 6th June 2014   #10
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

It doesn't really look like bloat from those pictures. But it is hard to tell. Usually you will get swelling elsewhere in the body-such as the limbs or the throat. It would not be surprising for an older animal to succumb to this as it can be brought on by kidney failure. It is a bit odd that she would suddenly develop eggs for you after so many years-but who knows!

Congratulations for keeping her for this long! Here's hoping for many more years with you.



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Old 7th June 2014   #11
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Thank you He/she has been eating a few small worms, so I am a lot happier.

I will keep you posted.



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Old 7th June 2014   #12
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

That's great news, do you think the swelling has gone down at all?



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Old 8th June 2014   #13
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

I think it has a little and he is definitely a bit more active



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Old 4th September 2014   #14
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

Hi to all of you who kindly answered my original question.
Sadly, I have to report that after 29 and a half years of living with me, Norman has died. He was getting very slow and tired, so I am glad that he just seemed to drift asleep rather than become sick and need intervention.
Goodbye to a lovely little companion.



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Old 5th September 2014   #15
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

So sorry to hear of his passing our thoughts are with you



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Old 7th September 2014   #16
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Default Re: Elderly Cynops pyrrhogaster

So sorry to hear that news. I have a pair of eighteen month old Japanese firebellies that were bred by me in 2013, I will gladly let you have them both free of charge. They are fully aquatic and just as easy to care for as Norman, Hopefully they might go might go somewhere towards filling his shoes?
Let me know via personal message if you would like them.



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