Josh's Frogs

Memorial Day Sale
HomeAny CategoryLive AnimalsFrogsToadsBumblebee Toad - Melanophryniscus klappenbachi (Captive Bred)

Bumblebee Toad - Melanophryniscus klappenbachi (Captive Bred)

Sold Out


5.0 out of 5 stars


About This Product

Defining Characteristics:

  • Great Beginner Toad
  • Contrasting Black and Yellow Coloration
  • Bold
  • Easy to Keep
  • Moderate Trilling Call
  • Small
  • Can be Kept in Groups
  • Challenging to Breed

Name: Bumblebee Toads have several common names, including Bumblebee Walking Toads, Paraguay Walking Toads, Yellow and Black Walking Toads, and Redbelly Toads (which appears to be the common name most used by field researchers). In fact, we’re not 100% sure of the species in the US pet trade. Traditionally labeled as Melanophryniscus stelzneri (first described by Weyenbergh in 1875), Bumblebee Toads may very well be Melanophryniscus klappenbachi (described by Prigioni and Langone in 2000). UPDATE : After careful review, we've determined the bumblebee toads present in the US hobby are Melanophryniscus klappenbachi, and not M. stelzneri as they were imported as. The taxonomic history of bumblebee toads in the scientific literature is as follows:

Phryniscus stelzneri (Weyenbergh 1875)
Atelopus stelzneri (Boulenger 1894)
Bufo stelzneri (Noble 1922)
Dendrophryniscus stelzneri (Noble 1926)
Melanophryniscus stelzneri stelzneri (Gallardo 1961)
Melanophryniscus klappenbachi (Prigioni and Langone 2000)

Recommended Vivarium Size: Housing bumblebee toads can be very simple. These anurans do not require much space, as they really will not utilize it. Something the size of a large critter keeper can house 1-2 adults, while a 10 gallon could house 4-6 bumblebee toads. Bumblebee toads seem to be completely passive towards each other, and do great in groups. Ventilation is a must, as these toads will not tolerate high humidity for very long. A screen top will help provide this. Substrate recommendations vary considerably, but ground coconut fiber works well for Josh’s Frogs. Alternatively, you can set up a vivarium using Josh’s Frogs naturalistic vivarium substrates, similar to keeping dart frogs. Provide items for your bumblebee toads to hide under, such as a cork bark flat or leaf litter. The bumblebee toads will spend much of the time hiding under such objects. A shallow water bowl should be provided, as well. Bumblebee toads are not known for their climbing abilities, but they will appreciate a small bit of vivarium wood or live terrarium plants to climb on. Lighting is for any live plants provided, and not required by bumblebee toads. There is no evidence that bumblebee toads benefit from UVB lighting, but a low level UV bulb, such as a 2.0 UVB bulb, may be beneficial. If you'd like to keep housing bumblebee toads simple, check out the Josh's Frogs Bumblebee Toad Complete Care Kit.

Temperature: They can tolerate temperatures from 40F to over 90F, but ideally are kept at about room temperature, in the low 70s.

Humidity: In the wild, precipitation and humidity fluctuates widely based on season. Bumblebee toads can handle a wide range of humidity levels, but cannot tolerate a humidity level over 70% or so indefinitely – this has done many a bumblebee toad in. Aim for a humidity level of 50-60%. Routine spraying and a full screen top will aid in providing proper humidity levels.

Size: Adult bumblebee toads are not very large, and there is a drastic size different between males and females. An adult male may reach about 1 inch, but most will be closer to 3/4 of an inch. A large female will be much larger and bulkier than a male, and may measure up to 1.5”. All of the Bumblebee Toad toadlets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately .75” long.

Age: There is not any good data surrounding the average lifespan of bumblebee toads, but wild caught animals have lived in captivity for 10 or more years. All Bumblebee Toads for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.

Feeding: Bumblebee toads are microphagus, meaning that they consume small food items. Reportedly, a large portion of the diet of a wild bumblebee toad is termites. Fortunately, bumblebee toads do quite well on other, more easily procured prey items in captivity. At Josh’s Frogs, we feed our adult bumblebee toads primarily hydei fruit flies, as well as springtails, isopods, extra small phoenix worms, and 1/8 inch crickets. Young bumblebee toads start life feeding on baby springtails. At the size Josh’s Frogs sells captive bred bumblebee toads, they are eating melanogaster fruit flies. All prey items should be dusted with a quality vitamin/mineral supplement.

Sexing: Sexing adult bumblebee toads is quite easy. Once the toads are about 10-12 months old, they display obvious sexual dimorphism. Females are about 1/5-2 times larger then males, and much more rotund. Males are smaller, more slender, and typically call when kept in a wet or more humid environment. A bumblebee toad’s call resembles that of a canary, and is very melodious.

Color/Pattern: All bumblebee toads are primarily black with yellow patches. The amount and size of these yellow patches can vary widely, as can the intensity of the yellow coloration. Some older animals appear almost white and black. All wild caught bumblebee toads have red to orange/red coloration on the bottom of their feet and rump. So far, we have been unable to replicate this coloration in captive bred individuals, but are currently trying some new tadpole foods in an attempt to provide captive bred bumblebee toads with the full color palette of wild caught individuals.

Social Behavior: These toads seem to be completely passive towards each other, and do great in groups.

Breeding: Captive breeding of bumblebee toads has been largely unsuccessful until recently. True, there have been several instances of bumblebee toads breeding, but it has largely resulted in very few offspring being produced. Most of the time, I think this was due to a small number of older animals being utilized in a breeding program, as breeding was not attempted much until after the toads ceased being imported, and adult bumblebee toads were difficult to find. For more information on breeding Bumblebee Toads, please view our Care Sheet.

Natural Range: The Bumblebee Toads currently in the hobby all originate from Paraguay, although the species occurs additionally in Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. Habitat description in Paraguay is lacking, but some report bumblebee toads inhabit the Pampas, a hilly grassland that stretches from southern Brazil to northern Argentina. The Pampas grasslands are drier and cooler than rainforest, and experience both temperature and precipitation differences in different seasons. Summer temperatures range from 75-90F, while winter temps range from 40F-60F. Come spring, bumblebee toads travel to small, possibly temporary bodies of water (aka vernal ponds) to reproduce. The resulting sudden population explosion is taken advantage of by collectors – most wild caught bumblebee toads are collected as they cross roads, and are typically not quite sexually mature. It is believed that wild bumblebee toads take 1-2 years to reach sexual maturity. Reportedly, bumblebee toads live in the hills at 500 to 1000 meters above sea level, and may take advantage of humid microclimates that are created under tufts of pampas grass. Termites are often cited as the primary food source of bumblebee toads in the wild. In the wild, bumblebee toad population are stable, and considered a species of least concern due to their widespread habitat and strong population numbers. Bumblebee toads are very adaptable in their breeding habits, and has adapted well to human encroachment on it’s habitat in the wild. Bumblebee toads are explosive breeders, producing hundreds of eggs in a single clutch. In many places, bumblebee toads frequently breed in rice paddies or roadside ditches.

History of Bumblebee Toads in the Hobby: Bumblebee toads have an unfortunately dismal track record in the US pet trade. Several times, typically many years apart, bumblebee toads are available as wild caught imports cheaply and in huge numbers. Thus, they were often viewed and sold as curiosities to keepers unfamiliar with their care needs, and viewed as disposable pets. Similar in appearance to dart frogs, bumblebee toads are often kept like dart frogs. Even though they do have many similar characteristics, such as a microphagus eating habit (they require small foods) and aposematic (warning) coloration), bumblebee toads kept at the same high humidity as dart frogs are doomed. As a result, availability of bumblebee toads declined drastically as soon as imports stopped. Within a year or so after importation ended in the early 2000s, prices skyrocketed from about $10ea to well over $200.
When bumblebee toads are cheaply and wildly available as wild caught imports, few if any people attempt to breed them in captivity. These frogs, while not impossible to breed, are certainly not easy. An understanding of their natural history, as well as mastery of culturing small prey items, are required to be successful. Fortunately, the staff at Josh’s Frogs has long ago mastered the culturing of microfoods, such as springtails and fruit flies. A strong scientific background has also allowed us to sufficiently research the genus Melanophryniscus to an extent not formerly replicated in the pet trade, allowing Josh’s Frogs to successfully raise bumble bee toads through their entire life cycle, and in large numbers.

Links of Interest:

  • The Frog Forum – a good, basic care sheet written by one of the earlier keepers of bumblebee toads in the US, Seth Doty.
  • – another good, basic care sheet on bumblebee toads by Chris Dodson.
  • RepticZone – another basic care sheet on bumblebee toads.
  • – a good read about bumblebee toads, posted on the largest internet frog forum.
  • Wikipedia – an article on the genus Melanophryniscus, which bumblebee toads are a member of.
  • American Museum of Natural History – good taxonomic and natural history information about bumblebee toads.
  • Berkeley MapMaker – a map of the native range of bumblebee toads.
  • AmphibiaWeb – more information concerning the natural history of bumblebee toads.

Still not sure if Melanophryniscus stelzneri from Josh's Frogs are the right pet frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying! Then, make sure to check out our more in depth Bumblebee Toad Care Sheet!


After placing an order containing a live animal, you will receive a scheduling email containing our JotForm scheduling link to schedule your new pet's delivery date.

With this scheduling link, you will be able to schedule your order's delivery up to 30 days in advance. You will be able to choose a date of delivery for Tuesday-Saturday (Saturday arrival depends on the carrier's service availability) with the estimated time of arrival generally being 12pm, or 4:30pm for more rural areas. Overnight lows must be above 40°F to ship directly to you (or above 30°F for FedEx Ship Center pickups) as well as below 90°F by estimated time of arrival.

If you require further assistance, or prefer to talk to one of our Customer Service agents, please feel free to reach out to our [email protected] email or our phone line 1-800-691-8178.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

Based on 1 review

Review data

5 star reviews


4 star reviews


3 star reviews


2 star reviews


1 star reviews




5.0 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Precious!

These two little toads arrived on time and are in great shape! They are both alert and well fed. I could not be happier with my purchase!

Showing 1 to 1 of 1 results