Poison dart frogs are named as such as native tribes reportedly used to rub arrows on the frogs back before hunting.
Dart frogs in captivity do not have the same level of toxins which they do in the wild. Their diet in the wild is largely responsible for the level of toxin which they possess. In the wild they would consume termites, ants and other inverts which eat plants containing toxins. The frogs in captivity rarely have any toxin due to their diet of fruit flies and small crickets which are also bred captively.
Dart frogs come in some incredible colours such as bright blue, yellow, red, green, gold, black and combinations. The most toxic frogs are the brightest coloured ones. They have bright colours to warn predators.
Mother frogs in some species, carry both eggs and tadpoles on their backs. They are an extremely good care givers to their young.
HOUSING YOUR FROG
Like many other reptiles, the size of the housing for your dart frog/s should grow as the frogs do. Small frogs should not be placed in a large enclosure as they are hard to monitor, find it harder to find food and may get stuck under décor.
Baby or small frogs should be housed in a small plastic container with tropical moss such as sphagnum moss. This should be damp with de-chlorinated water only being provided. Dart frogs enjoy high humidity up to 80-100%. If the enclosure is not well ventilated, then open the lid every 1-2 days to allow air change.
Larger dart frogs can be kept in plastic or glass enclosures and should be kept to 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temps higher than 80-85 for sustained periods are dangerous for dart frogs and can kill them.
Substrate can be provided using a soil type substrate, but we recommend considering a layer of bio drain or drainage medium so that the bottom of the tank does not become waterlogged from the high humidity.
Lots of people prefer to keep a live planted tank with dart frogs, there are many options available. Dart frogs don’t need special lighting but should know when it is day and night time. Planted tanks require lighting in order to encourage growth so this can be a nice opportunity to also supply lighting to your frogs.
Care should be taken when transporting dart frogs because of their sensitivity to hot temperatures and humidity requirements.
HANDLING YOUR FROG:
Dart frogs are small, sensitive frogs and do not like to be handled. We recommend that you do not handle your frog, however if you need to in order to move or perform a health check, wear latex free powderless gloves.
The chemicals on our skin can be harmful to frogs along with their toxins potentially being harmful to us.
Handling dart frogs can cause damage due to their size. When moving your frog, use a cup and gently cup the frog. Never grab your frog with your hand as you can risk damaging it.
Genus, Species: Dendrobates Epibpedobate, Phyllobates
Adult Size: 2-6 cm
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Diet: Fruit flies, spring tails, micro crickets
Ambient Temp (f): 72-80
Basking Temp (f): 80 (no hotter than 85)
Humidity (%): 80-100
Locality: Central, South America Difficulty: (/5) 3
Breeding Age: Females: 12-14 months, males: 6-10 months
Social Structure: Can live together in similar sizes, will breed
SEXING YOUR FROG:
There are some characteristics which help to sex a dart frog, however this can change depending on the species.
Dart frogs can be hard to sex due to their size and delicate bodies. In some species, males will have larger pads on their front feet. Females of some species will have a higher back arch than males.
Gravid or pregnant females are easy to see due to their size and plump abdomen.
General Heath– Your frogs should be regularly active, eating well and moving around normally. There are some health issues known in dart frogs, but they can be hard to notice or diagnose given their small size. If you notice that your frog has lack of appetite or appears to be listless, we recommend you seek veterinary advice from a specialist reptile vet. Contact us if you need advice on who to speak to.
Legs– Legs should be strong and your frog should be able to jump around. Frogs can suffer from MBD (metabolic bone disease) when they do not have enough calcium in their diet. MDB can be seen in frogs by the feet and legs looking disfigured or weak, along with the mouth gaping or hanging at the side. MDB is irreversible but adding calcium to the food a few time a week will prevent further development. D3 should also be offered every 2 weeks.
Skin– Skin should look shiny and moist. If the frog does not have access to water or the enclosure is too dry you may notice a dry cocoon like shed which shows signs of the frog shutting down. Ensure the humidity in the enclosure is kept consistent and offer fresh dechlorinated water daily. Buy bottled water or leave tap water uncovered for 24-48 hours.