Some hobbyists have actually a propensity to look under upon fire-bellied toads. They’re for beginners, they say, a cheap different to an ext exotic species

Some hobbyists have a propensity to look down upon fire-bellied toads. They’re for beginners, lock say, a cheap alternate to more exotic species such together dart frogs and tree frogs with price tags number of times that of an simple Bombina orientalis. That overly acquainted presence provides the types a feeling of gift commonplace, a dull and also everyday amphibian, uninteresting yet for novice keepers. Indeed, fire-bellied toads fall second only to afri dwarf aquatic frogs (Hymenochirus curtipes) as the most greatly traded pet amphibian in phibìc America, with hundreds of thousands bought and also sold every year in the united States.

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At one suggest I mutual this mindset. Then, after numerous years of maintaining a huge and diverse collection that animals, ns scaled down, cutting back to just a couple of terrariums. Among them was a 10-gallon tank to which I added a team of fire-bellied toads, renewing the happiness that come with keeping this types in captivity. Displayed in my living room, the terrarium brightly lit and also planted, I uncovered watching the fire-bellies together enjoyable as any of the much more exotic types I had cared for previously. Ns realized lock are popular for good reason.


Toxic Appeal

It’s true, fire-bellied toads space ideal very first pet amphibians. They room the leopard geckos or corn line of the frog world, hardy and also colorful and ever-forgiving for mistakes. However they likewise display a number of qualities that should appeal to more experienced keepers.For one, unlike most amphibians, fire-bellied toads are active during the day. Their diurnal tendencies enable keepers to conveniently observe their behavior, which has not just the typical frog fare of sit around and also waiting for food, but additionally aggressive strongholds through males if they understand seemingly anything the moves, their companions uttering squeaky distress calls and also splashing approximately in embrace.


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Bombina orientalisis the many commonly accessible fire-bellied toad


Fire-bellied toads space able come move roughly freely during the day because glands in your skin secrete a toxin that makes them unappetizing to predators. This is also the factor for your fire bellies—the red, orange or yellow coloration the the assorted Bombina types that advises of your poisonous nature. They are among a grasp of amphibians known to engage in what’s referred to as the “unken reflex,” by which they display off their bright underside when they feel endangered by lifting your legs and arms in the air and arching the back, or in extreme situations flipping the human body over completely so all that is visible is the shining ventral coloration.

Don’t worry, though, fire-bellied toads space not danger to human being unless ingested. Therefore don’t eat her pets. Frankly, it’s finest to not handle them anyway, together soap residues and oils on person skin deserve to irritate a toad’s skin. If you need to relocate them around, such as once you’re clean the terrarium, coax toads right into a moist aquarium net or plastic container. And always wash your hands after ~ working through them or their enclosures, come be sure you don’t by chance get any of their skin secretions into your mouth, sleep or eyes.

Fire-Belly Diversity

Bombina orientalis is the most commonly obtainable fire-bellied toad. The varieties is indigenous to Korea, northeast China and a sliver of southeast Russia, with almost all in the U.S. Originating abroad and also imported in the type of wild-caught or farmed stock. While the common B. Orientalis is grass green and black above, individuals can vary in dorsal shade to a less-attractive brown or bronze. Luckily, also the ugliest B. Orientalis have a vivid red-orange underneath.

Another species, the yellow-bellied toad (B. Variegata), is at times available but generally only through specialty pet stores and herp dealers. It commands a higher price, specifically the albino kind which is creamy white v a pattern of pasty yellow ~ above the belly (the normal coloration is brown above and gold below). Yellow-bellied toads are indigenous to Europe, ranging from Greece and also Romania west come Germany and France, where they are more widely preserved than in the joined States.


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Fire-bellied toads space hardy pet that screen a number of appealing qualities, consisting of bright colors, diurnal task and amazing behaviors.

One last species is also available on occasion: the giant fire-bellied toad (B. Maxima). Together the name implies, it is larger than the other varieties by half an customs or more. The mostly tan-gray dorsum is extended in bulbous warts, much more so 보다 the mildly granular skin that the various other species. The huge fire-bellied toad is indigenous to excessive northern Vietnam and southern China, and captive-bred share of this huge and warty fire ship is easily accessible every for this reason often, normally through personal breeders or specialty herp dealers.

All of this toads inhabit marshy wetlands and swampy habitats, close to water and often in or near forests. In bondage their treatment is essentially the same, though as result of their hardy nature over there are numerous different ways to care for them. So lengthy as you preserve a clean environment, the right selection of temperatures and carry out a differed diet, fire-bellied toads have to live because that 10 year or more in bondage (and exceeding 20 years is not unheard of).

A healthy and balanced Start

While a pet store may be the easiest place to locate fire-bellied toads, consider an initial contacting your local herpetological culture to ask if anyone in your area has had actually recent breeding success. Captive-bred stock direct from the resource is practically always guaranteed to it is in in better condition 보다 the much more commonly available toads caught in the wild and also shipped roughly the world to pets stores. If there room no captive-bred options, climate take treatment while picking her toads (I write “toads” due to the fact that they are more enjoyable to keep in groups, although a single toad have the right to be maintained happily alone).

Look at the enclosure the toads space in. Is it clean? are there ailing or unhealthy pets inside? room the toads housed with other species? Fire-bellied toads are commonly kept at stores v various types of frogs, newts, crabs or various other semi-aquatic animals, however this is a risky instance that can result in stress and foreign pathogens gift exchanged between varieties originating from different places. This is not to mention the potential physics trauma indigenous the toads attempting come eat your cagemates—they space aggressive feeders and won’t hesitate to bite the tail or leg of a newt! If the problems at the store space not approximately par, find your toads elsewhere.

Healthy fire-bellied toads must be plump, through the political parties of the human body slightly rounded. They have to not it is in ballooning out v bloat, or emaciated and sunken in. Additionally look for too much sloughing skin. Healthy toads melted skin regularly, which they will additionally consume, yet it’s a great idea to pass up toads the exhibit dead, gray skin hanging turn off of them, which can be a symptom the disease. Watch carefully, too, because that sores and wounds, which often result from trauma, infection or injuries that happen in the cramped problems in i m sorry wild-caught fire-bellied toads space transported come the U.S.Lastly, try to watch the actions of the toads. If fire-bellies room bold amphibians, they need to still startle once a hand enters the cage. Lethargic and unresponsive toads may outwardly show up healthy however could be experiencing from an ailment that you can’t see otherwise.

The Toad Abode

A setup for fire-bellied toads can be as simple or complicated as girlfriend like, keeping in mind the semi-aquatic nature that the toads and also their choice to rise in shallow water v their toes, if only just barely, in call with something heavy beneath.


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A standard setup forBombinaincorporates a soil area that slopes down right into an equally size water area.

The simplest approach is to to fill an aquarium v 1 or 2 inches of tap water—treated a job in breakthrough with one aquarium additive come neutralize chlorine and chloramines—and rise a big slab of cork bark top top the surface. Alternatively, several huge rocks (granite, quarts or slate) have the right to be arranged to protrude indigenous the water as a floor area. No substrate is needed, and also the land need to be about equal in surface ar area come water. It’s important in these species of an easy systems to readjust the water regularly, as frequently as 2 or three times a week, and to eliminate waste such together feces and also dead feeder insects immediately.

An alternate approach is come submerge a shallow water container right into a substrate the coconut rice bowl fiber or other soil-like substrate. The water container need to cover about half of the bottom the the terrarium. Artificial plants and pieces the cork bark can be put on optimal of the coconut husk fiber because that cover. Change the water dish daily and also ensure the substrate continues to be moist by adding a tiny water to it when or twice per week, despite never allow it to become waterlogged or soggy.



A setup for fire-bellied toads deserve to be really basic, or a little bit fancier, such as this one.

Fire-bellied toads execute not require a huge enclosure. A conventional 10-gallon aquarium provides sufficient room for up to three adults, if a group of 6 or more can be preserved in a 20-gallon tank. Always use a tight-fitting screen cover to protect against escapes. Room temperature is perfect for maintaining fire-bellies, with the appropriate temperature variety between 65 and also 78 levels Fahrenheit. Hot problems exceeding 82 levels are dangerous, but cool temperatures down to 50 levels do not current a problem. Usage a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Humidity is less crucial than temperature, through normal family members levels the 30 percent or much more sufficient. In specifically dry conditions, the enclosure have the right to be sprayed through water day-to-day to store the environment moist and provide temporary boosts in humidity similar to what the toads would experience after rain in the wild.

The Planted Tank

Simple setups because that fire-bellied toads room practical, however toads can also be displayed in attractive semi-aquatic planted aquariums. To produce one, steep a substrate that gravel towards one side. Numerous rocks deserve to be provided to hold the gravel in place, while the aquarium is fill with enough water to simply barely reach below the high point of the sloped gravel.

Live Java moss (Vesicularia dubyanacan) put along the shoreline, provided time, moisture and light, will flourish and assist hold the gravel in place. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), heart-leafed philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) and also other continuous houseplants that have the right to grow directly in gravel have the right to be planted on land, if Cryptocorine species or parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) work-related well in the water. Anubias species and Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) room also great aquatic choices, tied through fishing heat onto submerged piece of driftwood or rocks. In a planted semi-aquatic aquarium, the water depth have the right to be enhanced to half a foot or much more to accommodate plants; the vegetation will provide footholds because that the toads in deep water.

The enhancement of live plants will certainly not only spruce up an enclosure, however in time plants assist to preserve water quality and also produce a stable environment where partial water changes may just be required a pair times per month. In bespeak to encompass live plants, however, that is vital that sufficient lighting is provided. Fire-bellied toads themselves do not require any sort of one-of-a-kind lighting, but if you use plants, be sure to location at the very least two or more standard T8 fluorescent tubes over the aquarium. Lights with a natural shade temperature of between 5000 and 65000 Kelvin look at best.

Aggressive Appetites

Despite the little size and also seemingly cute appearance of fire-bellied toads, they are additionally fierce predators with huge appetites. Motion triggers them to lunge at just around any potential food item hike past. In nature, Bombina have been recorded feeding top top a range of both terrestrial and also aquatic invertebrates, including flies, worms, slugs, snails, mites, springtails, water beetles, backswimmers and amphipods.It is crucial to provide pet fire-bellied toads with a selection of food items. Crickets room readily accessible and can kind the mass of the diet. Market two to 6 crickets per toad once or twice a week. Although hungry toads can control to cram adult crickets right into their mouths, that is safest to feed smaller ones that room no longer than the width of the toad’s head (about half an inch or so). Easy coat crickets in a high-quality powdered nutritional supplement prior to introducing them right into the enclosure come ensure nutritional requirements are met.

Other types of prey have to be available instead of crickets a few times every month. Earthworms can be reduced into pieces and placed in a shallow dish, such together the lid of a little jar, top top land. So long as the pieces of worm room still wriggling the toads will eat them. Wax worms and other soft-bodied insect larvae can additionally be offered. Part toads will feed top top Tubifex worms and black worms, i m sorry are easily accessible in the fish department of pet stores. These foodstuffs are ideal placed ~ above land fairly than in the water as you would certainly for aquarium fish.

Fire-bellied toads will also eat small guppies, ghost shrimp and also snails need to these aquatic creatures venture into shallow locations near land. Youth toads can be fed flightless fruit flies, springtails and newly hatched crickets.

Bombina BreedingTechniques

With cheap imported fire-bellied toads dominating the pets trade, over there is tiny financial incentive to each other them in captivity. Still, that can administer an exciting opportunity to observe the entire life bike of an amphibian. That the four obtainable Bombina species, it is the most commonly available, B. Orientalis, the is easiest to persuade right into reproducing.

Try to have a team that consists of at the very least several male/female pairs. Having extra males, as plenty of as three to every single female, may also aid promote breeding. Males have the right to be identified from females by the existence of dark nuptial pads, however these are only visible when the toads are all set to reproduce. Males likewise have slightly an ext muscular forearms, yet the best method to identify the sexes is come listen. If you watch a calling toad, there is no doubt the is a male, although woman toads deserve to emit less-boisterous distress calls. The speak to of a masculine is loud and also rhythmic.

In nature, fire-bellied toads reproduce complying with a period of winter hibernation, and also in bondage seasonal alters in temperature will encourage breeding activity. If her goal is to breed your toads, store them in a room that naturally experiences transforms in temperature during various times that the year, such as a basement or fastened porch. Maintain their setting near 60 degrees or lower for a month or so.When temperatures start to warm up, administer frequent water changes and feed heavily. Big water alters imitate the problems of feather rains, i m sorry is when wild fire-bellied toads start to breed in nature. If all goes well, females will certainly swell through eggs and also pairs will interact in amplexus. A female can produce new eggs every two to three weeks.

Spawning normally takes place at night and little brownish eggs numbering all over from 30 to more than 100 are laid in the water, on aquatic vegetation or various other submerged items. Strips that plastic bags inserted in the water have additionally been provided as oviposition website in captivity. If the eggs space fertile, in ~ a job or two you will notice the ovum splitting and tadpoles developing. At this point, eliminate the eggs and also any objects they to be laid on to a different aquarium. Tadpoles should arise from the egg jelly three to 10 work after being laid and also take one to five months to complete metamorphosis.Tadpoles will grow to slightly end an customs in size before occurring arms and leaving the water. They space not picky eaters and also can be raised on aquarium fish flake foods. As soon as front arms develop, alleviate their water depth to an inch or so, and also provide access to land. Youth toads room not as attractive as adults, being predominantly brown in shade and about three-quarters of one inch lengthy at metamorphosis. That takes at the very least one complete year because that maturity to it is in reached.

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Many human being who have actually bred fire-bellied toads report the the glowing ventral coloration that captive-bred toads is no as intense as the of those in the wild. For this reason, think about providing a dietary supplement that gives carotenoids to juvenile toads, and feed tadpoles a carotenoid-rich fish flake. Carotenoids provide amphibians the color yellow, orange and red, and a captive diet deficient in castle may add to dull-colored animals.Fire-bellied toads are hardy pet that display a number of appealing qualities, including bright colors, diurnal activity and amazing behaviors. They space common, but with good reason. The most important component of their treatment is providing the right environment. Top that off through a differed diet, and also you will have actually a long-lived group of toads to enjoy watching for years.

Devin Edmonds has kept frogs and also toads due to the fact that childhood, and also he created the renowned website The holds a degree in zoology indigenous the university of Wisconsin-Madison and has authored three books around amphibian husbandry. Currently, he lives in Andasibe, Madagascar, where, through the community-run conservation company Mitsinjo, he manages a reproduction facility for threatened frog species.