Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads

This 'toad' is actually a frog

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina orientalis)

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Oriental fire-bellied toads are hardy little toads that are suitable for beginners. They are not difficult to care for, although they do take a fair amount of work to maintain. Native to southern and southeastern Asia, they are noted for their bright green and black coloration on their backs and brilliant orange and black on their undersides.

Despite its common name, this amphibian is technically a frog, not a toad.

Name: Oriental fire-bellied toads (Bombina orientalis)

Size: about 2 inches (5 cm)

Lifespan: around 10 to 15 years (sometimes longer)

Behavior and Temperament of Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads

The bright colors of these amphibians serve as a warning to predators. While not the most toxic of toads, regular handling of Oriental fire-bellied toads is not recommended, and you should avoid it altogether if you have any cuts on your hands. Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching them or cleaning their tanks.

Due to their potential toxicity, it's not recommended that you house these toads with other animals. Regular cleaning and water changes will help keep the toxins from building up in the tank.

Fire-bellied toads do not have extendable tongues, so use their mouths to grab their food and stuff it into their mouths with their forelegs. Thi clever toad often will announce its toxicity to potential predators by showing its belly. Most predators will realize that such bright colors indicate that eating this particular meal will make them ill.

Housing an Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

A minimum 10-gallon tank is recommended for this animal's enclosure, although two or three frogs can be housed in a tank of this size. A larger number of frogs will happily live together in a larger tank; plan on about 4 gallons of tank space per frog. The long style aquariums provide more floor space for their size. A secure lid is a necessity, as these active little frogs will escape given the chance. The top should allow adequate ventilation.

A semi-aquatic tank is an ideal set up, with a third to half of the tank a designated land area and the remainder as water about two to four inches deep. The land area could have rocks, which should be smooth to prevent injury to delicate frog skin, damp moss, plants and some areas to hide.

The water should have a filter and frequent water changes are necessary. Use only dechlorinated stale water or bottled spring water in the tank. These frogs produce quite a bit of waste so frequent partial water changes should be done. Smooth gravel can be used to line the waterside, and live or artificial plants can be used.

A heater is not usually necessary as these frogs can handle room temperature, although warmer temperatures are considered better. Aim for between 75 and 78 degrees. A basking area can be set up with a low wattage lamp; use a thermometer and aim for a temperature of about 78 degrees.

Food and Water

They will take a variety of prey items, including crickets and other insects, worms such as waxworms and earthworms (although mealworms are probably best avoided due to their tough exoskeleton) and even some small feeder fish such as guppies.

Prey should be gut loaded and dusted with a multivitamin powder. These toads generally have good appetites and usually, do not have problems eating in captivity. Adults typically only need to eat two to three times a week. Do take care to watch that your pet Oriental fire-bellied toad does not become overweight.

Choosing Your Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

This small and easy-to-care-for animal makes an excellent pet for a beginner frog owner. The best option for purchasing one is a reputable amphibian breeder, who can tell you the animal's history and any health conditions it might have. 

A healthy frog has clear eyes and smooth skin, although the Oriental fire-bellied toad has rough, bumpy skin (which is why it's referred to as a toad).

Common Health Problems

Redleg disease is a common condition of Oriental fire-bellied frogs in captivity. It's caused by a parasitic infection, and frogs or toads with this disease develop reddening of the legs as an early symptom. Redleg disease requires a visit to a veterinarian who has experience with reptiles.

Oriental fire-bellied toads with this ailment will be apathetic and sluggish. This condition is easily confirmed and treated by consulting with your vet.

Like most frogs, they also are susceptible to fungal infections. If your Oriental fire-bellied toad has an inflammation on its face or is oozing a cottony-like substance on its skin, it's time for a visit to the vet. This is yet another ailment that can be managed if caught early. 

Similar Breeds to the Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

If you're interested in this animal as a pet, you may want to consider other frogs similar to the Oriental fire-bellied toad: