Name (Scientific Name): Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina orientalis)

Range and Habitat: As you would probably expect, Oriental Fire-bellied toads live in and around ponds and other moist, inland areas. As their name suggests, they live in East Asia, especially China and Korea.

Description: Fire-bellied Toads are easy to recognize. They can be distinguished by their green or brown dorsal side and their orange or red ventral side (hence the name, "fire-bellied"). Both sides of their bodies are covered with black spots. These toads can grow to be as long as 2 3/8 in. (6 cm).
It's almost impossible to tell the difference between males and females. Sometimes it's even hard for the toads to tell the difference. But, there are ways to tell the difference. First of all, males tend to have rougher skin on their backs. Second, the forearms of the male are thicker than those of the female. Third, only the males croak. Croaking is mostly used during mating season.

Diet: I can sum this up in one word: BUGS! The diet of a Fire-bellied Toad consists mostly of small insects.

Predators: While swimming lazily through the pond, Fire-bellied toads have to watch out for birds and larger pond-dwellers.

Lifespan: Fire-bellied toads can live for up to 30 years.


Breeding and Reproduction: When the toads are ready to reproduce, the males start croaking in order to attract a female. When the male finds himself a female, he climbs on her back and fertilizes her eggs. Sometimes the male will accidentally hop onto another male, and will be "told" to get off. Aren't you glad we don't make that mistake. After fertilization, the female lays between 40 and 70 eggs at one time. The eggs hatch after 8 days.

By the way: The toads mainly use their skin color for protection. Their green side helps them to blend in with their surroundings. If the toad is caught in the open, it flips onto its back and shows its red belly to the predator, warning the predator that it's poisonous. As you've probably guessed, the fire-bellied toad spends most its time in the water. However, before winter, it will usually burrow into the mud and hibernate for the winter.

References: General Information about Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads. http://john.christian.home.mindspring.com/toads-general.html. 11/13/01.

Chinese Firebellied Toad (Bombina orientalis). http://www.sonic.net/-melissk/bombina.html. 11/10/01.

Utah's Hogle Zoo: Oriental Fire-bellied toad. http://www.xmission.com/-hoglezoo/reptiles/fbtoad.html. 11/10/01.