Can Fire-bellied Toads and Newts Live Together?

Okay, we are going to let you know what others think about housing fire-bellied toads and fire-bellied newts together.

Below our article are links that discuss the potential dangers of housing us together.  They have very valid reasons NOT to put fire-bellied toads and fire-bellied newts in the same terrarium or aquarium.

We have been together for over a year and April or Tony has watched us for hours on end during that time and have yet to see any stress between us, etc.

We (all of us – newts and toads) are approximately the same size and that may be why us toads do not see the newts as a food source.  Or, it could be pure luck that we do not eat the newts. 

Randall1 and Randall2 (the newts) will actually decide on their own to come over to us toads and cuddle.  That obviously shows they are not stressed by our presence in the tank.

Although we do not question the opinions expressed in the following links, we have decided to stay together for the time being.

Our recommendation to new owners or owners that have had previous bad experiences is to house us separately.  Unless you will be watching us carefully and be prepared to separate us by having another housing area ready nearby if it is needed.

Here are the links we mentioned earlier:

http://exoticpets.about.com/od/frogsandtoads/f/fbtandfbn.htm

http://exoticpets.about.com/od/reptilesandamphibians/f/mixingspecies.htm

http://forum.kingsnake.com/newt/messages/24775.html

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

  Brownie

  Greenie

  Limey

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How We Like Our Tank Set Up

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-spread-out-in-strange-post.jpg

Hi,

Today we’re going to tell you what we like and dislike about setting up a home for us.

First, we have seen some tanks that are just water and a small flat area of dry land.  YUKKKK!  How boring.  Don’t they realize we are animals in need of variety and fun?

How do you know whether we like to spend most of our time in the water or on land?  You don’t unless you provide us with a lot of both.  For instance, Brownie spends almost all of her time in the water hanging on to the edge of the land area.  Greenie spends most of his time on a rock that is submerged by the waterfall.  And, Limey hardly ever goes into the water at all.  He likes to sit up high and overlook his domain.  Sort of like “King of the Mountain.”

Limey would spend more time in the water if he had to because there was only one small rock in the tank, but he wouldn’t be happy.  Brownie would spend less time in the water if the tank had only a small area of water, but she wouldn’t be happy.

If you are going to keep pets, let them be as happy as they can be.

Here is how April has our tank set up right now so we can all enjoy what we like.  She rearranges our tank every time she cleans it making new hiding places to find which keeps us interested in our environment.  Toads can get depressed just like any other animal.

April has a 30 gallon tank and likes to keep fish in it so she has to have a lot of water in the tank.  But, she wanted a lot of land for us and the newts also.  So she put 2 vases in the water upside down.  As you can see in the picture below the larger vase is clear so it doesn’t block your ability to watch the fish in the tank.  She also has a tall underwater cave structure and puts a plastic baby fish holder on top of that.  She used to use the baby fish holder to protect the baby guppies from the other fish when she raised guppies.  She puts decorative rocks, shells and some small plastic plants in the baby fish holder to add weight to it before setting it on the top of the underwater cave.  She places that structure and the two vases in a triangle to be the support structures of the land mass she is going to construct.

08-01-14-front-of-tank.jpg

She has an upside down ceramic bowl on one of the vases to help start making the land mass above the waterline.  She has a flat piece of plastic from the top of an older hexagon aquarium that she balances between the three tall support columns.  Then she adds some large flat rocks until she has a large flat land mass (most of this area is still slightly under water).

08-01-14-side-of-tank-better-view.jpg  You can see the underwater cave and plastic baby fish holder on the right side of this picture.

Now comes the fun part.  She adds different size rocks to the land mass and builds hiding places by placing flat rocks across the top of round rocks.  That way we can hide and she can still see us.

08-01-14-side-of-tank-top.jpg   08-01-14-newt-hiding-places.jpg   08-01-14-top-of-tank-with-toads.jpg

She also puts in extra long plants so their tops float on the water.  We all love to sit on those sometimes.

11-15-07-exc-g-b-photo.jpg   08-01-14-top-of-tank-front.jpg

Then we are almost set.  One last thing she does is make sure the rock under our waterfall is placed just right.  She doesn’t want us hopping up into the water filter but more importantly she knows how much Greenie loves to sit below the waterfall hiding under a rock for hours at a time.  So, she makes sure the flat rock under the waterfall has a good hiding rock on it for Greenie.

08-01-14-waterfall-with-toads.jpg  Of course, Limey has to keep an eye on Greenie at all times.

We all like to climb up on the waterfall rock and take showers every so often.  The newts don’t though.

Did you notice the piece of carrot in some of the pictures above?  It is for the crickets.  With all the rocks in the tank the crickets can hide from us so April sometimes puts a bunch of crickets in the tank.  She puts the carrot in so they have something to eat and will be fat and plump even if they manage to hide from us for a few days before we catch them.  She changes the carrot stick out for a new one every day though otherwise it would get moldy.

This is a good home for the fire-bellied newts also since they really don’t like to be forced to spend all or most of their time in the water.  At least Randal1 and Randal2 would prefer to be out of the water in a damp area instead of directly in the water.

April thinks having fish in the tank keeps us entertained.  She catches every one of us watching the fish every now and then.

We love our tank!

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

07-12-12-brownie-and-newts-cuddling.jpg  Brownie, Randal1 and Randal2

10-29-07-greenie-under-rock.jpg  Greenie

07-12-16-limey-close-up-front-showing-belly-resized.jpg  Limey

Where do Fire-bellied Toads come from?

Hi,
Ever wonder where wild fire-bellied toads live?
There are two different genera of toads referred to as fire-bellied toads.  We are in the genera of Bombina.  There are others in the genera of Bombina but we are the ones that are also sometimes called Oriental fire-bellied toads.  In the wild we live at 5,300 to 10,000 feet above sea level in parts of Northeastern China, Southeastern Siberia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.
Image Preview China    edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/03/22/raise.kursk/map.russia.jpg Russia      South Korea   Japanese Map  Japan 
In our natural habitat we are able to withstand a low temperature of 41F (5C), and a high temperature of 86F (30C). Toad owners need to keep in mind that in the wild we have our natural habitat to help us survive these temperatures.  Since you cannot provide us with our true natural habitat we need a more even temperature of 64.4-68F (18-20C).  We may need extra heat in the winter months, or we could hibernate (if you provide the right environment for hibernation) at 41-59F (5-15C) for a few months.
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  We usually are found hanging out floating or swimming in ponds and streams near the shore in the wild.
07-12-09-limey-hunting-posture-he-sees-brownie.jpg  We are very special because, unlike most toads, our tongues do not fold out to catch crickets (YUMMMMM!).  Instead we have to stalk our prey, jump right up to it and grab it with our mouth.  (See “The Best Cricket Hunt Yet”)  Then, if the prey is too large to be just one bite we use our front legs to shove it into our mouth.
07-12-09-limey-showing-off-his-belly.jpg   When we are in the wild and a predator comes along we often arch our back, raise our front and back legs so they can see our bright “fire” belly.  Sometimes we roll over on our back so all of our belly shows.  That way they know if they eat us they are going to get sick from our toxin.  But, in captivity we don’t usually do this since we are pretty much safe from any predators.
07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg  We love to cuddle and we even hug  10-27-07-courtship3.jpg  (if one of us is a male and one is a female).
We all have fire-bellies on bottom but can be very different colors on our top sides.  We come in many tones of brown and green ranging all the way from dark, dark brown to lime green.  In fact, we sometimes change our colors and a lime green toad can become dark green.  We don’t know why this happens but it may be temperature changes or even mood changes.  A naturally brown toad can’t change its color to bright green, but a bright green toad will become dark green on occasion.  We all have glossy black spots on our backs and two areas where we secrete our toxins.  These two areas usually are a slightly different color than the rest of our body.
When we are in the wild and between 2 and 4 years old we will mate in the months of April and May.  A male hugs a female just like you see in the picture above when they mate. The female then lays anywhere from 80 to 300 eggs!  The eggs can be found hanging off plant stems.  Tadpoles eat mainly algae and plants.  The toadlets live in pools or puddles where they eat insects like flies and beetles but also worms and water spiders.  They turn into toads in just a few weeks. Their metamorphosis is complete some time in July or August. Some eggs are laid in August and these will metamorphose in the spring.
We didn’t come from the wild but from a toad farm.  In order to protect the ecosystem of any habitat please never take animals out of the wild to keep as pets.  Just as we mentioned in an earlier blog that you should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER release your pets into the wild.  We could destroy the ecosystem of your backyard if you released us out there.  If you find you can’t care for your pets any longer take them to a pet store and ask the manager to find a good home for them.  Most pet stores are more than willing to help you find a home for your pets.
Kind Regards,
Greenie, Brownie and Limey
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie

Releasing a Fire-Bellied Toad into the Wild

07-12-16-limey-foreground-randal-2-background.jpg  What happens when you release a fire-bellied toad into the wild?

DISASTER!

Fire-bellied toads are not native to most of the world.  Oriental fire-bellied toads are found in the wild in parts of Northeastern China, Southeastern Siberia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.

That cute little toad you have in your home as a pet most likely was born at a toad farm and not in the wild.  It has never been in the wild and should never be in the wild.

If you grow tired of taking care of your fire-bellied toad (or any critter that is not native to your area) find a good home for it.  Or, take it to a pet store and ask them to find a good home for it.  Many pet stores will take pets in and adopt them out to another good home.  This goes for fish also.  If a fish gets too big for your tank or you need to get rid of it for some reason a fish store will take it in.  Owners of pet stores realize that it is in their best interest to take in these creatures rather than have them released into the wild and hurt the native habitat.

If you released your fire-bellied toad into the wild the native animals that live in your area would be negatively affected.  Whole ecosystems have been changed because of people introducing non-native animals into areas.  A good example is the cane toad that was introduced into Australia in 1935 and have been raising havoc ever since.  Check out the complete story at: http://www.fdrproject.org/pages/toads.htm

The cane toad is highly poisonous but it seems this was not taken into account when authorities decided to use them to get rid of cane beetles in the sugar cane fields in Gordonvale, Australia.  After being introduced into Australia in hopes that they would take care of this pest problem (which the toads never did take care of) the cane toad continued to flourish because it had no natural predators.  Almost all of Australia is now overrun with large, poisonous cane toads.

All stages of a cane toad’s life they are poisonous.  They have no natural predators to keep their numbers under control.  There is evidence that they may be eating Australia’s frog population.  Fish who eat toadpoles die.  Animals who eat adults die.  Snakes have been found killed by toad toxin so fast that the toad is still in their mouth.  Small amounts of water such as a pet’s water dish can be fouled by the toad’s poison and the pet will become sick from drinking out of it.

The pests have spread across most of Queensland, the Northern Territory into the wetlands of Kakadu.  They have hitched a ride to Sydney in vegetable trucks and now are entering the native habitat of the already endangered Green and Golden Bell frog.

All of this havoc is now reducing many species of Australia wildlife even crocodiles!

No one thought when a little over 100 cane toads were released into a few sugar cane fields in a very small area to eat cane beetles that the whole of Australia’s ecosystem would be negatively affected and that effect would reach the crocodile population.

Let’s use more of our common sense than these “intelligent” authorities did in Australia and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER release your fire-bellied toad into the wild.

Kind Regards,

Greenie, Brownie & Limey

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie & Greenie

P.S.  That goes for fire-bellied newts also.   07-12-16-randal-2-front-face-shot-showing-underside-resized.jpg  Randal 1 and Randal 2

Fire-Bellied Toad Fun Facts

07-12-09-limey-showing-off-his-belly.jpg 

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.

Check out our videos

Randal2 and Limey taking showers. 

Fluffy eating a mouse.

 Morning with Brownie.
 Feeding time for the fish.
The best cricket hunt ever! 

Limey, the newbie!
Home Sweet Home!  
  
Our Family Album Newts Rule!  

  

Poor Greenie.  He really loves Brownie and she ignores him.  

Watch the hunting machines.  Just like lions stalking their prey. 

Crickets – YUMMMMM!!!!

Hi,

Today we get to talk about our favorite subject.

Crickets!

As fire-bellied toads we only eat live food.  Don’t try to feed us that dead or thawed out junk!  It won’t get by us.

So April had to figure out how to keep live food on hand without running to the pet store every other day.  You see, we are moving next year to a small town in Wyoming and her hubby said they wouldn’t be able to afford to drive 60 miles one way every other day to buy crickets for us.  It is obvious where we land in the food chain in this household!

 That is okay though because April bought this great cricket keeper from PetcoThe complete cricket care and dispensing kit for up to 30 medium crickets.  Complete system features well-ventilated top with clear viewer/feeding window, two cylinders, and food/water dishes.It has an opening at the top to drop the crickets in and there are two round holes on each side where these black tubes go.  The tubes have plastic caps on them.  The crickets like to climb up the tubes and when it is feeding time April pulls out a tube, covers the open end with her hand and lowers the tube into our home.  She just leans the tube a little and the crickets come out all by themselves.  Greenie (who is the least shy of us) sits right at the end of the tube and gobbles them up as they come out.  Sometimes Greenie even jumps into the tube a little to get at a cricket if he is not in a very patient mood.

We know when it is time to eat because April feeds us about the same time of day and always puts the black tube into the aquarium and leans it a little to let us see the crickets.  She thinks it is cute the way we scrunch down when we know the crickets are coming.  She says it looks like we are stalking our prey like the lions in Africa.

We don’t have long tongues that fly out like some toads and frogs so we have to pounce at the cricket and grab it with our mouth.  Then we use our front feet to shove it down into our mouth.  April and her hubby think that is cute also.  Her hubby is always watching us and smiling.  So, even though he doesn’t think we are worth the 120 mile round trip every other day for food, we know he does love us.

Another great thing about the cricket keeper is that April buys small crickets and we get to watch them grow.  Before she puts the crickets in it she sprinkles some calcium with supplements into the cage so the crickets have to walk in it.  We need calcium and other supplements and we get it because it is on the crickets when we eat them.  Clever, huh? And, she puts in a piece of egg carton or even a crumpled up tissue so the crickets have more space to go and don’t squish each other by standing on each others heads.  (We never said crickets were smart.)  Then she puts a slice of a tangerine or orange (leaving the rind on it) in the keeper for the crickets to drink and eat.  The rind helps keep the moisture of the orange seeping onto the egg carton or even on the floor of the cage.  It is amazing how fast those little crickets grow eating the orange.  She says you can practically see them get bigger by the second as they eat.  This is important because we should eat what is called gutloaded crickets.  Which basically means a cricket that has just eaten so much his belly is bulging.  After eating on that orange those crickets are definitely gutloaded.

Here are some pictures of the crickets eating.

10-23-07-cricket1.jpg

Well, we have to go now.  It’s time to EAT!

Kind Regards,

Brownie & Greenie

BrownieBrownie

Greenie showing fire-bellyGreenie – see my fire-belly?