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Poison Dart Frog

  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Dendrobatidae
  • Genus: Dendrobates
Fun Fact

Poison dart frogs get their name because indigenous people would use their toxic secretions on the tips of blow darts.

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    About Poison Dart Frogs

    This species of poison dart frog has many color variants. Most of them are black with either green or light blue spots or bands. Adults, as is true of most frogs, have a fused head and trunk with no tail. Tadpoles use gills to breath, whereas adults use lungs.

    Poison dart frogs are diurnal, and are rarely still during the day. They are constantly searching for food and taking care of young with distinctive hopping motions. They are solitary and territorial animals. Territorial disputes can lead to aggressive behavior including belly-to-belly grasps and a sporadic buzzing call.

    These frogs have poison glands located throughout the surface of their body. Their bright colors are believed to encourage predators with color vision to avoid the frogs. The poison affects the nervous system and muscles, causing paralysis and eventual respiratory failure. It is potent enough to immobilize an animal as large as a monkey. Not all poison dart frogs have poison at this level of toxicity. It is thought that the toxicity comes from food sources in the wild, because when kept in captivity they generally are not toxic.

    Poison Dart Frogs in the Wild


    Adults are found on the floor of rainforests. They prefer locations near water sources where the tadpoles live.


    They were originally distributed in Central and South America from Nicaragua to Costa Rica to southeastern Brazil and Bolivia. Today, they are also found on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.


    This species of amphibians eat spiders and small insects such as ants and termites. They locate their prey using excellent vision and capture prey with their long sticky tongue.

    Population Status

    Poison dart frogs are not listed as endangered. However, they are listed as a “threatened” species. This status is due to the fast decline of their natural habitat. They are also becoming a popular species in the pet trade because of their attractive colors and their ability to adapt.

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