poison frogs

poison frog skin

The poison frogs they are vertebrate amphibians that vary in color depending on their race and dangerousness, and of course depending on their species, they can grow up to 6 cm in length. To distinguish poisonous frogs from other types of harmless frogs, we usually associate them with very bright and fluorescent colors and another high-contrast color, black being the most common color in these species.

In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about poisonous frogs, their characteristics and curiosities.

Key features

most dangerous frog in the world

The skin of poison dart frogs has an undertone: usually black. In some cases it presents yellow lines or other colors, and dots or stripes on the back; Although its abdomen is blue or gray, it has several black dots. Generally, the shades vary widely, but they are all bright colors like red, orange, and blue to better identify them. Their skin is somewhat permeable, and due to this property, they are more prone to dehydration.

They have fully vertebrate bodies, divided into limbs and bones, making it easy for them to jump faster or higher. It is the pigment in these specimens that correlates with the amount of toxins, so the brighter the color, the more toxic they are. The way they secrete toxic and irritating substances is through their skin, which is also very fragile, however, these specimens are immune to their own poisons.

Another interesting fact is that poisonous frogs that occupy forest areas produce toxins from their food, which they use only to defend themselves, not to hunt. These creatures are usually small, with some specimens measuring less than 50mm.

How is the poison?

They get the poison by ingesting some of the mites, which carry it to their skin. They also have glands in their skin that in turn release poisons that protect them from predators, some bacteria, and even fungi. It should be noted that some frogs have stronger poisons than others.

Since its venom is rare, many scientists have taken it upon themselves to study it. But they still don't know exactly how it produces these toxins. They even keep several poisonous species that do not produce that poison when in captivity. However, they are trying to put the released toxins to positive uses, such as pain relievers, etc., but they are still in the process.

Examples of poison dart frogs and their habitats

poison in amphibians

Although many species are endangered due to illegal trafficking, there are still many species of poison dart frogs that live in the forest, in fact there are approximately 200 different species in one of the most popular families, the dart frog family. However, similar to these, there are others, highlighting the following:

  • Frogs Dendrobates Auratus: It inhabits tropical forests with temperatures above 20°C in countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
  • Strawberry Frogs: They are poisonous reddish amphibians that live in the tropical forests of Costa Rica with temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius.
  • Ranitomea reticulata: Highly poisonous species, also found in tropical forests, but from the Amazon.
  • Harlequin frogs: With smooth skin and full of poison, they are red, blue or yellow and live in tropical biomes of Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.
  • Golden Frog: It is one of the most dangerous species in the world due to the powerful poison they secrete. They inhabit tropical humid forests in the Amazon, Costa Rica and Panama.

How do poison dart frogs reproduce?

These frogs reproduce with different sounds and very complex movements to attract females, they also do it to protect themselves and try to survive. Their reproductive organs, both male and female, run diagonally to the kidneys.

They are amphibians and the frogs can mate for a few days; once breeding is complete, female poison dart frogs can lay up to eight eggs and keep them underwater; 16 days later, the tadpoles hatch; at that time, male poison dart frogs One by one are located in other places where they were born. Its development occurred about 80 days later.


Most poison dart frogs eat meat. For example: flies, worms, termites, insects, small fish, crickets, spiders, beetles, and snails; however, at their larger size they can eat small vertebrates such as mice.

They don't have teeth. However, one of the attractive things about poison dart frogs is that they don't have teeth. So how do they eat their prey? In this case, it uses the same technique as snakes: these amphibians swallow their food completely, they do so when they use their upper jaw to catch the food. These vertebrates use their sticky tongues to quickly hunt, especially insects in this case.

Interesting poison frog facts

poison frogs

One very interesting thing about frogs is that their eyes serve or help them swallow food. Because, at the moment of swallowing, their eyes sink, when they eat, their eyes blink, but the real reason for this is that they force the head to be able to carry their prey completely stuffed in the throat.

Poison dart frogs live in normally moist places; Assuming they can't get to those places, they have unique adaptations that help them cope with these dry places. They are very well distributed on Earth, although depending on their species, some are easier to find in Central and South America, thus inhabiting the most humid tropical forests of their region.

The largest distributions are in the central and southern United States. Like any amphibian, these poisonous antacids need to be close to water, while other specimens choose to spend considerable time in the trees.

It is also common for some species to survive in cloudy and Andean forests, and even some of them in dry forests. this kind of animals prefer to live in ecosystems dominated by lush vegetation, high temperatures and what we call constant rain at all times.

The fact that a frog's skin is poisonous or poisonous to other animals does not mean that it is free from predators, quite the contrary, over time, many species have built mechanisms to protect their bodies from these toxins. That's why, the most eager to eat them are birds such as seagulls, eagles attracted by the color and reptiles such as snakes, but also wild dogs and foxes.

Also, frogs and large toads are predators of these species. Humans are also a danger to frogs, since in some countries they look for them to do experiments or to cook in some restaurants.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about poisonous frogs and their characteristics.

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