Popularity: Make good pets, but should be observed rather than handled. There is the possibility of irritation to the skin for humans, but overall they are not toxic to humans.
Native habitat: Semi-aquatic
Size: 1 to 2.5 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Appearance: They have brightly colored red-and-black or yellow-and-black patterns on the ventral regions. The other parts of the skin, such as the back, are green or dark brown.
Defense Mechanisms: When confronted by a potential predator, a toad will arch its back, and then raise its front and back legs to display the coloration of its ventral side. This warns predators that the toad has a foul taste. Toxic and malodorous secretions from glands in the skin sometimes accompany the action.
Misc characteristics: Fire-bellied Toads make sounds by inhaling rather than exhaling. Its croak has a pleasant sound, reminiscent of a small bell. Its tongue is attached to the floor of its mouth, so it cannot flick it out to catch prey as other frogs do. Instead, it must jump and catch its meals in its mouth. These toads are communal and do well when kept in groups.
Housing and Furnishings
Fire-bellied Toads are active, so they need room to move about. A 20-gallon aquarium can house three toads. Add 5 gallons to the tank size for each additional toad. The tank should be longer than it is high, and it should have a secure lid to prevent escape. Between 25 and 30 percent of the tank should be dry, and the remainder should be chlorine-free water that is 2-4 inches deep. The dry area needs smooth rocks for basking and commercially available driftwood and plants (live or artificial) for hiding spots. There also needs to be floating plants (real or artificial) and smooth rocks in the water area to provide hiding and resting spots. Line the bottom of the water area with smooth rocks that gradually slope upward so the frog can exit the water. Though they seldom submerge themselves, Fire-bellied Toads spend most of their time floating in the water. Inspect and clean the water daily. Do a partial water change (25%) weekly, and use a small aquarium filter.
You can use gravel to build up the foundation of the dry area, but you must cover it with another substrate to keep the toad from ingesting it. You can cover it with any combination of larger rocks, moss, or non-aromatic wood fiber. Avoid aromatic wood substrates that can cause health risks. Inspect and clean the substrate daily.
Fire-bellied Toads do well at room temperature. The temperature in their enclosure should be around 75 degrees F during the day and slightly cooler at night. Use a low wattage bulb during the day to create a warm, but not too hot, basking area –not over 85 degrees. Monitor it carefully with a thermometer.
Expose the toad to some UVB light daily. You can provide this with a fluorescent reptile lamp designed for frog terrarium use. It should emit 3-6 percent UVB rays. Glass blocks out UVB light, so keep overhead light sources behind a wire mesh cover, not a glass or acrylic tank top. There should be a definite day/night cycle, so the tank should be dark for around 12 hours a day.
Feed the toad gut loaded crickets dusted with a supplement. Offer them on the dry section of the enclosure. You can also offer small silkworms and earthworms, and occasionally, wax worms and mealworms. Three times a week, feed adults as much as they can eat in one sitting (generally 2-6 insects). Feed juveniles smaller insects more often. Provide calcium and vitamin supplements as part of the diet.