Fire-Bellied Toad Fun Facts



Fire-bellied toad eggs hatch in about seven days, and tadpoles metamorphose within 45 days of hatching.

Fire-bellied toads have glands that secrete toxins which make them very untasteful to their preditors and even poisonous.  These glands are on their back and often can be seen as a lighter color than the rest of the toads skin.

Here is Brownie and Limey showing off their toxin glands.

Brownie glands          Limey

To restore the bright color in a toad’s fire-belly that has faded you can feed your crickets baby carrots chopped up.  The orange color passes through the crickets to the toad and helps maintain a bright reddish-orange belly.  You should use organic carrots to avoid any pesticides passing through to the toad and making it sick or worse.

Male fire-bellied toads have nuptial pads, enlarged bumps on their first and second fingers.  These nuptial pads help aquatic frogs hold on to females during breeding. 

There are two genera of fire-bellied toads — Barbourula and Bombina.  We are in the genera Bombina.  We are sometimes called oriental fire-bellied toads and are found in China, Russia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.  There are other genera of Bombina that look similar to us found in Europe, the Philippines and Borneo.

Fire-bellied toads have heart-shaped pupils.  Greenie fire-bellied toad close up

Releasing fire-bellied toads or any other non-native wildlife into the wild poses a very serious threat to the native wildlife population.  One should never release a fire-bellied toad into the wild.  Find a proper home for your fire-bellied toad if you no longer can care for it.  Many pet stores like Petco will take it in and find a good home for it.

When a fire-bellied toad senses danger it arches its body, flashing the brilliant warning spots on its belly.  This reaction is called the unkenreflex and is derived from the German name for fire-bellied toads (unken).

Adult fire-bellied toads reach a length of 1.5 to 2.5 inches long.  They weight approximately 1-2 ounces.

   07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg   07-12-12-brownie-and-newts-cuddling.jpg   Fire-bellied toads (and fire-bellied newts) love to cuddle together.  Sometimes they even make a hog pile.   

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Fire-Bellied Toads come in a variety of colors.  Here we have Limey (lime green), Brownie (brownish) and Greenie (dark green).  Their color will vary during the day also.  Greenie will be almost as brown as Brownie sometimes and then later he may be a bright green almost as green as Limey.

Fire-bellied toads can be found in parts of China, Eastern Russia and Korea living in mountain lakes and ponds from 5,300 to 10,000 feet above sea level.

10-27-07-courtship3.jpg  Greenie is definitely a male.

Males usually have rougher backs and their forearms are thicker than the females. They almost look identical except during the breeding season, when males have black horny nuptial pads on their fingers and forearms.  The best way to tell which toads are male is to observe them.  Whenever a toad tries to jump on the back of another toad and use its arms to grasp it, it’s definitely a male.  

 Male fire-bellied toads make a barking noise when they want to mate.  Here is Greenie barking for Brownie. 

Fired-bellied toads shed their skin.  They rip it off with their mouth and eat it as it sheds.

Fire-bellied toads are EXOTHERMIC AMPHIBIANS.  This means they are cold-blooded (exothermic) and they live both in water and on land (amphibians).

Fire-bellied toads do NOT cause warts.  Warts are caused by human viruses, not toads.  They do have glands which secrete toxins.  This can cause skin irritations and may be poisonous to some animals.  Do NOT handle your fire-bellied toads unless you absolutely have to and after touching them wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.


50 Responses

  1. Hello is there any possible way of u sending me a frog because where i’m located there r none around…Please reply back ASAP….

    • Hi-
      Your website is very insightful! I was just wondering…I recently added a second fire-bellied toad to my first one’s habitat since they do better in pairs? I was wondering if you have ever observed your fire-bellies fighting…not sure if mine are trying to mate. I did see your video – I definitely know my green one is a male – it croaks frequently – but have not heard the other one make any noises yet. It sometimes looks like the green one is trying to bite the brown one. I just want to make sure my greenie (Rosie) is not trying to hurt my brownie (Giant).

  2. My big male fire belly toad sheds alot, sometimes once a day is this normal or healthy?

  3. qustion : what happens if u drop it and it looks like its not breathing plz plz plz awnser back

  4. We have a Fire Bellied Toad that is almost 9 years old. We would like to find a mate. He sounds like your Greenie. We don’t know which sub-species he is. Does it matter if the Fire Bellied Toads at PetsMart are a different sub-species? Can toads from Asia breed and coexist with toads from Europe?

  5. I have not read whether the two subspecies will mate and produce offspring. My first reaction would be “why not?” I would try it since there is nothing to lose and all you gain is another cute fire-bellied toad. Of course, you need to know the sex of the toad you are buying and that is nearly impossible without having access to it for a while and observing. If someone at PetsMart tries to say they can sex their fire-bellied toads that is probably not true. If they say they know the sex because they have observed them and how they interract then they may very well do know the sex. Good luck and let us know what happens if you do get another toad and they mate.

  6. I have had my fire bellied toad for seven years he has been on his own for the past year. We have recently introduced another pair. How territorial are they and should we separate them toad for seven years he has been on his own for the past year. We have recently introduced another pair.

  7. I was wondering if anyone has ever gotton sick from firebelly frogs. My 3 year old was holding our 3 frogs for about an hour while I was cleaning the tank. About 12hours later she became sick. Like a stomach flu almost. This has lasted for about 3 days. Any one know?

  8. o.k, ive had my fire belly toad,lumpy, for about 3. i got another one,flame, about a year and a half ago. flame has been holding on to lumpy and barking,while lumpy dosent bark and lets flame cling on him (most of the time that is). Should i expect eggs?

  9. In regards to Cindy’s comment…I also have a 3 yr. old and after holding the firebelly we ALWAYS wash our hands thoroughly following up with sanitizer. When we first got Speckles I let my 3 yr. old hold him for no longer than 5 minutes and a little later it looked like he was starting to get pink eye. It lasted for a day and didn’t turn in to anything but i’m certain he got something from the firebelly.

  10. i had mine for a month and there cool to take care of

  11. I just got mine from a mall and i am trying to find out as much as i can about these frogs and i was wondering if anyone knew if there was i specific mating season plz write back asap thanks

  12. I just got my fire belly a week ago and i was wndering if they change color with age and how much a baby one should eat.

  13. I had one fbt,and wanted to get him a mate. I bought 2 more fbts and after 2 years, the alpha male is the only one left. Is it possible for the alpha male to poison the other 2 fbts and kill them?

  14. ha ha ha yes lots of eggs

  15. tell me how we can reduce the noise the toads make thanx bye

  16. will a male try to mate with another male frog?

  17. im watching mine right now there makin the same sound did yours ever lay eggs

  18. i also found out that firebellied toads are related to the frog family. they are anfibians. they not as often pose themselves anymore because the have now been brought up in areas where the are not pray them selves but have lots of pray for them to eat. they live in wetland areas along in forest dence vegitation and rivers and valley along with much much more places.

  19. I have 2 fire belly toads- Prince And TinkerBell. Prince grabs on to TinkerBell to mate w/ her, but TinkerBell jumps on Prince and does the same thing, like if Prince got the cricket first. Could Tink be a male?

  20. I have had my toad for a few months.
    He vanished one day and we assume he buried himself in the dirt. These type of toads hibernate in nature from late Sept-May. Is this what he is doing or should we be concerned?

    • My toad is trying to hibernate too. Glad to see that this is normal.
      Mine love each other and call out to each other a lot. No tadpoles yetm thought.

    • If you look up the hibernation months it might tell you somthing about it

  21. Michael, Your toad is FINE. FBTs will like to hide but check your tempature in your tank. And just in case, look for him. As in, clean his tank. And dig him up in the dirt. BTW, gravel is better for fbts. You won’t have to worry about them buring themselves.

  22. i have a toad like this. they are very pretty. and cute. and cuddly. i sleep with mine…i let it sim in my mouth.

  23. Hi-
    Your webiste is very insightful!!! I had a question for you – have you ever – or anyone else – observed your fire-bellies fighting? I did see the video posted of Greenie and Brownie and the mating call – my green one croaks but I have not observed the brown one croak yet; I just added him to the tank 2 days ago after reading they do better in pairs. I also read today that sometimes they will try to eat each other? This seems a bit wacky to me, but maybe it is true; I have seen my green one holding down my brown one on its back while in the water; my green one was croaking at the same time.
    Do you think they are just trying to mate or may it be aggression???
    Thanks for your help!

  24. I’ve had my ten fire bellies for 14 years now, and I’ve never had any problems with the poison they are supposed to secrete —– and I always forget to wash my hands!

    Maybe they have got so tame they’ve lost the instinct

    I keep a lot of guppies in there too – as scavengers – and they are not affected, in fact they are really healthy.

  25. i changed my toads tank around so they could expan. i boiled hot water and washed all the new rocks and plants as well as the old ones. then i set up the tank with gloves on. put fresh water in and tested the temp. eveything was by the books. well i woke up and went to feed my two toads and one of them would not eat. then i saw a white puss comming out of his mouth and he looks like he has a hair ball. what is wrong with him? please help!

  26. I have 2 firebelly toads & they mate like crazy. I handle my toads frequently & nothing has ever happened to me. Although, about a week after I got them I called petsmart to ask if they were truly poisonous. They aren’t “poisonous” to humans. It’s more just to other predators. I’m thinking that maybe the sickness of your children is just a coincidence because my brother also handles my toads & he won’t wash his hands. (don’t ask me why.)

  27. i have just got my fire belly toad today 3 snap,crackle and pop there all just lazing around espacialy snap crackles in the water alot pop the fat one just lays there staring but snaps behind on the plant should i have any concerns , this is my first frog ever can anyone give me tips for anything on these guys PLEASE i dont want to be missing anything

  28. i have bought 3 fire belly toads this morning and these toads are great im concernd about one hes not eating ive brought a termite hill that they get here food out of but anyone can you PLEASE give me tips if you could anything even simple i need to know its my first frog ever and i dont want them to be sick please update me

  29. any good websites ?

  30. one of my toads keeps wanting to mate with the other (i had em 4 11 days) but the female ses NO WAY lol

  31. Fire Bellied Toads are cool little pets, and entertaining to watch, but all of the articles I have read about them said not to handle them. I would definitely not allow a young child to hold them. Like many other reptiles/amphibians, they can carry salmonella. Whenever I clean their cage, I always wear disposable gloves, just to be on the safe side, and wash my hands with antibacterial soap afterwards after touching the cage.

  32. wow cool website bros i have one and its bright green not dark geen way cooler anyways sup

  33. We just got our 2 fire belly toads hoppy and tiny and i ws wondring if anyone knows how to determine the age of the toads?

  34. Will they lay eggs in captivity and may the hstch. Also will the adults eat their offspring

  35. …… I just got my toad a week ago and I don’t know if its okay to hold her (Lilly pad) or will she get me sick?

  36. oh and can fire bellied frogs eat meal worms or just crickets

  37. I don’t know who made this post about fire belly toad care, but they obviously don’t know what they are talking about. Fire belly toads and fire belly newts should never be housed together. Just because both animals use the term fire belly does not mean that they are in anyway related. Fire belly toads secrete different toxins than fire belly newts. The toxins that the toads secrete will shorten the lifespan of the newt, or possibly kill it. The same goes for the newt. Its toxins are not good for the toads health. When buying almost any reptile or amphibian you should never mix species. There may not be any visual signs of a problem, and the toads and the newts may get along but in the long run the toads will not be in the best health because they are drinking and swimming around in another animals toxin. If you buy an animal you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. You should do tons of research before buying any animal. You should also look at multiple websites because some (like this website) give false information and leave they leave out important facts. I guarantee that most places online will confirm what I am saying. I am not sure if this person did not do the research or if they just chose to ignore it.

  38. If i can find food on the internet for cheap to bye i might be able to get one, any sites recommended???

  39. As with any amphibian, toads carry Salmonella. It is important to clean your hands very thoroughly after handling.

  40. I found one in my pool skimmer, I live in Florida and am assuming it was a pet a one point. I couldn’t find any information on what it was until I stopped looking for it as a Florida native. Now I am wishing I had not let it go.
    Great pictures though.

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