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Black & Green Dart frog

Dendrobates auratus

Common Names: Arrow frogs, Poison Dart Frogs

Overview: D. auratus are one of about 170 species of vibrantly colored frogs belonging to the family Dendrobatidae. D. auratus are one of the hardiest and a good dart frog for beginners. They are still a delicate creature and need close attention. If neglected will parish quickly. So pay attention to detail. They have been recorded to live between 14 to 16 years in captivity when maintained properly. They are active during the daytime (diurnal). Their bright, colors warn of potent nerve toxins produced by glands in the skin. The name originated from the fact that some South American Indians use the poison to tip their hunting arrows. In the wild one small frog can produce enough poison to tip up to 50 arrows. The venom of Dendrobates contains some of the most powerful cardiotoxins known. The symptoms and clinical effects of the venoms contained are neurotoxic as well as myotoxic, causing irreversible blockage of neuromuscular signal transmission.

Many of the toxins of this, and other amphibians, are alkaloid in structure. Meaning it originates from plants. The frogs obtain them from eating insects which eat the toxic plants. The frogs then store these powerful toxins for use in chemical defense. This is why poison dart frogs lose all or most of their toxicity within the first few months of captivity. Or in captive breeding.

Distribution: South America - Central America, from southern Nicaragua to Costa Rica, from Panama to Columbia, and introduced to the Hawiian island of Oahu by people.

Habitat: Their natural habitat is the tropical or wet rain forest. The frogs live on the ground, near rivers and streams, but they are not aquatic. They also are found in cocoa plantations, where the fallen leaves supply ideal places for hiding and depositing eggs.

Size & Sexing: Between 1 inch to 2 3/8 inches, depending on the sex and region of origin.

Females tend to be larger, fatter, rounder. Adult males are smaller, slimmer, have enlarged toe pads, and have vocal sacs, which are used to lour females. The males are territorial, especially during breeding , and will fight other males in there territory. They mature at about 12 months.

Housing in captivity: 20 gallon vivarium or larger. Depending on the number of frogs kept. We recommend no more than 2 or 4 females to 1 male be housed together, in a 50 gal. vivarium. It is not recommended to mix species, or wild caught with captive bred.

Maintain between 68 - 83 F., with 80 to 100 % relative humidity. This can be accomplished by heavily misting once or twice a day, depending on the water source provided.

Place a layer of small gravel covered with soil and sphagnum moss in the bottom for substrate

Give the frogs some areas of heavy plant cover (bromeliads, pothos, spider plants, and philodendrons) to hide in when they feel threatened, (they will retreat and become very shy if they cannot hide) and some open areas for them to hunt in.

D. auratus love to climb and will often sleep in higher portions of the vivarium. For this reason, provide plants, driftwood, cork bark, and or climbing branches.

Fluorescent light tube for plants; some people recommend that wide spectrum lights is good for the Poison Dart Frogs as well.

A under-tank heat-pad will be required at one end to maintain temperature and help in maintaining humidity.

Feeding: Tiny insects such as fruit flies, maggots, inch crickets, we have also used inch crickets with the legs removed. Every day to every other day. Dust with multi vitamin for amphibians or reptiles once a week. They must have clean non chlorinated water in a shallow water bowl at all times. DO NOT USE TAP WATER it will kill your frog. We use water we get from a local spring, or bottled water. A simulated stream or water fall is best (place screen in any area they may be trapped). Be sure they can not get trapped and drown remember they are not aquatic.

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