japanese fire belly newt

Coyote Peterson Grabs a Handful of Poisonous Newts

This newt species can kill you in less than six hours.

The Japanese fire belly newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster) is extremely toxic, as it can kill humans and animals in less than six hours. So, obviously Coyote Peterson felt the need to grab them with his bare hands to take a look.

In typical Coyote Peterson fashion, he breaks down the anatomy behind these deadly creatures. He explains how their nonpeptide toxins, which are neurotoxins with no antidote, actually come from the insects they eat.

They secrete the toxins when they're stressed out, but the real trouble comes when predators try to eat them. If a human or an animal eats a newt, it will die of suffocation within hours no matter what.

Watch Peterson pick them up to take a closer look:

Often confused with the Chinese fire belly newt, this Salamandridae species lives on the Japaniese islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. They spend most of their time in small pockets of water, as well as ponds, lakes, ditches and pools.

There are actually various subspecies of these newts, too, which are named after the Japanese islands they inhabit—Atsumi, Hiroshima, Kanto, Sasayama and Touhoku.

Another fun fact about the Japanese fire belly its that they often lose their toxicity when they're bred in captivity. This likely happens because their skin isn't exposed to the bacteria their natural, wild environment, which very well could be what forms their toxins.

It looks like as long as Peterson washes his hands, he won't have anything to worry about. But I'd still have a hard time holding an animal I knew was poisonous enough to kill me in a matter of hours.