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Poison dart frogs are carnivores. They will feed on spiders and various small insects including ants and termites.
These animals are active in the day (diurnal) and will hunt during this time using their excellent vision to find their prey, and capturing them using their long sticky tongues.
Green and black poison dart frogs are mostly found on the forest floor in tropical rainforests in Central & South America. This habitat is ideal as the humidity is high which allows their skin to stay damp and moist; the conditions of the rainforest also aid their reproduction cycle.
Green and black poison dart frogs can breed from 6-15 months old with breeding usually occuring at the same time as the rainy season, from mid-July to mid-September.
After an elaborate courtship display, females lay eggs in a safe area on land or on a leaf. The eggs are fertilised and cared for by the male. As the tadpoles hatch out of the eggs, the male will encourage them on to his back. The male will carry up to 2 tadpoles at a time to small pools of collected rain water within plants, puddles and logs. Once they have been relocated to individual pools, all parental care stops.
The tadpoles will stay in these relocated areas for a few months, feeding on algae and insects that have fallen in to the water, until they develop in to frogs and are able to leave.
The only known predator of most of the poison dart frog family is the fire-bellied snake (Leimadophis epinephelus), which has developed a resistance to frog’s poison.
The bright colours of poison dart frogs act as a warning to other animals that they are harmful to eat; any animal that has tried to eat a poison frog will soon release it, and then associate the colourings with a bad taste. The toxins produced in the skin of poison dart frogs are made using nutrients within their wild diet (mostly from ants and termites).
All species of poison dart frogs are facing an uncertain future, due to the destruction of tropical rainforests from an increasing demand in land for agriculture, timber and human settlements. In addition, poison frogs are also becoming increasingly popular as pets, even though they can be bred in captivity, but many are still taken from the wild.
These animals are often found within protected reserves in South America, and they are also found within many captive breeding projects to help preserve the species.
Status Least concern
Size Up to 50mm in length. Males tend to be smaller and thinner than females.
Weight Up to 28g
Gestation 3-4 weeks
Young 2 – 12, average of 6
Life span unknown in the wild, up to 10- 15 years in captivity
Over 100 species of poison frogs have been discovered.
Poison dart frogs are also known as poison arrow frogs. This name derives from Amerindian tribes using their toxic secretions on darts and arrow heads for hunting.
Only three species of poison dart frogs are dangerous to humans; the most deadly is the “golden poison arrow frog”.
The oldest green and black poison dart frog on record was 20 years old.