The poison dart frog is a group of around 100 species of frogs living in and around the Amazon rain forest and a few of the Hawaiian Islands. Almost all of these species have multiple colors including red, blue, green, yellow, and black. They are also known by other names such as poison frog, poison arrow frog, or dart-poison frog. Natives where these frogs live would sometimes rub darts on the frogs’ backs and then use those darts to kill animals faster because of the poison. This gives the frogs their name of poison dart frog. The amount of poison on one adult is estimated to be able to kill 10 adult humans. Different species of these frogs grow to different sizes, but the largest of them only grows to about 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm). Although the frogs to the left look completely different from the one at the top, they are still poison dart frogs but not the same species. These frogs’ poison is so good of a protection that they have only one natural predator, a snake with the scientific name of Leimadophis epinephelus which has developed a resistance to the deadly poison it consumes with its meal. In the wild these fatal frogs eat ants, beetles, spiders and other invertebrates. The National Zoo feeds them crickets each day. Scientists think that their normal prey provides poison which protects these frogs from potential predators. Because of this, these frogs in captivity are no longer deadly dart frogs.
After these frogs mate, the female lays up to a dozen eggs which the male, and sometimes the female, protect as their precious possessions. When the eggs hatch as tadpoles, whoever is guarding them at the time allows the tiny tadpoles to crawl/swim onto their back and then carries them to a small body of water. The parent then lets them off its back into the water where they mature and start their up to 15 year life.
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- coloring/activity sheet
- Smithsonian Handbooks Reptiles and Amphibians. Mark O’Shea and Tim Halliday, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6009-3
- Animals of the world. Tom Jackson, ISBN: 978-1780191089
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- http://library.eb.com/eb/article-9009626 (account required)
- Strawberry poison dart frog: Wikipedia user Geoff Gallice
- Blue poison dart frog: Wikipedia user Cliff
- Mystery animal: Wikipedia user Maxim Gavrilyuk