Most poison dart frogs have brightly colored skin which is used as a warning sign to predators. These frogs produce and excrete distinctive toxins through their skin. Although all frogs within the family Dendrobatidae are at least somewhat toxic in the wild, levels of toxicity vary considerably between species and populations. Some species are used by indigenous people to poison the tips of blow darts.
Lifespan from 5 to 10 years. Most species
reach maturity around 1 to 1.5 years of age.
Females lay eggs into the water, and the emerging tadpoles develop into the adult over the course of 6 to 10 weeks.
Poison dart frogs eat ants, termites and small beetles in the wild; at the museum we feed them house crickets and fruit flies.
There are 175 species of brilliantly-colored, 1 to 1.5 inch frogs native to Central and South American tropical rainforests. Their native habitat is shrinking and thus, poison dart frogs are at risk or threatened. We all have some effect on rainforest deforestation. A lot of beef cattle is raised for our markets on rainforest land that is cleared to make room for pastures. Tropical hardwoods are used for lumber and furniture. Education, and patronizing and supporting projects and products that foster sustainable use of the rain forest can help save the poison dart frog’s home.
In the Museum's Insectarium, a group of poison dart frogs lives in an exhibit that closely mimics their favorite places near bubbling water with hiding spots in bromeliads and under rocks.
Every day at 2:30 they line up around the center rock to get a meal of tiny crickets or fruit flies that appear to rain down on them from the skies.