Facts About The Deadly Poison Dart Frog

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Poison dart or poison arrow frogs are tiny little amphibians that live in the tropical rain forests of South America from Coats Rica to Brazil and on some of the Hawaiian Islands. Despite their small size, other animals give this little creature a wide berth; its poison is infamous.

FACT 1: Poison dart frogs are brilliantly coloured. They are yellow, red, gold, copper, red, green, blue and black. This ostentatious colouration serves as a warning to predators. It is known as aposematic colouration. Other poisonous animals, like the monarch butterfly also employ this technique. Non- poisonous frogs mimic this colouration to confuse predators.

FACT 2: There are about 100 species of poison dart frogs. They range from less than 1 inch to 21/2 inches. Only three species carry venom that is deadly to humans.

FACT 3: Poison dart frogs carry the poison under the skin. The poison is thought to be sourced from their diet in their natural habitats. In the wild they eat spiders and small insects like ants and termites. These insects may have assimilated the poison from the plants they eat. In zoos they are fed only crickets. Poison dart frogs kept in captivity never have any poison.

FACT 4: They are well adapted to capture their prey with their sharp vision and long sticky tongues.

FACT 5: These frogs have unusual parenting habits. The males attract female by emitting a loud trill. After mating, the female lays dozens of eggs on a leaf. The eggs take about three weeks to hatch. They are covered in a gelatinous substance to prevent decay. During this period the father keeps an eye on them. When the tadpoles hatched they leap onto their fathers back to be transported to a suitable nursery. They are held fast by a mucus secretion from the fathers back. Once he has safely deposited his charges, the father leaves and the tadpoles independently progress to their metamorphosis as frogs.

FACT 6: The little 2” golden poison dart frog has enough venom to kill 10 men. The Embera peoples of Columbia knew this and used to the poison to tips of their darts or arrows.

FACT 7: Medical scientists are studying the frog. They are researching the possibilities for developing medications from the secretions of the frog. One compound has already been identified as having potential to be synthetically developed as a painkiller.

FACT 8: Many species of this frog are endangered by habitat loss. The golden poison dart frog population is abundant. They inhabit the rain forests along the Pacific Coast of Columbia. The decimation of their habitat has led to them being declared as an endangered species.

FACT 9: This fragile frog needs a clean unpolluted environment. The pollution of their forests by human activity is one of the reasons that they are endangered.

FACT 10: There is only one species of snake that is immune to the poison dart frog’s venom. Other animal get sick if they even lick the poison.

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