Fire-bellied Toad, Oriental Fire-bellied Toad
Fire-bellied toads mature to a size around 2 inches (5 cm) in length or slightly smaller.
Variable coloration, but most are grass green with a bright red or orange ventral side is the typical coloration. This red-orange ventral coloration warns predators of their poisonous nature, though they pose no risk to humans so long as care is taken to wash hands after they are handled and they aren’t ingested (i.e. don’t eat your pet toads). Their entire body is covered in black spots and blotches, which become thicker on their red belly, and often form a reticulated pattern. The dorsal side of some toads is dark black or brown instead of green.
Distribution, Habitat and Behavior
Fire-bellied toads can be found from northeast China through Korea and into a little section of far southeast Russia. They are semi-aquatic and live in a variety of habits, from forest streams and marshes to more disturbed areas such as rice paddies and drainage ditches. They are generally diurnal and bold due to their skin secretions which make them distasteful to most predators.
Fire-bellied toads are one of the most heavily traded pet amphibians and can be found for sale at most pet stores, even ones that don’t specialize in reptiles or amphibians. Since most of these toads are sourced from the wild, it may be worth contacting your local herpetological society or searching online for someone in your area who has had recent breeding success, which is not uncommon and a better way to acquire pet toads.
A standard fifteen gallon aquarium that measures 24 inches long by 12 inches wide by 12 inches high (61 cm by 30 cm by 30 cm) is large enough for a group of five adult toads. Keeping toads in groups is preferable to a single toad since they will be more active and display more interesting types of behavior. Use a secure screen cover to prevent escapes while providing ventilation.
Fire-bellied toads are semi-aquatic amphibians that should be provided with both a land and water area. If you use tap water from a city municipality, it should be treated with a tap water conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals a day before use. The land area can compose roughly one half to two thirds of the floor area, and should contain hide spots such as cork bark, driftwood, rocks, and live or fake plants. If gravel is used to create a land area, it may be useful to cover it with large river rocks, soil, java moss, or sheet moss to prevent the toads from swallowing gravel during feedings. Fire-bellied rarely swim underwater, and prefer to float at the surface or near a shoreline. The water depth should gradually slope to 2 inches (5 cm), although deeper water can be provided. Pieces of driftwood, aquatic plants, and rocks can be placed in deep water to allow the toads to easily find a land area if needed.
A simple way to create a semi-aquatic setup in a small aquarium is to use a large water dish for a water area. The dish can be as simplistic as a small plastic box. Submerge this container into a substrate, such as coconut husk fiber or moist sphagnum moss, to provide easy access to the water. In the water dish, a large rock or two can be placed on one end to provide a gentle slope out of the water onto land. Because the volume of water is small in this type of housing, it can become fouled quickly, and for this reason the water dish may need to be changed daily. This style of housing is only practical for small aquariums because it can be difficult to lift larger containers of water needed for larger enclosures.
A second way to create a semi-aquatic habitat suitable for fire-bellied toads is to create a small shoreline setup. In this method, medium to large grade gravel can be used in the aquarium. Most of it can be pushed to one side to form a thick layer of gravel that creates a land area, while the layer of gravel on the other side can remain thin. The aquarium can then be filled with enough water so that the water level remains just below the surface of the land area. All exposed gravel on the land section should be covered with large river rocks, moss, or soil to prevent the toads from swallowing it while feeding. It may be helpful to use a small submersible filter, or in larger aquariums a canister filter, to help maintain water quality. The output of these devices should be deflected with a rock or piece of wood to prevent too large of a current from being formed. Water changes should be preformed weekly or bi-weekly in this type of setup, or as often as needed. It may be helpful to use an aquarium vacuum to suck out waste that gets caught in the gravel. It’s also recommended that water tests be done regularly in this type of setup. Live floating vegetation like Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) and giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) can be grown on the water’s surface to provide cover for the toads.
A small incandescent light bulb can be used for heat if needed. A fluorescent light is not necessary, but will make the tank look more attractive and will allow you to grow live plants if desired. Provide of a photoperiod of 10-12 hours.
Fire-bellied toads are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, which is one of the reasons they adjust well to captivity. Daytime temperatures can range anywhere from 65°F to 78°F (18°C to 26°C) and should usually decrease at night. Avoid temperatures above 82°F (28°C).
Live crickets should make up the majority of the diet, with other food items such as wax worms, earth worms, and blackworms being substituted for crickets every few feedings. Some toads will also eat small guppies, ghost shrimp, or snails from shallow water if noticed. Like most amphibians, fire-bellied toads rarely recognize non-living food, so all food items must be alive when offered. A feeding schedule of two to six food items per toad every two to three days is appropriate. Juvenile animals should be fed daily in small quantities. It’s important that any uneaten food or dead feeders are removed from the cage as soon as they are noticed to prevent water from being fouled. Adult fire-bellied toads should have their food coated with high quality reptile vitamin and mineral supplements once every two to four feedings. Juveniles should have their food supplemented as often as every feeding.
Hello, I am looking into getting a Fire-Bellied Toad. I found a paludarium that is 12x12x24″. I was thinking of having Ghost Shrimp in the water section as cleaners and possible food for the toad. Is there anything you could suggest to do or not do? Also what other animal, if any, could be housed in the same paludarium with least issues?
I bet ghost shrimp would work just fine. I don’t see any problems with it. If you plant the water pretty heavily so there is room for the shrimp to take cover the toads might not even notice them, especially if you feed the toads often and keep them full. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any other amphibians or reptiles that are safe to keep with fire-bellied toads. The toads are pretty voracious feeders and so anything that moves around near them is at risk, and then larger species that wouldn’t be at risk from predation might try to eat the toads which is problematic because the toads are poisonous (that’s why they have their bright “fire belly”). That said, if you have a large enough water area and it is filtered, you could try some white cloud minnows or other cold-tolerant not-too-messy fish, or maybe think about some other aquatic inverts like snails. Enjoy setting up the new tank.
Hey Sam, one thing caught my eye. You said ‘toad’ not ‘toads’. It might be a mistake but if not, please make sure you will have at least 2 or 3 toads at the same time. They are very social animals and they do not feel good alone!! However your space for them 12*12*24 inches if 24″ means the height, I think it is a bit too small for them! They are individuals and every single one has their own habits (which is funny!), but they mostly like to be on land and /or just ‘sitting’ on shallow water. So a relatively small base with tall walls wouldn’t seem idyllic to me. Mines are like to spend (sometimes days!) in a little pot which is full of the roots of my plant.
How big is your little pot? I have been trying to figure out the best reptile or amphibian to be able to put in a 12x12x24 Paludarium. Snakes are too big, Dart and tree frogs are not aquatic enough. Salamanders and newts are too messy for the water. I figured these frogs would fit the land and water as long as I made it easy enough for them to get out of the water and on to the land part. Which is about 11″x6″.
Hey, I have fire belly toad froglets! They are continouly hatching now, the oldest one is a week old. I wonder how much they can eat?
I feed them with aphids and crickets. As aphids are put in front of them, they can learn how to hunt. Manwhile, they dont really find the crickets (which are close to the water in a small container), froglets rather mostly just stay at the water.
Which probably means they got enough food, but I do not want to underfeed them at all! So I wonder how many crickets they need a day approximately?
That sounds fun. Try flightless fruit flies. They are easy to culture and will provide large numbers of food you will need to raise the toads. See https://amphibiancare.com/2005/06/28/fruit-flies/ Remember to dust the flies in a quality vitamin and mineral supplement at every feeding while the froglets are growing. You might also consider using a carotenoid supplement like Repashy Super Pig to help them color up. Captive-bred fire-bellied toads usually end up with washed-out pale bellies compared to wild ones but if you use a carotenoid supplement along with the vitamin/minerals that can help them develop more normal wild coloration. Have fun growing them up.
I have todlets,my fired bellied toads layed eggs now I have 10 healthy todlets.first time experience for me.I bought wingless fruit flies for them to eat.I need additional information on how to care for them,please.
The most important thing is daily feedings of small food. Flightless fruit flies and crickets (pinhead or 1/8 inch at the start) can make up the bulk of the diet. Make sure to coat food items with a quality vitamin and mineral supplement at every feeding, and consider supplementing several times a month with a carotenoid supplement as well. Although not absolutely necessary, providing low levels of UVB radiation for growing juveniles is not a bad idea too. The care is more or less similar to adults–same temperature range, same semi-aquatic habitat, etc. I guess one consideration is enclosure size. Small toads should be kept in smaller enclosures because they might have trouble finding food if in a full-size terrarium. A 5 or 10 gallon tank is more than enough room to raise the ten newly morphed toads until they are nearing adult size. Enjoy the baby toads.
How can I tell my fire bellies are a male or female.? What’s the best way to know..
Male toads develop dark nuptial pads on the inner side of the hand that help them grasp females when they are ready to breed. Male fire-bellied toads also vocalize. Often males have a sort of muscular appearance to their arms compared to female.
Behavior is often the best way to tell male and female fire-bellied toads apart. If you have a group of toads males will regularly call and amplex females.
thanks for the info. informative and helped clarify the feeding schedule. we had been feeding it daily per the pet shop and he has not been eating as much. will try every other day instead.