Poison Frogs: How Dangerous?

HomeBeginner Questions

Poison Frogs: How Dangerous?

Wild poison frogs are poisonous due to the insects they eat.

North Carolina Salamander Needs Protections, Petition Says
Axolotl Care Sheet
Chytrid Fungus More Prevalent In Baja CA Red-Legged Frogs Than In Southern CA Frogs

I’m thinking of setting up a living vivarium with poison frogs, but was curious exactly how dangerous they are to keep. I know native people in their home range use the frogs’ skin toxins to coat darts, so is it really OK to keep these frogs at pets?
Annie Kauffman

 


Advertisement

strawberry poison frog

 

Salparadis/Shutterstock

Wild poison frogs, such as this strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio), are poisonous due to the insects they eat.

While indigenous tribes in Colombia use toxic skin secretions from poison frogs (particularly the golden poison frog) to coat blow darts they use in hunting, the captive-bred frogs that are available in the pet hobby have lost their toxicity and are safe to keep. The poison the wild frogs secrete is due to the insects they eat in the wild. Because captive-bred frogs don’t eat the same insects as their wild counterparts, they are non-toxic.


Want To Learn More?

How to Build a Poison Frog Terrarium

Advertisement

Strawberry Poison Frog Care Tips


That said, poison frogs should not be handled anyway. These delicate creatures are best kept as display animals inside a beautiful vivarium such as the one you want to set up. As a bonus, poison frogs are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day, so you should be able to easily observe their interesting behaviors. They can live for about eight years in captivity, given the proper care. To help provide that, be sure to read our excellent poison frog care sheet at ReptilesMagazine.com/poisonfrogcare.