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Home > Frogs > Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad: Vet-Approved Info, Habitat Setup & Nutrition Tips

Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad: Vet-Approved Info, Habitat Setup & Nutrition Tips

Oriental Fire Bellied Frog Closeup_Kurit afshen_Shutterstock

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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Remember the cute little frog you loved to hunt in your backyard’s ponds when you were a kid? Well, forget that, because today we present to you a much more original and super flashy amphibian: the oriental fire-bellied toad! They are also known by their sophisticated species name, Bombina orientalis.

So, here’s everything you need to know about the care, tank setup, temperament, health, and more of the oriental fire-bellied toad.

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Quick Facts about Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

Species Name: Bombina orientalis
Family: Bombinatoridae
Care Level: Beginner/easy
Temperature: Daytime: 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)

Night Time: 60°F to 68°F (16°C to 20°C)

Temperament: Gregarious, hardy, diurnal
Color Form: Green or brownish grey with black spots, bright red-orange belly
Lifespan: Up to 30 years in captivity
Size: Up to 2 inches (5 centimeters)
Diet: Carnivore (as adult)
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons (24” L x 12” W x 12” H)
for 3 to 5 frogs
Tank Set-Up: Terrariums with half land and half water
Compatibility: Get along well with other fire-bellied toads

Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad Overview

Please Note

Despite the name, the fire-bellied toad is a frog, not a toad.

The oriental fire-bellied toad is found in China, Korea, and southern Russia, and Japan. Like other frogs, this species loves water; in their natural habitat, they are mainly found in ponds and other bodies of water. The oriental fire-bellied toad also likes to cling to the leaves of conifers when they wish to rest above water. However, they remain predominantly a semi-aquatic species.

They are popular in the pet trade, and they do not have a special conservation status because they are not considered endangered. Indeed, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN), the oriental fire-bellied toad is listed as Least Concern due to “its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification and presumed large population.”

Oriental Fire Bellied Frog on the soul_ worldswildlifewonders_Shutterstock
Image credit: Worldwildlifewonders, Shutterstock

How Much Do Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads Cost?

In the US, their price ranges from $10 to $25. You could keep multiple oriental fire-bellied toads in the same tank without spending too much money.

But before you go to your favorite pet store, you should try to rescue one from your local rescue center. Indeed, due to the impressive lifespan of these oriental frogs, they can sometimes be abandoned by their first owner.

This is because, sadly, some people do not realize that these amphibians will last much longer than a “normal” pet (e.g., dogs, cats, hamsters, etc.). Therefore, if their life situation changes and they can’t keep them anymore (or they just get bored of having a frog as a pet), they decide to get rid of them. So, this could be your opportunity to give these gorgeous and attractive animals a second chance in a new home.

If you’d rather purchase one (or more), look for good species-specific breeders or ask your vet about the best options in your area.

Please Note

Please note that many states and jurisdictions may have legislation that prevents capturing or owning tadpoles, frogs, or toads. Always make sure you have the permission to legally own an exotic pet before deciding to adopt one. If you are in the US, please refer to state laws before deciding to adopt an exotic or wild pet. Elsewhere, please refer to the relevant laws where you reside.

Capturing wild animals is not advised, as this disrupts local ecosystems. In addition, amphibians may naturally harbor Salmonella and spread it to humans and other pets. Frogs or toads are not recommended to be kept alongside children, the elderly, pregnant individuals, or those with a compromised immune system. Hygiene is of utmost importance when dealing with amphibians.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Oriental fire-bellied toads are gregarious; they enjoy the company of their conspecifics. It is advisable to put more than one specimen in the same enclosure to keep them entertained. They are also diurnal, so you might see them doing their “frog activities” (e.g., eating, hopping on the plants, frolicking in the water) during the day.

There’s also another fascinating behavior of these species that you may be lucky enough to observe: the unken reflex. The frog exhibits this defensive behavior when disturbed or attacked. They rise on their front legs and arch their back to present their bright belly to a perceived attacker. The purpose of this reflex is to appear potentially poisonous (and therefore unpalatable) to a predator.

But don’t worry about your own safety: in captivity, once accustomed to their owner, the oriental fire-bellied toad does not typically exhibit this type of behavior.

Oriental Fire Bellied Frog in the water_ agus fitriyanto suratno_Shutterstock
Image credit: Agus Fitriyanto Suratno, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

Oriental fire-bellied toads are small-sized, reaching a length of about 2 inches. Their backs, covered with spiky warts (also called tubercles and more prominent in males), can range from bright green to brownish-gray, but the skin on their stomachs is smooth. Females usually are larger than males.

So, up to now, they seem to be utterly normal pet frogs, maybe a little boring. But make no mistake: their exceptional characteristic lies on their stomachs. As mentioned earlier, their bellies are a fiery bright, red-orange color, and usually with dark spots, to warn any potential predator that they are poisonous.

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How to Take Care of Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Tank

A 10-gallon tank is a bare minimum for the enclosure of a single oriental fire-bellied toad. On the other hand, your pet frog risks getting bored: it is, therefore, advisable to have more than one specimen in the same tank. Allow between 15 and 20 gallons for housing three to five toads. A secure, ventilated cover is a must, as these bouncy little toads will escape if given the opportunity.

A semi-aquatic terrarium is ideally half water (about 2 to 3 inches deep) and half land. The land area may contain rocks to serve as a hiding place. Beware of sharp stones, however, which could injure the delicate skin of your frogs. Add aquatic plants, wet moss, and maybe a small floating island to rest.

The water should have a filter, and routine water changes are necessary. Use only dechlorinated water or bottled spring water in the tank. There should be a slope leading from their out-of-water resting spots to the water.

Fire Belly Toad on a rock in yellow background
Image Credit: Mark Bridger, Shutterstock

Temperature

Fire-bellied toads are cold-tolerant amphibians, so you don’t need to provide additional heating for the terrarium (unless you live in a particularly cold area). During their most active period, the temperature of the terrarium should be maintained between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C).

These frogs should not be housed in temperatures exceeding 82°F (27.8 °C). Therefore, you should consider purchasing a digital thermometer to monitor their enclosure’s temperature.

Humidity

If you’ve set up the tank the right way (e.g., half water, half soil, a few plants, rocks for hiding, etc.), humidity shouldn’t be a problem. It should stay within the correct range of 50 to 70%.

Adding a waterfall will also help to increase the humidity of the habitat. However, if you notice that the humidity drops below 50%, use a bottle to spray the tank. You could also use misting systems.

Substrate/Bedding

While you can use gravel as a substrate, an aquarium with small rocks is perfectly fine. The bottom may also be bare, but you can use stones or gravel to fill it. Substrates like coir are also acceptable, but that’s not an absolute requirement.

Since a fire-bellied toad has a lot of water in their habitat, you may be able to place some aquatic plants in their environment, if needed.

Lighting

Good lighting is essential to encourage the daytime behavior of oriental fire-bellied 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 your frogs a photoperiod of 10 to 12 hours if lighting is used.

Fire-bellied toads do not require specific UVB lighting, but be sure to place their tanks near a good light source to encourage their normal daytime behavior. Provide them with enough light during the day and darkness at night to reproduce the regular cycles (day and night) of their natural habitat.

Oriental Fire Bellied Frog sitting on the rock_ Lauren Suryanata_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Lauren Suryanta, Shutterstock

Do Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads Get Along With Other Pets?

If you have a large enough setup and can accommodate the needs of every species, the following species can be housed with fire-bellied toads:

  • Green Anoles
  • Tree Frogs
  • Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

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What to Feed Your Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

Oriental fire-bellied toads are insectivorous. You will need to feed adults a wide variety of invertebrates, such as mealworms, crickets, and mollusks, to help them thrive and keep them healthy. Tadpoles will appreciate algae, fungi, and plants.

Here’s a list of invertebrates to feed your toads:

  • Crickets (preferred)
  • Mealworms
  • Silkworms
  • Hornworms
  • Waxworms
  • Earthworms
  • Collembola
  • Dubia roaches

Live crickets should make up the majority of their diet, with other insects being substituted for crickets every few feedings. These frogs rarely recognize non-living food, so all insects must be alive when offered. A feeding schedule of two to six insects per toad every 2 to 3 days usually works well.

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. 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.

Fire-bellied toad on a big rock
Image Credit: reptiles4all, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

The fire-bellied toad is an interesting exotic pet. Despite the name, these small amphibians are, in fact, frogs and, therefore, prefer a humid, semi-aquatic environment. Like most frogs, they are carnivores that do best on live feed offered with supplements.

Their relative ease of care and a hands-off approach makes them interesting, colorful companions that can be a rewarding experience to those interested in keeping pet frogs.


Featured Image Credit: Kuritafshen, Shutterstock

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