ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fire Belly Toads, Bright Green, Black and Orange Frogs.

Updated on May 28, 2013
The fire bellied frog dorsum is moss green with black spots, notice the red finger tips.
The fire bellied frog dorsum is moss green with black spots, notice the red finger tips. | Source

Fire Bellied Toads, Easy Frog for Beginners

People starting to keep amphibians are very lucky, the recommended beginner frogs, the oriental fire belly toads, Bombina orientalis, are not only an extremely hardy species that is easy to keep in captivity, but are also brightly coloured, active, and very amusing to observe. The dorsum (back) of the frogs is moss green with contrasting black markings, while it's underside is a bright orange with more black splotches, giving them their common name. They also sport beautiful orange or red finger tips. The fire bellied toad excretes toxins from glands behind its ears, and the striking colouration warns predators of its foul taste. Although the toxins are far less potent than those of the South American poison dart frogs, and not particularly harmful to humans, but might cause irritation if they get into the eyes, and it is best to avoid handling the frog for a long time. Handling is generally not recommended for any frog pet, since its very permeable skin might absorb oils or soap residue from human hands. When feeling threatened, B. orientalis, will arch its back and raise its legs, to make sure the potential predator will notice the warning colours and reconsider having it for dinner. This is known as Unkenreflex, from the "unke", the german name for "a fire bellied toad".

Fire bellied toads get their name from their striking orange and black bellies
Fire bellied toads get their name from their striking orange and black bellies | Source

FBT Background

In the wild fire bellied toads are found in China, Korea and Thailand. It is a fairly small frog reaching 2 inches (5.5 cm) in length. Although it is called a toad, a name usually given to terrestial frogs it is semi-aquatic and spends a lot of time in water. Its skin is, however, quite warty, males are generally more so than females. The sexes are not easily told apart, except duirng the spawning seasson when the males will call and develop black nuptial pads on their forearms.


The Fire Belly Toad Vivarium.

Because of its semi-aquatic nature, water should represent a large portion of the fire bellied frog habitat in captivity. There are several ways to setup the vivarium to achieve this, the simplest method is to create a substrate gradient by piling most of the aquarium gravel at one end, the land portion which gently slopes to the water part. It is advisable to use large gravel, that is too big for the toad to ingest accidentally when it is feeding.

Another method for setting up the vivarium is to use a sheet of acrylic as a divider which is fixed to the bottom of the tank with aquarium sealant. The land part is then filled with substrate, which can be gravel, peat moss, or Zoomed Eco Earth (compressed coconut fibre). The land area should provide hiding spots for the toads, and it is nice to decorate it with moss and rocks. Living plants in both the land and water areas are a great addition, but plastic plants can be used for a simpler setup. If there is no slope leading from water to land, a ramp created from a branch should be used to make it easy for the toads to climb out of the water.

The water used must be treated with a decholorinating aquarium water conditioner, such as that used for fish. Although fire bellied toads are sometimes kept without any filtration, with frequent water changes, it is better to use a small aquarium filter to prevent build up of waste in the water and even with filtration weekly partial water changes should be carried out. The water should be about 4 inches (10 cm) deep.

An Example of a Fire Belly Toad tank

Fire Bellied Toad Environment

The toads should be kept at a temperature of 24-26oC (75-78F) with a drop of a few degrees at night. High humidity will be provided by the large water area, the live plants and possible spray from the filter, but can be supplemented if necessary by spraying. To prevent the toads escaping, unless the tank is particularly high, a lid should be fastned securely, but a screen top is necessary to prevent conditions from becoming stagnant.

The vivarium should be longer than it is high, since unlike tree frogs, the toads do not utilize vertical spaces very much. A 10 gallon tank is sufficient for housing three FBT frogs, 20 gallon tanks can house more individuals. It is not advisable to mix other species with fire bellied toads, in case their toxins poison other amphibians.

Viviarium setup using an acrylic divider

FBT diet

Fire bellied toads are insectivorous and in captivity should be fed 3 times a week on crickets, locusts, flies, wax worms, moths or phoenix worms. Unless feeding phoenix worms, which are naturally high in calcium, the insects should be dusted with a multivatim/calcium supplement. 3-4 insects should be fed per toad at each feeding. To maintain the bright orange colouration of the belly, the live food should be gutloaded on foods high in beta carotene, such as carrots or sweet potatoes.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      6 years ago from London

      It really isn't very toxic at all, lots of kids keep it as pets. Perhaps your aunt can be persuaded with facts.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My cousin got one for his b-day and my aunt is freaking out about it cus it's toxic and she doesn't know y i keep mine I told her there not bad it's fine to let him keep it but she's taking him back :-(

    • profile image

      kieran angus 

      6 years ago

      Great info hoping to get a few of these guys but of course parents are put off by live feed.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Another excellent hub that I just voted up for! I used to keep and breed Fire-bellied toads.

    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      7 years ago from London

      Wow!Fire bellied toads falling from the sky is not something I am familiar with, despite keeping frogs for years. I thought they were aquatic, not aerial lol. Good luck to you with your frog, you should find everything you need to keep it from any reptile petshop.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      this info really helped since a fired belly frog fell from the sky and is now my pet

    • Reptillian profile image


      7 years ago from South Dakota

      The pet I really want is a puppy, but tank animals are what I'm stuck with since I live in an apartment that doesn't allow cats or dogs...sigh. :)

      Crickets don't bother me. I had a pet hermit crab once that I fed the occasional dead cricket to, I don't think a live cricket would be all that different...though I am kind of soft hearted when it comes to animals, so I don't know if I could bring myself to feed one living thing to another. I'd probably feel bad for the cricket.

    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      7 years ago from London

      Thanks, actually I would recommend that you get both! The main hassle with reptiles is having to feed them yucky crickets, once you've got over that hurdle, you might as well keep several to make it worthwhile.

    • Reptillian profile image


      7 years ago from South Dakota

      Interesting article on a very cool amphibian! I was thinking of getting a lizard in a few years after my hamster dies, but maybe I'll give toads a try.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)