JOE ELBERT'S ZOO CLUES

What Was That Zoo Clues Photo Of? An Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad!


(Joe Elbert - For The Washington Post)

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Monday, June 1, 2009

And the Winner Is . . .

The animal in the photo published two weeks ago was the oriental fire-bellied toad. They are green with black-spotted warts and bright-red bellies. They live in eastern Asia in temperate forests. The red coloring warns would-be predators that this toad's skin is poisonous. The milky substance secreted by their skin irritates the mouth and eyes of attackers.

These toads are highly aquatic and spend the majority of their time in slow-moving streams and ponds. They hibernate in the winter, generally choosing rotting logs or leaf piles as their burrow from September to May.

Between April and August, oriental fire-bellied toads will mate, and the females will lay large clutches of eggs at a time. They deposit their eggs in the water, where they become attached to rocks and other objects.

The photo was correctly identified by Helen Hollingsworth of Oakton.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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