green_and_black_poison_dart_frogGreen & Black Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates auratus


Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs are small frogs which have bright green coloring with black spots. They have a small sticky pad on the bottom of each toe.


Adult Poison Dart Frogs are about 1.5 inches long.


  • Poison Dart Frogs have toxins in their skin that can paralyze or kill potential predators.
  • The bright green color of this frog’s skin warns predators not to eat it.
  • Frogs use their excellent sense of vision to help capture prey.
  • Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs have sticky tongues which also help them to catch food.


In the wild, Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs eat small invertebrates, such as spiders and small insects. At Cosley Zoo, these frogs are fed fruit flies and crickets.


Mating occurs between July and September, the rainy season in the rainforests where these frogs live. Females lay up to 6 eggs at a time in a pool of water. Eggs take two weeks to develop into tadpoles. When the eggs hatch, the male frog temporarily attaches the tadpoles to his back with a sticky mucus and then carries them to a lake or stream. Once the tadpoles are relocated, they receive no further parental care. It takes the tadpoles 6-12 weeks to undergo metamorphosis and develop into adult frogs.

Shelter and Space Needs

Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs inhabit the Pacific Coast of Central and South America, from Nicaragua and Costa Rica to Brazil and Bolivia. They have also been introduced in Hawaii. They are found near small bodies of water on the rainforest floor. These frogs are diurnal (active during the day).

Life Expectancy

Uncertain in the wild. They can live over 10 years in captivity.

Relationship With Man

The toxins in the skin of a Poison Dart Frog can be poisonous and even fatal to humans. However, these toxins may also be beneficial to humans, and scientists are researching them to see if they can be used in pharmaceuticals. Poison Dart Frogs have also become popular as pets. Only captive-bred frogs should be purchased as pets to preserve the wild population. Although Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs are not currently endangered, it is likely that they will become so in the future due to habitat destruction. Zoos around the world are working on conservation projects to protect the wild population of these frogs, which play an important role in the ecosystem as a predator of insects and other invertebrates.

Fun Facts

  • The toxic compounds in the skin of a Poison Dart Frog come from its prey, especially the ants it eats. The compounds are absorbed into the frog’s skin when it consumes its prey. Because the frogs at Cosley Zoo are fed fruit flies and crickets, which do not contain these toxins, the frogs are not poisonous.
  • Poison Dart Frogs have no webbing between the toes on their feet, so they are poor swimmers and are not often found in the water.
  • The toxins from Poison Dart Frogs are applied to the darts and arrows used by some South American Indians for hunting. The poison helps to quickly kill the animals being hunted.
  • Scientists introduced Green and Black Poison Dart Frogs into Hawaii in 1932 in an effort to help control the insect population.


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