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Dart Frog Care

Congratulations on welcoming a new frog to your family. We here at Four Seasons Animal Hospital want to help you with your new friend, starting with the basics...

History

Native to the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, tiny poison dart frogs secrete lipophilic alkaloid toxins through their skin. These toxins serve as a chemical defense against predation. Some native tribes are renowned for dipping arrow tips in the toxins from these frogs. These beautiful, active frogs are outgoing and diurnal, making excellent “look but don’t touch” pets. Many but not all specimens in the pet trade today are captive bred. Frogs bred for several generations in captivity fail to synthesize skin alkaloid toxins because of differences in diet. However all specimens should be considered to be wearing noxious alkaloids on their skin until demonstrated otherwise.

Color & Size

These vividly colored frogs are tiny, typically reaching 1.5 in (3.8 cm) in length. Adult poison frogs typically weigh between 2-6 grams. Life Span 7-15 years (Green and black poison frog, yellow and black poison frog) 2-8 years (Blue poison frog)

Diet

These small frogs have big appetites! Feed Poison frogs small insects like fruit flies, termites, aphids, and pinhead crickets. Dust foods for juveniles with a vitamin/mineral supplement twice weekly. Dust food items for adults once weekly.

Housing

Cage Size & Design

House one to four frogs in a heavily planted 20-gallon terrarium.

Cage Furniture

Provide plants and other visual barriers, as well as one or two tree limbs arranged diagonally. Provide low-intensity full-spectrum lighting for optimal absorption of dietary calcium. Dart frogs particularly enjoy commercially available huts made from coconut and bromeliads for climbing.

Temperature

Provide a temperature gradient of 72-80°F (22-27°C) during the day. At night the temperature may fall to 65-70°F (18-21°C). Do not use a radiant heat source as these tend to dry amphibian environments.

Humidity & Water

Strive for a relative humidity of 80-100%. Provide a shallow water dish and lightly mist the enclosure regularly. Between misting the substrate should remain damp, but not water logged.

Potential water sources include:

● Aged water: Allow chlorinated water to sit in an open container for 24-48 hours so chlorine can dissipate.

● Bottled spring water

● Filtered tap water: run through a sediment and activated charcoal filter

Handling

Amphibian skin is very sensitive so handle the poison frog as little as possible. Always wear gloves when handling your frog as oils or residue on your skin can harm your frog.

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