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Fire Belly Toads

Care Difficulty
Easy. Fire Belly Toads are one of the simplest frogs to maintain in captivity. Given their easy care, they can live for over ten years.

These are small herps. Adults average around two inches in length.

This species is found in Korea and northeastern China.

Oriental Fire Belly Toads live in shallow bodies of water in their range and spend much of their time in the water. They seem to prefer areas rich in aquatic vegetation. The waters they inhabit may be quite cool, and they will hibernate during the winter. They are active during the day and will bask, both on land and while floating in the water. These toads often float with just their heads above the water, hind legs outstretched. They are avid predators, eating most animals small enough to be caught and consumed. Their diet includes insects, worms, crustaceans (which give them their bright red color), and small fish. Prey is seized art the end of a leap by the jaws and stuffed in the mouth with the forelimbs.

In captivity, Fire Belly Toads should be fed a wide variety of small invertebrates and perhaps some occasional guppies, which they will eat in the water. Crickets, mealworms, blood worms, tubifex, fruit flies, and other invertebrates should be included. Care must be taken that the prey items are small enough for the frogs to consume easily. If you can locate some small live shrimp used for fish food, the toads will relish these. The tubifex, shrimp, and other typical fish foods should be fed in a shallow bowl (such as a jar lid) to prevent them from disappearing into the substrate. Insect foods should be gut-loaded prior to feeding. It is a good idea to add carrots, sweet potatoes, or other vegetables high in beta carotene to the insect gut-load. This will help the toads maintain their bright colors, and it is especially important to do this when feeding toadlets. Once a week, dust the insects with a good reptile vitamin and mineral supplement. Fire-bellies tend to become tame enough to take pieces of fish, mealworms, etc. right from their keepers fingers.

When feeding these animals in a group, you should watch until all the food is gone. Fire-bellies feed in a chaotic frenzy. Some individuals may not get enough food, you will need to notice and correct this. Also, in their rabid enthusiasm, one toad may attempt to consume another. You will have to intervene immediately if this happens.

Temperature / Humidity
One nice thing about keeping Fire Belly Toads is that they are comfortable at room temperatures. They can become heat-stressed if the temperature rises into the 80ís. As long as the toads have a substantial water section they will need no other source of humidity.

Four or five Fire-bellies will be happy in a ten-gallon aquarium. You must have a tight-fitting screen lid; these toads are able to wedge themselves in the corners and climb up the glass. The setup for these animals can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, so long as their basic needs are met. The enclosure should have approximately equal areas of land and water. The water need not be too deep; two inches will suffice. Some plants, real or artificial, should be included in the water, breaking the surface. Set up the water section so the toads will have no problem exiting onto land when they wish. You can do this by having the land slope into the water or by having driftwood or plants make a bridge up onto the land. It will be best for ease of maintenance and the health of the toads if the water is filtered and aerated. The small corner filters run by an air pump will suffice, but other, larger filters can be used also. Take care that the toads cannot be sucked up into the filter or that they cannot shimmy up the filter tubes and escape. As theses are messy frogs, the water will need frequent changing, even when using filter. Instead of a water section, a large, shallow bowl can be used. This will require almost daily cleaning. Water used for these or any other frogs should not be chlorinated. Use a dechlorinator for tap water or use spring water.

Aquarium gravel makes a suitable substrate for both the land and water sections. Rinse it thoroughly to remove dust before using. Cover the land section with sphagnum moss to help keep the humidity high and to give the toads a softer substrate. Depending on the number of toads kept and how much they are being fed, the substrate will need replacing every two to six weeks. Use you eyes and nose as judges.

Hiding areas are appreciated. Rocks, real and artificial plants, cork bark sections, coconut shells, and seashells all can be used as decorative hiding areas. As these are colorful, small hardy amphibians, they are good candidates for a naturalistic enclosure.

While they are not aggressive, Fire Belly Toads are small and can be flighty. Handling them is not recommended for this reason, and also because of the irritating chemicals in their skin. However, they quickly become used to their keepers and will hand feed. For the most part, this species should be thought of as a display animal.

Pet Suitability
Excellent. These are active, charming, pretty hardy, amphibians that require little in the way of specialized equipment or care




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