Poison Dart Frog Poison Dart Frog
Poison Arrow Frogs

Scientific Classification

Common Name
poison arrow frogs, poison dart frogs
Genus Species
Dendrobates spp.

Fast Facts

These small and very colorful frogs often exhibit hues of greens, yellows, reds, and blues combined with black
Most poison arrow frogs may only reach a size of approximately 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in.)
Varies by species
Normally feed on ants, crickets, termites, small flies, and other small insects
2–4 weeks
Clutch Size
40 to 50 eggs
Sexual Maturity
Varies by species
Life Span
Varies by species
Rain forests of Central and South America
Depending on the species, some live close to water while others prefer mountainous forest ranges
Global: Unknown
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Appendix II  
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. The very bright colors of the poison arrow frogs, characteristic of many toxic species, are a warning to predators. 
  2. Many amphibians create toxic compounds from glands or have trace amounts of poisons on their skins or in their bodies. Poison arrow frogs produce poison potent enough to cause great harm to humans. Some native tribes in Columbia are renowned for dipping arrow tips in the toxins of these frogs. To obtain the poison, the frog is pierced with a stick and held over a fire until the heat forces the toxins to come up through the skin. The droplets are then collected in a jar. Depending on the species, 1 frog may yield enough toxin to coat some 50 arrow tips. 
  3. Some species of poison arrow frog produce a type of batrachotoxin so powerful that only 1/100,000 of an ounce can potentially kill a human. 
  4. Unlike many other frog species, poison arrow frog females lay eggs on land in damp areas. The males then guard the eggs until they hatch and become tadpoles. The young then crawl onto their father's back while he searches for water. When he finds it, the father shakes the young off and they are on their own.

Ecology and Conservation

Like all amphibians, poison arrow frogs have porous skin and respond quickly to changes in the environment. The health of their populations can be an indicator of the health of the environment.


Conant, Roger, and J.T. Collins. Peterson Field Guides: Reptiles and Amphibians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958.

Flank, Lenny Jr. Herp Help. New York: Howell Book House, 1998.

Mattison, Chris. Frogs and Toads of the World. New York: Fact On File Publications, 1987.