Frog of the Week

European Fire Bellied Toad (Bombina bombina)

European Fire bellied Toad
Image by  Marek Szczepanek

Common Name: European Fire Bellied Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina bombina
Family: Bombinatoridae
Location:  Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine
Size: 2.3 inches (60 mm)

The European Fire Bellied Toad is a poisonous species of toad that is found throughout Europe and into Asia. It creates toxins that many animals do not want to eat. To show off that they are poisonous to predators, the toad performs the unkenreflex. The toad arches its stomach at the predator, showing its bright red stomach.

photo by Maciej Bonk

The toad possess triangular or heart shaped eyes. Not many frogs or toads have this shaped eyes.

Breeding happens from April to the end of summer, generally following heavy rain fall. The males call from the surface of water bodies in hope of attracting a female. Once the female arrives, the males grabs her around the waist in the amplexus position. He holds on until she finishes laying her eggs. The female lays between 80 to 300 eggs. Then, the male fertilize them. Neither of the parents will perform any parental care. It will take between 2 to 2.5 months for the tadpoles to complete their metamorphism.

Before the winter hits, the toad will have to hibernate in the northern parts of their range. The toads have to escape the cold or they will die. They either hibernate at the bottom of water bodies or in fallen logs on land.

European Fire Bellied Toad Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The European Fire Bellied Toad has a large range stretching from Germany to Russia and down to Turkey and Greece. In the western parts of the range, the toad is disappearing. The destruction of wetlands that they call home is the cause. Better protections for wetlands are needed to protect the species.

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