The Panamanian golden frog, a true toad, was last seen in the wild in 2007.
The Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) is a critically endangered toad from Panama which is thought to have gone extinct in the wild. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore got involved with Project Golden Frog in the late 1990s and has been working to save the amphibian since. Today it was awarded the Edward H. Bean Award for its work to save the species. It was the first zoo to breed the frog, back in 2001. The frog has been devastated by deforestation, disease, and the illegal pet trade.
- Family: Dendrobatidae
- Adult Size: Adult Panamanian golden frogs grow to 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Range: The Panamanian golden frog is native to Panama
- Habitat: The Panamanian golden frog can be found in lowland rain forest and cloud forest ecosystems
The frog is a national treasure in Panama, similar to the bald eagle in the United States and is on Panamania currency, said Kevin Barrett, the reptile and amphibian collection manager at the zoo. It is considered a symbol of good luck in Panama.
The Bean award recognizes excellence in captive propagation of endangered species.
The Panamanian golden frog occupies streams along mountain slopes in the Cordilleran cloud forests of west-central Panama. Although it is called a frog, it iOS indeed a true toad. Its skin color ranges from gold to light yellow green. Females are larger than males at 1.8 to 2.5 inches in length while males are around 1.4 to 1.9 inches in length. The frog has poisons on its skin that can kill a mouse with 20 to 30 minutes. They have an estimated lifespan of around 12 years and communicate by waving their legs at rivals and potential mates.
John Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata