Bombinatoridae – Fire-bellied toads

Toads native to Eurasia, characterized with flattened bodies. Some species are highly toxic!

When faced with danger, these amphibians have a rather fascinating trick up their sleeves. Instead of a typical defensive posture, they have a habit that’s truly eye-catching – they lift themselves up on their front legs, sometimes even teetering to the point of nearly flipping over. This curious behavior reveals a surprising feature – their bright orange-colored underside, which gives them their common name.

These amphibians are undeniably water-loving creatures with a strong affinity for slow-moving streams and peaceful ponds. Their streamlined bodies and webbed toes make them adept swimmers, but interestingly, they don’t shy away from dry land. When on terra firma, they tend to seek out areas adorned with lush vegetation.

Despite their love for water, these frogs are active during the day and tend to be rather shy, often preferring to stay out of sight. However, their striking and vibrant colors can make it a bit challenging for them to blend into their surroundings and remain hidden.

Their unique defensive display sets them apart and gives them their name – that burst of bright orange when they feel threatened. This vibrant exhibition is more than just a show; it’s a warning signal. These frogs have specialized skin glands that secrete toxins, making them unappealing to potential predators. So, their vivid colors act as a natural deterrent, benefiting both the frogs and the ecosystem they call home.

Beyond their role as potential prey, these frogs play a significant part in their ecosystem by helping to control insect populations. They are opportunistic eaters, feasting on a variety of small invertebrates, which helps maintain the balance of their delicate habitats.