Poison Dart Frogs, Mantellas, etc.

genera Dendrobates, Phyllobates, Epipedobates, Mantella

This picture was sent to me by my froggy friend, Martin.
Poison Arrow Frogs
From left to right:
Dendrobates auratus (Green & Black Poison Frog), Dendrobates pumilio (Strawberry Poison Frog), and Phyllobates vittatus (Golfodulcean Poison Frog)

little, colorful frogs.
These frogs tend to live in warm humid habitats. See notes below on "pet care".
small insects - fruit flies, newborn cricket, meadow plankton

Most of the really small colorful frogs are poisonous in the wild. But these frogs tend to lose a lot, if not all, of their toxicity when bred in captivity (even if they were originally caught in the wild!). This is largly due to the lack of variety that these critters would normally be getting in their diet in the wild. A huge amount of their toxicity is because of an ant that they eat in the wild which no sane pet owner gives them in captivity.
Despite it's label as the most poisonous of frogs, even the bright yellow p. terriblis isn't so poisonous that a human could die by just touching it in the wild.
The poison cannot permeate our skin.
If, on the other hand, there is a cut on the skin, however, before you have time to say 'oops that frog is poisonous' you're a goner, at least in the case of p. terriblis! Same goes for if you forget after playing with this pretty frog and accidentally put your hand in your mouth!
Some tribes in rainforests dip their arrows in frog poison to make them deadly weapons. That's probably where "poison dart frogs" got their common name...
Not all the colorful frogs are poisonous.
Some imitate the poisonous ones with color, and apparently the warning is enough to protect them from potential predators.
Miscellaneous Facts/Pet Care:
These types of frogs, while very very beautiful, are hardly one I would recommend for beginners.
In fact, I frankly am one who will peer happily at a tank with these captives, but would not feel comfortable with such a responsibility myself...
Therefore, I will not even attempt to cover what is necessary for their care here.
All I can tell you is that visitors who know better than me tell me a warm humid tank is needed...
Read more information on Housing Your Pet Frog here.
One reader writes:
    "A large, very wet terrarium with a good light but plenty of foliage for shade. These are rainforest frogs and don't see much direct sunlight.On a final note- whatever you do, don't pick it up with your bare hands! These pets are not for cuddling. As sad as it may sound, they are for decoration only. Looking pretty is what they're best at so please, leave them alone. People often think that a frog secretes poison to be malicious, almost like a skunk and it's scent. That's really not true. The poison dart frogs secrete because they are scared out of their wits. (Experement- tap of the glass of a dart frog's tank. Wait a few seconds. Their back gets really wet and slick looking. that's lethal venom.) They live about 2-4 years."

I have, however, read that some poison dart frogs can live as long as 15 years!
For more information about these beautiful frogs, including more extensive caresheets from real experts, please visit these sites:
Back to Species Info Page.
Back to Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Frogs.