Temperatures in this zone should be maintained around 80-84f during the day, with a nigh time drop to around 70-74f at night.
These temperatures are required to ensure digestion is done at the correct speed, and helps to avoid disease as well as induce breeding. General temperatures within the enclosure are best kept around 72f and should never fall below 58f. This can be achieved through a submersible water heater (as used for tropical fish) though this must be protected with a guard, and ideally an under tank heating pad (as used for many herptiles) which can be placed in the same size of the enclosure as the basking spot.Be sure however to use a pad no more than 1/3 of the length of the enclosure to allow the toads to retreat to cooler parts when they need to. (All herptiles are ecto-therms, therefore they are unable to regulate their own body temps and are reliant on the ambient temperature provided). Regardless as to what method of heating is used, all heating implements should be connected to thermostats to ensure that temperatures remain stable regardless to the conditions outside the enclosure.An external aquarium filter can be used to keep the water as free from mess as possible.
Usually it is the water section of the enclosure in which the toads will defecate. However the water will still require thorough changing every three to four weeks, with a complete cleanout and disinfection of the tank every six. Replacement water can be from a tap, or ideally from a reverse osmosis system (or similar) or rainwater collected in a water b ucket. Any water used should be clean, and if tap water is used it should be allowed to stand for twenty-four hours before use to allow chlorine and other harmful components to dissipate.Inside the enclosure a variety of plants and hides should be added.
Terrestrial plants include mosses and certain ferns. Water plants should also be used to provide hiding areas in the aquatic section, suitable plants include water hyacinth and Amazon sword. Terrestrial hides can be from flowerpots or driftwood. Though be careful to use items such as plastic tubing, which can excrete chemicals into the toads through their skin and result in death.A variety of substrates can be used, including peat, gravel and expanded clay granules (hydroton). The first is naturalistic, and plants can grow in it, but can be rather messy and harbour all kinds of pathogens, which could harm your toad. The second is also quite naturalistic, is likely to contain pathogens, but must be large enough to insure it is not swallowed accidentally during feeding.
Hydroton is a newer material used for growing hydroponic plants. It is inorganic, cheap, can be cleaned easily but doesn’t look so natural. Choice is a compromise and can only be made by the individual.If plants are to be used in the enclosure, then a light is needed to ensure they grow healthily. Decaying plant matter reduces water quality and is not good for the health of your toads. Suitable lights can be purchased from aquarists, and must be matched to the light intensity required by your plants.
All lights must be turned off at night allowing for a 16-hour photoperiod, giving the toads a chance to rest. Viewing can be achieved during this time however by using a low wattage red light of no more than 20 watts. Adequate ventilation is mandatory and is best achieved through large areas of mesh at the top of the terrarium.
Adequate ventilation reduces disease and promotes vigor in both plants and toads.Captive CareFeeding B. bombina, as with the majority of amphibian species, is a wholly carnivorous animal in its adult form (feeding of larvae is discussed in the section entitled breeding). In order to ensure the captive is fed a suitable diet, one must look upon what that animal eats in the wild. B. bombina along with many other toads consumes a diet that consists solely of invertebrates. While other toads may take small vertebrates such as mice B. bombina is restricted in its diet by its small stature, though characteristic of many toads this does not mean that it won’t consume or attempt to consume anything it feels it can fit in its proportionally large mouth.
The key to a good, balanced, nutritional intake is achieved through offering the captive a varied diet. The keeper may choose to offer industrially raised invertebrates such as crickets, mealworms and other frequently offered prey items, and he may otherwise choose to offer wild caught invertebrates or a combination of the two. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages; wild caught food is usually of a better nutritional value due to the range of feedstuffs and the frequency of feeding. It also offers the keeper to offer a greater variety of prey items than can be found from most herpetological suppliers.A variety of invertebrates can be captured simply by running a butterfly net or similar through an area of grassland, prey items which the keeper may offer include but are not exclusive to: butterflies, caterpillars, worms, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, spiders slugs, snails and flies. Worms can be collected quickly and easily by placing a wet towel over a bed of leaves in an area of garden, the towel can usually be taken off the following day to reveal a host of wriggling foodstuffs suitable to feed your animal.However care must be taken to recognise caught species absolutely, as many prey species may prove detrimental to the toads health, this includes wasps, certain caterpillars, heavily armoured beetles and certain other predatory or defensive insects.
Care should also be taken when selecting a collection site, the area should be known not to have been treated with any pesticides, fertilisers or other chemicals which could latter prove detrimental or even fatal to your toad. Nor should any prey items be collected from along roadsides where traffic exhaust fumes can contaminate the population which will in turn prove harmful to the health of your toad. Additionally many areas may forbid the collection of wild invertebrates.If a suitable collection site cannot be found or time or other factors decide against collecting prey items from the wild then food items can be bought from outlets which specialise in feeding herptiles or insectivorous birds. Most stockist can usually supply crickets (usually house and field varieties, though the latter can be rather pleasant or annoying depending on ones appreciation of it frequent chirping), locusts, mealworms, buffalo worms, wax worms (none of which are true worms) and maggots, though again ensuring a variety of foodstuffs is offered is of vital importance.
Maggots are a rarely used food item, due to their nature of harbouring disease, as a general rule only ever feed maggots, which are free of black areas or spots.If the keeper should desire to feed bought prey items it is advisable to ‘gut load’ them first. This simply means that prey items should be offered a good quality feed of vegetables, fruit and fish flakes and/or rodent feed where applicable (the latter two are most suitable feed for crickets and the like). Gut loading insures that nutrients are absorbed by the prey items and therefore passed onto to ones captives upon feeding. It may also be necessary to occasionally dust the feed items with a supplement such as reptivite to ensure certain nutrients often lacking in captive breed feed items are absorbed by the toad upon feeding.Regardless as to which collection method one uses no prey item should be offered to the toad which is greater in size than half the animals head. This is done to ensure the prey item can be tackled and swallowed without to much difficulty. Toads are renowned for their appetite and have been known to suffocate from trying to swallow prey which is still alive and/or blocking their trachea.
Due to the heavily aquatic nature of B.bombina the enthusiast may wish to offer aquatic prey stuffs. These may be collected from the wild as stated before (though be careful not to offer aggressive species such as dragonfly larvae and certain species of aquatic beetle), or alternatively many live foods can be bought from aquarists, these may include daphnia (the water flea), bloodworms tubifix worms, and brine shrimp.
Frozen packs of such animals as well as beef heart and other various combinations may also be offered as a supplement to the usual diet and are usually accepted readily.Feed items are best entered into the aquatic section of the enclosure, and this is best done by adding a few in any one time, allowing the toads to eat what has been presented before adding more. This insures cleanliness of the water, and avoids prey items destroying parts of the enclosure. Food items should be offered on every other day, the amount of which will have to be determined through a little trial and error. B.
bombina will most often devour everything which it is offered, and it should be remembered that overfeeding is as detrimental to the toads health as much as underfeeding, and feeding should be reduced if the animal becomes visibly over weight and/or lethargic.Water does not have to be provided in a separate container, and it is unlikely that one will ever witness their toad drink, as all amphibians have the ability to soak water through their skin, and this can be achieved in the water section of the aqua-terrarium. Handling In general it is unadvisable to handle the toad(s) unless absolutely necessary for purchase, cleaning, sexing transporting or obligatory health observation.
Most if not all amphibians dislike handling and furthermore the salt content of the keepers sweat can prove dangerous, even lethal if the animal is exposed to it for extended periods. Signs of discomfort include wriggling, defecation and playing dead.B.bombina can also secrete a toxin from its glands, which can prove to be an irritant, especially if the handler then touches his eyes or mouth. It is therefore advisable to handle the animal as infrequently as possible, and when doing so I would advise the use of a pair of latex gloves which can be disposed of after use. Capture of small toads can be achieved through use of a suitably sized net, as used for fish; this may prove especially useful when the animal is within the aquatic section of its enclosure.
Toads may prove a little difficult to restrain due to their moist and wriggly nature. Smaller toads can be restrained by holding carefully (but firmly) between the thumb and curved index finger. Larger toads can be restrained by holding between the thumb, index and third finger with the thumb pressed against the left of the head when restraining with the right hand (the opposite applies when using the left hand).The toads are best transported on days when temperatures are not at their extremities. Especially too hot which can literally cook the toads.
The most suitable container would be a small plastic tub or similar, with a securely fitting lid and adequate ventilation holes. In order to retain humidity a little damp sphagnum moss should be added to the tub. This is in preference to newspaper or other materials, which could poison the toad through secreting ink or other nasty liquids through its skin.
The box should certainly be protected from the sun through use of a cloth or some other external packaging.The route home must be as direct or rapid as possible, certainly it is out of the question to detour to do shopping or see a friend etc. It must be remembered that transportation is not something amphibians fare well to and must be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Breeding Obviously before breeding can even be attempted, toads of both sexes are required. This is not as easy as it sounds however as sexual dimorphism is not evidently apparent.When comparing toads or roughly the same age and/or size the male may be recognised by his proportionally larger head, or the female may be noticed by her proportionally longer legs. A more certain way of sexing is to watch for vocal activity (usually around dusk), as only males have the ability to croak.
However if a croaking individual isn’t found, and the minuscule differences in morphology aren’t apparent then the best sexing method is probably observation upon breeding, though if this doesn’t occur then it may prove a good idea to make a few additions/substitutions to the collection.In the wild breeding will occur during the summer months from May to September. This allows for the development of tadpoles before the coldest autumn months when suitable plant matter is in short supply. The females will be approached by a male and grasped from behind. Up to three hundred eggs are laid, usually dispersed in groups of around one hundred.
The eggs take around two months to hatch, and the developed toads reach sexual maturity after about three years.To breed toads in captivity it is advisable to recreate influences that the toads would normally receive in the wild. An increase in photoperiod, temperature and light intensity are all factors which dupe the toad into believing the summer months are approaching, enabling the shrewd keeper to induce breeding all year round. These should be altered to the temperatures the toad experiences in its natural habitat; the author has known this to be mimicked by watching the world weather on television, which also allows for some inconsistencies in an otherwise uniform artificial climate.The use of a loop tape is another ace the keeper can play.
Loop tapes are simply a recording of B.bombina performing its mating call. These creatures are highly sociable in the wild, in numbers most keepers will not have suitable accommodation for and therefore often will only recreate through such artificial methods. The diagram above shows a suggestive breeding enclosure. However if all of the collection are to be cycled for breeding then there is no reason why the original enclosure couldn’t be used.Before breeding can be attempted it is advisable to winter cycle the toads. This is achieved through manipulating their environment. As autumn approaches and the days draw shorter, this should be mimicked within the enclosure.
Any lighting can be controlled through use of a simple timer attached to the plug. It is quite acceptable in the U.K. to mimic our own natural photoperiod, as it is close enough to B.
bombinas to fool them. In addition to this there should be a gradual but steady temperature drop a drop in both ambient and water temperature by about 1-2 degrees C each week should suffice. The resultant temperature should be between four and seven degrees C.