Oriental fire-bellied toad
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|Oriental fire-bellied toad|
|Oriental Fire-bellied Toad
The Oriental fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalis) is a small (4 cm, 2") semi-aquatic frog species found in Korea, north-eastern China and adjacent parts of Russia. An introduced population exists near Beijing. They are commonly kept as pets in land and water vivariums. The orientalis is also known as the tuti toad.
It may properly be referred to as a frog, despite its colloquial term "fire-bellied toad" in which it is named merely because of the tubercles on its back.
Oriental fire-bellied toads, species of Bombina, are typically a bright green with black mottling on their dorsal region, but their complexion may also darken to brown and even black depending on the scenery presented. Like other Bombina species, Bombina orientalis have a bright yellow to red (generally bright reddish-orange) ventral region mottled with dark brown to black. The skin on their dorsal side is covered in small tubercles, and although it is typically referred to as a toad, the fire-bellied toad is not a member of the true toad family (Bufonidae.) As such, it may properly be referred to as a frog, and is given the alias "fire-bellied toad" because of its obtaining of tubercles, similar to what is seen in the Bufonidae family.
They are noted for their bright green and black coloration on their backs, and orange and black on their underside. In the wild, B. orientalis eat various types of small aquatic arthropods (among other things) from which they obtain beta-Carotene, which aids in the coloration in the ventral region. These bright colors serve as a warning to predators of toxicity. The toxin is secreted through the skin mostly from the hind legs, and sometimes the belly, in a milky-like substance when the frog is disturbed or frightened. Not only will they emit this toxin, they will also lie on their back to show the color of their belly, indicating its toxicity to any predators.
Like other Bombina species, Bombina orientalis is semi-aquatic, inhabiting warm, humid forested regions. They spend most of their time on land.
Breeding takes place in the spring with the warming of the weather and increase in rain. Males call to the females with a light barking croak. They jump onto the back of any other fire-bellied toad that happens to pass by, often leading to male-male confusion, but rarely any sort of fighting. Females lay anywhere from 40 to 100 eggs in a large cluster, usually around submerged plants, near the water's edge. Tadpoles hatch from the eggs in 3–10 days depending on the temperature of the water. The larvae begin to develop legs in 6–8 weeks, and are fully metamorphosed and begin venturing on land in 12–14 weeks.
In the United States, B. orientalis is commonly kept as a pet. They are generally a hardy species that do well in captivity if given enough food and good water quality. They are commonly fed with small crickets dusted with a calcium powder. They can also be fed with other small insects such as earth worms. They should not be fed mealworms, as these larva possess hard shells which fire-bellied toads have a hard time digesting or passing.
Fire-bellied toads are usually fed live food. They only hunt prey which moves, ignoring any food item which is too slow or still. At times, they may even release prey that does not put up a strong enough fight. Some keepers have success by "hand" feeding food items, attaching pieces to a long piece of wood or straw and waving it in front of the frogs. Oriental fire-bellied toads can be trained to accept food in this manner.
While not the most toxic of amphibians, regular handling is not recommended (avoid if there are cuts in the skin) and hands should always be washed thoroughly immediately after touching the frog or cleaning the tank. Although harmless to the skin of most, if ingested it can cause discomfort. Because of their mild toxicity, oriental fire-bellied toads should not be kept with most other types of frog or amphibian.
When kept in captivity, it is important to provide adequate hiding places as Bombina orientalis need to feel a sense of security. While in water, they tend to spend the majority of their time basking neck-level (if they do not completely immerse themselves.) An ideal filter is a type of mini filter, as long as the outlet is blocked in some way ideally by a barrier of stones, it disperses the water better without creating a strong current.
Because members of the Bombina genus have short, round tongues that cannot be pushed out of the mouth, fire-bellied toads cannot spit out items that have been accidentally taken into the mouth. As a result, their enclosures must not include gravel of a size which may be accidentally ingested. Larger rocks, coconut fiber bedding or sand, may be used instead. An animal which swallows a piece of gravel it cannot pass will become impacted and will die unless it receives medical attention.
In captivity, oriental fire-bellied toads have lived for more than a dozen years, with 15 years being common. Some older reports document them as living up to 30 years.
Oriental fire-bellied toads should be kept in water, with some kind of land or island which allows them to periodically climb out of the water. These frogs are not strong swimmers and may (but rarely) drown in water that is too deep. An ideal enclosure has plenty of land and water-based hiding places, as well as a land-based location suitable for depositing live food. Fire-bellied toads have a sensitivity to chlorine and chloramine - tap water should be treated or allowed to stand for several days, to allow chlorine to dissipate, before adding it to their environment. Chloramine will not dissipate in this manner, so tap water treated with chloramine must be treated with a dechloramine agent (and then allowed to stand) before being added.
- Sergius Kuzmin, Li Pipeng, Masafumi Matsui, Vladimir Ishchenko, Irina Maslova (2004). "Bombina orientalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 3 November 2012. Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- Zoo Med Laboratory, Inc. (2012). "Bombina orientalis". Zoo Med. Retrieved 15 October 2013. States Bombina orientalis is actually a frog; line 1 char 20 of paragraph 1.
- http://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-Fire-Belly-Toads Care For Fire Belly Toads on WikiHow.
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