Fire-Bellied Toads take after their name

Alyssa Landau Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Alyssa Landau
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

If there is one reptile that I find incredibly entertaining, it is the fire-bellied toad. Not only do they have a bright shade of red on their bellies, they are just goofballs. They have the most unique personalities that I have seen.

They are not warm towards humans, but they are not mean. They merely accept your presence near them and hope you drop a pile of crickets for them to eat. I have spent so many days trying to keep their water dishes as pristine as they can be, but these toads love the water and their enclosures are filled with dirt. So you can only imagine what that water looks like within a couple minutes!

Needless to say, these toads are so fun to watch and when they start croaking, it is an experience for the ear to hear! But what is required to take one of these little guys home? What do they need and what do they eat? Can they just sit in a shoebox with some dirt and that can suffice? Well, let’s find out!

  • Diet – It is truly comical to watch these toads eat crickets. They try to act stealthy, but the cricket will see them and jump in the air and the toad will jump too – and completely miss them and get a mouthful of dirt instead. Also, it is not uncommon to see these toads miss a cricket entirely and, instead, latch onto the skin of another toad. For some reason, these reptiles don’t grasp the idea that they are biting onto their friend’s skin for quite a few long moments of wrestling and jumping.

These guys, however, do enjoy crickets and mostly munch on these insects. It is best to feed them three to four crickets per day, depending on their size. But, they also eat waxworms, mealworms, earthworms – you get the point – basically they will try to pounce on any insect that moves.

Tip: It is way more fun to have more than one toad (both the same size), so they can socialize and keep each other company!

  • Behavior and Size: These toads take after their names! They are fiery! They are always jumping around, searching and scouting for a stray insect that might have evaded their clutches from their last mealtime. It is best to keep toads of the same size together, as some might begin to pick on the smaller ones.

As for their size, they get no larger than three inches – and that is even pushing it. The fact that they stay small is always a plus, especially if you want to add more than one within the tank. They also eat less because of their size, which allows the owner to spend more money on the décor if preferred.

  • Housing: These toads are what you’d call “semi-aquatic;” which is a fancy term meaning they like to be both in and out of the water. It is critical for the owner of a fire-bellied toad to have a large water dish and a substantial amount of dirt for them to live on. Moss is also preferred and nice for the toads to jump on and hide under if they feel threatened.

If you want egg-laying females to have young, it is best to place live plants around the enclosure. That helps to offer more hiding and add intrigue to the area. As for the water dish mentioned above, it is best to not completely fill it as these toads, upon observation, like to sit in the water with their heads poking out instead of submerging inside the water.

Heating is not needed if the room is kept at a fair 73º F. The moss will allow humidity to stay within the tank and let the toads, which are very tolerate to temperature drops, the option to get under the moss for some humidity. As for lighting, a simple fluorescent bulb is adequate.

Tip: Make sure you use water conditioner to remove any heavy metals and chlorine from tap water when you are changing their water!

It has been noted that these toads can live up to 10 years and are very easy to take care of, so these reptiles are perfect for a first time reptile enthusiast! Remember, it is always best to do research on your own before buying any animal. I hope you have fun with these little toads and enjoy listening to them croak, jump for crickets and dive into the water.


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Donna Ritchie