Other common names: Chinese Fire Belly Toad; Tuti Toad
Scientific name: Bombina orientalis
Although novice amphibian keepers would be hard-pressed to find a better pet choice, the Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad is interesting enough for advanced pros as well. Small, hardy, active by day, and easy to breed, this colorful little creature is hard to top!
The Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad occurs in northeastern China, southern Russia, Korea and southern Japan. It is most common near water bodies within coniferous and broad-leafed forests, but may also be found along lakes, swamps, streams, and temporary pools in open meadows, over-grown fields and agricultural land. It is semi-aquatic, but sometimes ranges quite far from water when foraging.
Appearance / Health:
The Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad is stout in build, and averages 2 inches in snout-vent length. The raised, “bumpy” skin of the back is bright green, smoky gray, or brownish-green in color, and marked with numerous round dark spots. The ventral surface is brilliantly colored in red, yellow or red-orange, and bears irregular black blotches.
With proper care, this hardy creature may approach 20 years of age. Metabolic bone disease is seen in individuals that are fed a calcium-poor diet. “Red leg” and other bacterial and fungal infections resulting from poor water quality and high ammonia levels are perhaps the most common cause of death in captive animals.
Behavior / Temperament:
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads are quite bold, and active both day and night. They adjust well to human presence, and soon come to associate people with food.
As is true for all amphibians, Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads do very well in groups; a 10 gallon aquarium will support 3-5 individuals. They spend most of their time in the water, which should be of a depth that allows the frog to submerge completely and to float on the surface with the legs extended below. Floating live or plastic plants may be used to provide security and resting sites. A land area of Mopani wood or cork bark should also be available. Substrate is not necessary on the land area, but carpet moss may be used if desired.
Porous skins allow frogs and toads to absorb harmful chemicals from the water. A canister or submersible filter and weekly partial water changes are essential in maintaining long-term health. Ammonia from waste products, uneaten food, and decaying plants is extremely lethal; an aquarium test kit should be used to monitor its levels. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water used in aquariums. Liquid preparations that work instantly are available at pet stores.
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads tolerate a wide range of temperatures, remaining active from 50-90+ F, but sustained temperatures above 80 F may increase the likelihood of bacterial/fungal attack.
They do not require Ultra-Violet B light, but anecdotal evidence indicates that low levels of UVB, along with UVA, may be of some benefit.
Wild Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads take a wide range of prey, including aquatic and terrestrial insects, spiders, salamander larvae and tadpoles. A highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, are not adequate.
Provide your pet with earthworms, small roaches, sow bugs, crickets, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies, silkworms, and other commercially available invertebrates. Food items should be offered a healthful diet for several days before use. These ever-hungry beasts do best when fed small insects, the size of a ½ inch cricket or so, despite their willingness to tackle larger prey. Mealworms have been implicated in digestive system disorders, and should be avoided.
Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads are a pleasure to breed, and are usually stimulated to reproduce by normal fluctuations in room temperatures. In order to assure success, you can lower the depth of the water in their aquarium for a few days during the springtime, and then re-fill it with water that is 5-10 degrees warmer than usual.
Males in breeding condition sport dark, roughened patches, known as “nuptial pads” on their inner arms. In contrast to most frogs, male Fire-Bellied Toads grasp females just above the rear legs, rather than under the front legs, in a mating embrace known as “inguinal amplexus”.
Females produce 50-200 eggs, which adhere to plants, sticks, and airline tubing. At 72 F, the tiny (7 mm, 0.28 inch) tadpoles hatch in 3-4 days. They remain motionless and attached to plants for 2 days, during which time they absorb the yolk sacs. Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad tadpoles may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, algae tablets, and par-boiled dandelion. Metamorphosis occurs within 30-45 days. Froglets will accept pinhead crickets, springtails and flightless fruit flies.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
fabulous little toad, activity level, beautiful creatures, new pet owner, easy pets
mild toxins, half water habitat, young children
primarily waxworms, water filter, necessary slime coating, bright green toad, striking reddish orange
Pegasus & Hercules
The year I was told "no more animals!" (HA) was the year I got two Fire Bellies. The one I handled the most was Hercules, named after his amazing ability to push open his tank lid no matter what we put on top of it short of a couple of bricks! Fill peanut butter jar? No problem! Freedom ahoy! (Pegasus was more inclined to climb to the top of the tank and leap...to where, I don't know.)
These fellows are very easy to take care of; just stick them in a tank with a place to hide in front of sunny window, have a pebble slope for them to go in and out of water (does not have to be deep, they're not much for submerging as much as chilling out in the shallows), and stick a few crickets in every day or two! We cleaned the tank once a month, which was a pain only due to the numerous pebbles that added a lot of weight. Eventually I added water plants that helped keep it a bit cleaner and the toads loved to sit in them. :)
They did not bite, they did not pee on me, they rarely croaked (though I think the sound they made was too squeaky to be considered a real croak), pretty to look at - nice pets! They went on to pass of old age, which we slowly saw coming as they began to eat less and move less...I'm not sure how long they normally live, but they were with me for about four years and came to me as adults..
From Caitlin_P Jun 20 2015 9:44PM
The Oriental Firebellied Toad - Perfect for Any Enthusiastic Novice
The very first amphibians I ever kept were Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads. This readily available breed is incredibly hardy and easy to care for and has the added bonus of having beautiful markings and colouration.
These toads reach around 2-3 inches in length and are semi-aquatic. They are brown and green on the top, the shade changes depending on many factors such as heat and happiness. Their underside is bright orange and black. When threatened, the toad flips over on to its back and displays its bright colours to warn predators of its toxins. Although not dangerous to humans, it is important to wash your hands after handling these toads as their toxins can cause irritation to sensitive skin. It is even more important to keep these amphibians away from other pets such as cats or dogs as their toxins can be deadly to smaller creatures if ingested.
The Fire-Bellied Toad is from the Discoglossidae family, which contains toads that do not have extendable tongues. This means that once these toads have found their prey, they must jump on to it and push their unlucky insect victim in to their mouths using their arms. As with most amphibians, Fire-Bellied Toads will eat anything that moves and is small enough to fit in to their mouths. A diet of gut-loaded crickets is very adequate. I have found that mealworms are a bit too tough for them to digest properly and they usually end up ‘throwing up’ the brittle husks.
The habits for these amphibians can have fairly pricey start-up costs, but once the initial expenses have been covered it is both cheap and easy to maintain their set-up. The first thing you will need is a suitable sized vivarium. The set up should ideally be 50% substrate and 50% water, with the water just deep enough to reach under the toads eyes. You may also need a heat mat depending on the temperature of your environment. After the initial costs, the only thing you need to continue buying will be live food and vitamin powders.
You should spot clean your vivarium daily, removing any faecal matter, dead insects or other debris. You will need to do a full clean up at least once a month.
Fire-Bellied toads are a really interesting species and perfect for a beginner due to their easy maintenance. I will always have a soft spot for this breed of toad and I would definitely consider owning this breed again..
From SJSilver Jun 12 2014 1:49PM
Fire Bellied or Red Bellied Toad
The red bellied toad is likely the most boring pet on the face of the earth. It takes a bit of money to maintain their aquariums, and to be quite honest, it isn’t worth it. This pet is more of a decoration, but isn’t as nice looking as an aquarium of fish. Red bellied toads are also incredibly temperamental and often have health issues on top of a lack of any benefits. I would not recommend this pet at all..
From Thora Dec 2 2015 11:07AM