How to Care* for Your Fire Bellied Toad
(photo credit Learn About Nature)
Fire Bellied Toads (Bombina orientalis in the case of Asian toads and Bombina bombina for the European species; the species may be mislabeled) are small (up to up to 3” with the European toads somewhat larger than their Asian counterparts), are diurnal, terrestrial amphibians native to China, Korea, Japan, and eastern Europe. Their dorsal surfaces are brown and green patterned with bright red or yellow and black patterned bellies. They can be housed individually or in groups. As is the case with most amphibians, they should be handled sparingly, and good hand sanitation should be maintained both before and after handling. Fire Bellied Toads are considered to be a beginner level pet.
Fire Bellied Toads can be housed in a small aquarium. A 5-gallon aquarium (16”x8”x10”) is the minimal size for a single toad. Groups of up to 4 toads will do well in a 10-gallon aquarium (10”x20”x12”), with larger enclosures recommended for larger groups. Though small, Fire Bellied Toads are known to be powerful jumpers, so ensure that the enclosure is tightly covered. Fire Bellied Toads spend time on land and in the water. They also like to burrow. They do best at room temperature (around 65-70F); temperatures should not exceed the low 80’sF. Humidity should be roughly 60% or more. Their enclosure should be evenly distributed between land and water areas. Since the water requires frequent changes, the easiest setup would be to provide it in a shallow dish.
Use a substrate of pea gravel, mulch, or coco fiber (or a combination) to a 2-3” depth. Set an appropriate sized shallow water bowl into the substrate with a rock or piece of floating cork bark in the bowl to help the toads leave the water. It’s also possible to design a more elaborate setup with a more naturalistic land and water habitat. In order to provide the high humidity needed, live plants can be added to the environment, either planted into the substrate or in small pots. Fire Bellied Toads will appreciate multiple hiding areas in the terrestrial part of the enclosure to help them feel more secure. As mentioned above, water should be changed daily or every other day. The water should be appropriately dechlorinated and kept clear of feces or other items that can foul it. Water conditioner products designed for turtle enclosures will work well for treating tap water. Distilled water should not be used. The enclosure can be misted on occasion to maintain humidity.
Heating and Lighting
Fire Bellied Toads are generally regarded as not requiring any particular lighting besides ambient light (as long as the appropriate supplements are included in their diets). If plants are in the enclosure, lighting appropriate for their growth needs to be provided. Care should be taken to avoid lights that give off significant heat in order to avoid overheating the enclosure. Most of the year, Fire Bellied Toads can be maintained at room temperature without additional heat. In climates where additional heat is necessary, it’s best achieved with an under tank heater (UTH). A UTH will require a thermostat or a rheostat to regulate the temperature. If the ambient temperature exceeds, the low 80’s (which should only occur occasionally), an ice pack or other frozen item can be used to cool the environment.
Food and Supplementation
Fire Bellied Toads are small but hardy eaters. They primarily eat a variety of bugs and worms, including but not limited to mealworms, crickets, silkworms, hornworms, Dubia and other roaches. Adult Fire Bellied Toads should be fed 2-3 times a week. Feeders should be small to medium size; Dubia roaches of up to 1/2” are appropriate for them. Fire Bellied Toads can also eat small fish such as guppies, which can be released into the aquatic area. Most captive Fire Bellied Toads are fed a staple diet of Dubia roaches, earthworms or crickets. They also may eat NutriGrubs (black soldier fly larvae, also known as phoenix worms). Care should be taken to feed appropriate sized prey and not to leave prey in the enclosure for long periods of time.
Fire Bellied Toads require calcium to build strong bones, vitamin D3 to metabolize the calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. They are generally provided with the vitamins and minerals they need through powdered supplements, which are commercially available. Dust their prey every other feeding with calcium, vitamin D3, and other vitamins.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to Fire Bellied Toads, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.