Meet our dazzling dart frogs 

All of our poison dart frogs stand out thanks to their jewel-like ‘anti-camouflage’, which acts as a warning to predators to stay away. In the reptile and amphibian house, you can see four species of dart frog – blue, Amazon, golden and strawberry – and thanks to their incredible colouring, they’re easy to spot! 

In the wild, a golden poison dart frog’s skin contains around 200 micrograms of deadly alkaloid poison – it would take just two micrograms to kill a human! Fortunately for their keepers at Jersey Zoo, an accidental touch won’t cause any ill effect, as the poison found in wild frogs comes from a diet made up largely of toxic ants. But here at the zoo where they don’t have predators to worry about, the frogs are fed on vitamin-enriched insects instead. 

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Animal facts

Key facts about the dart frog

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I'm found across Central and South America 

They live under overhangs near streams, but not in the water as they are poor swimmers

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My favourite food is toxic ants 

These frogs are famous for their toxic secretions, but only the golden dart frog is toxic enough to harm humans

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I'm deadly to other animals 

In the wild, their diet consists of invertebrates, which have in turn ingested plant chemicals. It's what makes them ‘poison’ dart frogs!  

100+

species of dart frog

2-6

eggs laid at a time

10-12

weeks for tadpoles to turn into frogs

Blue Poison Dart Frog at Jersey Zoo

Flamboyant but fierce 

Not only are poison dart frogs beautiful, but they are feisty too, especially during the rainy season when they are ready to breed. Here at the zoo, rainy season is simulated with a system of sprinklers and fogging machines. When the ‘rains’ start, males sing to attract females and wrestle for the best spot high up on a plant. When the females find a suitable male, they fight for his attention. The winning female then strokes the male's nose with her forelegs, and he responds by chasing and wrestling her. 

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Impressive parenting skills 

The strawberry dart frogs show incredible parenting skills for an amphibian. The male keeps the eggs moist until the tadpoles hatch. Then, both parents carry each tadpole to a pool in the middle of separate bromeliad plants so that they don’t eat each other. Instead, the hungry tadpoles have to wait for mum to return and deposit an unfertilised egg into the pool every few days for them to eat. This means the female has to remember where she’s left all of her tadpoles and make sure she’s only feeding her own and not another frog’s! 

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Climate change threatens amphibians 

Extremely sensitive to changes in their environment, amphibians give us early warning of problems that might be due to global warming, pollution and so on. Fungal disease is also threatening many species worldwide. Due to its small distribution and an increasing number of new fungal diseases, poison dart frogs are threatened with extinction. 

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Successful captive breeding safeguards their future 

With the world’s amphibians in crisis, captive populations are vital to conservation efforts. Our amphibian team at Jersey Zoo successfully breeds blue poison dart frogs in our biosecure facility, which enables us to continue studying and breeding this species as well as other threatened amphibians. 

Help us care for our dart frogs