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Poison Dart Frogs

You would think that a frog as brightly colored as these would draw attention to themselves making them more likely to be eaten but, as the name says, they are poisonous and can make predators sick merely by touching them. Some are so poisonous that, if you touch something that touched them, it can kill a fully grown human being. The locals touch the tips of their spears and blow gun darts to these frogs when they go hunting. Hence the name.

By the way, they make great pets.

I’m serious. A terrarium with a bunch of these guys is a sight to behold. But what about the poison?

The poison actually comes from their environment. The frog doesn’t produce it. If you take them out of their environment, it takes about three weeks for them to lose their poison. (I’d wait a month, just to be sure.) Of course if you accurately duplicate their natural environment, they retain their poison.

There are approximately 200 species of these frogs and they are found in Central America and South America where it borders Central America. Here are two of the species. They were on display at Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium in 2007.

Blue Poison Dart Frog (2007-08-14 10-22-55_01)

Blue Poison Dart Frog - Family Dendrobatidae : Dendrobates tinctorius "azureus"

Photo © 2007 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

"Yellow" Golden Poison Dart Frog (2007-08-14 10-23-30_01)

Golden Dart Frog - Family Dendrobatidae : Phyllobates terribilis

Photo © 2007 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

    • They were on display at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. It was a heavily planted tank so that it would be, as much as possible, like their natural environment. There wasn’t much room for them to jump.

      I suspect that, because of their natural defense, they don’t feel the need to expend the energy on fleeing. Usually brightly colored animals have other means of protecting themselves. That’s why they are not afraid to draw attention to themselves.



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Written by Gary J Sibio

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