Oriental Fire Bellied Toad hiding in aquatic green plant

Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Oriental fire-bellied toad, fire-bellied toad
Genus Species
Bombina orientalis (from the Orient)

Fast Facts

The toad's dull brown to bright green back is usually dotted with black spots. Its belly is red or orange-red. It has a small round head and large eyes with heart-shaped pupils.
Male: Males can be distinguished from females by their generally rougher backs and thicker forearms.
3.8 to 6.3 cm (1.5 to 2.5 in.)
28 to 56 g (1 to 2 oz.)
Consists mainly of small insects, worms and mollusks
A drop in temperature signals the toads that it is time to breed. Tadpoles hatch 3–6 days after the eggs are laid.
Clutch Size
Females lay approximately 40–70 eggs, attached to submersed plants, rocks, or sticks.
Larval Duration
After approximately one month, the tadpoles begin to crawl out of the water.
Sexual Maturity
5 years
Life Span
Average lifespan up to 20 years, may live as long as 30 years
Native to South-eastern Siberia, North-eastern China, and Korea
Inhabits mountain lakes and ponds from 1,700–3,000 m (5,300–10,000 ft.) above sea level. The toad is aquatic throughout the spring and summer, and then buries itself in soft ground for winter, emerging at the first signs of warm weather in the spring.
Global: Unknown 
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Frogs are exothermic (cold-blooded) amphibians. Amphibian means "both lives", meaning living both on land and in water. In order to live in both environments, frogs must go through metamorphosis. When the frog is a tadpole, it lives in water. Later, the tadpole's gills change into lungs. It also grows feet and its tail shrinks.
  2. In general, frogs have smooth skin while toads have textured skin.
  3. The Oriental fire-bellied toad moves about very little during the day, except to hunt for food. 
  4. 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). 
  5. Oriental fire-bellied toads have a plaintive, melodious croak that sounds like a clinking bell.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, humans get warts from human viruses, not from frogs and toads! Frogs and toads have various glands, which secrete poisons for protection. These secretions can cause skin irritations and may be poisonous to some species of animals.

Ecology and Conservation

Like all amphibians, fire-bellied toads have porous skin and respond quickly to changes in the environment. The health of their populations can be an indicator of the health of the environment.

These toads are extremely popular in the pet trade and generally easy to keep; however, a serious threat facing wild populations is the intentional release and accidental escapes of non-native wildlife, such as fire-bellied toads.


Mattison, C. 1987. Frogs & Toads of the World. Blandford Press, Poole, New York, Sydney. 191 pp.

Duellman and Trueb. Biology of the Amphibians. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1986.

Stebins and Cohen. A Natural History of Amphibians. 1995. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.