How to Care for a Fire Bellied Toad (Bombina Orientalis)

Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina orientalis) - Care Sheet


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    Know what you're getting into. Research the species before you get one.
    • Fire-bellied toads are brightly colored, diurnal (active during the day), and quite hardy; a combination that’s hard to beat. Most are dull to bright green with a bright red, orange or yellow ventral (underbelly) side. Their entire body is covered in warty black spots and blotches, which are broader on their ventral region, and form a reticulated pattern. The dorsal side of some captive toads can be dark muddy green, dark black or brown instead of bright green. It is believed that this is caused by an improper diet, light levels, stress, improper temperature, humidity, or a combination of all the above. Just remember that just because their skin is warty it doesn't mean that give you warts. It's just how their skin has evolved.
    • Fire-bellied toads reach 1.5 and 2.5 inches (3.8 and 6.3 cm). Males are usually smaller than females and can be distinguished by their more streamlined appearance and vocal ability. The ventral side of fire-bellied toads is bright to advertise their toxicity, and some will flip over to expose this when threatened. These amphibians are toxic, but only in the wild. In captivity, where their poison food source is not available they can cause only mild stomach irritation in say a dog who eats them or a hardy "blech" if tasted by a human.
  2. 2
    In order to purchase these toads, you should contact your local exotic animal store and be sure to only purchase from sustainable captive bred facilities.
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    Get a standard ten+ gallon aquarium, which is usually large enough for a group of 2-4 adults. Use a secure screen cover to prevent escapes while providing proper ventilation. The standard enclosure size applies to these toads as does apply to all frogs and toads: 2.5 -10 gallons (9.46–37.85 liters) per toad. The enclosure should be all glass with the above mentioned screen top. You can use the metal screen tops that rest on the top of the aquarium or the pre-installed sliding screen tops; either one is fine.
    • Fire-bellied toads are semi-aquatic amphibians that should be provided with both a land and clean water area. 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, coconut halves, and live or fake plants.
    • The best substrates to use are:
      • Soil
      • Java moss
      • Sheet moss
      • Coconut husk fiber
      • Jungle soil (pre-packaged and shrink-wrapped)
      • Large grain 1/2" (1.27cm) river rock/gravel
    • These are suitable substrates which will prevent the toads from swallowing earth, like small grade gravel, while eating. These toads rarely swim underwater, but prefer to float at the surface or near a shoreline. The water depth should gradually slope towards the gravel to allow for easy access and exit.
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    Add ornaments/decorations. These can be placed on land or in deep water to allow the toads the chance to rest in water, if needed and/or hide to feel safe. Some suggestions for appropriate decorations are:
    • African Driftwood - which is a misnomer as this wood sinks like a stone
    • Artificial branches and driftwood
    • Coconut Shells (Sold as a half a shell with a little rounded outdoor/opening)
    • Aquatic plants
    • Large rocks
  5. 5
    Create a semi-aquatic setup in a small aquarium by using a large water dish for a water area. The dish can be as simplistic as a plastic storage container, or large commercially available water dishes. These dishes can be submerged into a safe soil substrate, such as the ones listed above to provide easy access to the water. Because the volume of water is low in this type of container, it can become soiled quickly, and for this reason the water should be changed daily.
    • Another suitable semi-aquatic habitat is to create a small shoreline setup. 1/2” (1.27cm) river rock 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.
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    Control the temperature. Fire-bellied toads are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, which is one of the reasons they make good captives. Daytime temperatures should range from 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C) and can drop at night to 65º-70º (18ºC to 21ºC). Cool temperatures are tolerated well, and occasional drops down to 60°F (16°C) don’t present a problem for short periods of time.
    • Avoid temperatures above 85°F (29°C). With this in mind, keep their enclosure away from windows. This is the case for all enclosed creatures.
    • Temperature control can be easy for these little critters as if you're comfortable in your home with the temperature, so will they be.
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    Provide of a photoperiod of 12-14 hours with fluorescent lighting. Set this lighting on a timer to help prevent forgetfulness in turning the light on and/or off. Any standard UV bulb will do. Growth bulbs can be used if using live plants. You can purchase regular UV bulbs at any hardware supplier and the growth bulbs can be purchased at pet stores, online, and at hydroponics shops.
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    Provide a source of clean water at all times. If tap water is used it should be treated with a tap water conditioner to remove all chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. Bottled spring water can and should be used instead of tap water. Change this water daily. Make sure the water level is relatively low as these frogs are not adept at swimming and can drown easily. Keep in mind that the lower level of water you provide, the more often it must be cleaned.
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    Fire-Bellied eat soft-bodied invertebrates. In captivity they can be fed a diet that consists largely of crickets. Never use garden insects. They have most likely been exposed to herbicides and/or pesticides. Other invertebrates include:
    • Wax worms
    • Small silkworms
    • Soldier Fly maggots
    • Dubia Roaches - These roaches are unable to climb glass.
    • Moths
    • Houseflies
    • Red Wiggler Worms
    Food can be offered in a small feeding dish to prevent them from burrowing into the substrate or wandering into and fouling the water areas. Inset the food dish within the substrate to allow for easy access. A feeding schedule of two to six food items per toad every 2 to 3 days is recommended. Juvenile animals should be fed daily in small quantities.
    • It’s important that any uneaten food or dead feeders are removed from the enclosure to prevent disease and/or injury to the toads.
    • Do not provide food items larger then the frog can eat. Simple rule:
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    The food shouldn't be longer than the width of the toad's head. This rule does not apply to worms. But be weary of worms that are too fat.
    • You should dust their food with reptile/amphibian vitamins and calcium once every other feeding. A good recommendation is to rotate between vitamin one feeding and calcium the next feeding. Juvenile’s should have their food dusted at every feeding.


  • Bear in mind that these frogs love to climb. So provide suitable and sturdy climbing surfaces and a secure lid to prevent them from escaping. See the afore mentioned sliding screen lid suggestion.

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Categories: Frogs