Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Poison dart frogs are members of the Dendrobatidae family and are considered to be the most poisonous amphibians disguised in very small and brilliantly colorful packages.
See the fact file below for more information on the Poison dart frogs or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Poison Dart Frog worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Common Name: Poison Dart Frog
- Scientific Name: Dendrobatidae
- Class: Amphibia
- Order: Anura
- Diet: Carnivore
- Collective noun: Army
- Average Size: 1 inch (25 mm)
- Average Lifespan in the Wild: 3 to 15 years
Habitat and Anatomy
- Poison dart frogs live in the rainforests of Central and South America. They are normally found under leaves, in trees, inside logs, on rocks, and in other moist places.
- Despite being colorful, poison dart frogs are actually quite hard to see due to their small size, which is from a half to two inches (12 – 50 mm) in length.
- American Indian hunters gave the frogs this name because they would rub the tips of their arrows on the frog’s skin which then made the arrow tips poisonous.
- Amphibians, like the poison dart frog, are tetrapods. The earliest of their kind existed about 400 to 350 million years ago. Their four-limbed ancestors were more like fish with legs.
- Almost 200 species of poison dart frogs are found in brilliant colors of yellow, copper, gold, orange, green, red, blue, or black.
- Their vibrant colors and elaborate designs ward off potential predators. This defense tactic is called aposematic coloration.
- They prey on invertebrates, including different ant species.
- According to scientists, poison dart frogs make their poisons from the food they eat, mainly small insects found on the forest floor, like ants, termites, and tiny beetles.
- The deadliest poison dart frog is the golden poison dart frog which is found only in Colombia. The poison from one frog can kill ten adult men.
Basic Frog Morphology
- About one-third of poison dart frog species are highly toxic to human beings.
- When in danger, poison dart frogs secrete lipophilic alkaloid toxins through glands under the skin.
- Due to its toxicity, the poison dart frog has few predators. They can be fatal to snakes that feed on them, except for the leimadophis epinephelus or fire-bellied snake, which has acquired resistance to their poison.
- Poison dart frogs have excellent eyesight and, unlike most frogs, are diurnal, which means they are active during the day.
- They use their long sticky tongue to catch their prey. Most insects are attracted to their bright colors, thus making hunting easy.
Reproduction and Parenting Style
- During the rainy season (from mid-July to mid-September), male poison dart frogs attract females to mate.
- Females choose a partner after elaborate rituals of vocalization and territorial wrestling.
- Females lay up to 40 gelatinous eggs in a leafy place on the ground or in a tree.
- Parents take turns in keeping the eggs moist by urinating on them.
- Poison dart tadpoles hatch two to four weeks after fertilization.
- The male parent carries the tadpoles to water on his back and head. This act is called backpacking.
- Once the tadpoles enter the water, the female parent feeds them with unfertilized eggs and algae.
- As tadpoles, their colors are dull, indicating that they’re not poisonous.
- After 6 to 12 weeks, bright colors have developed, signaling their maturity and toxicity.
- Poison dart frogs are hands-on parents, unlike most frogs, which lay eggs in water which hatch without any parental intervention.
Additional Froggy Facts
- Green and black poison dart frogs are the only species introduced to the islands of Hawaii.
- Due to loss of habitat, pollution, market sales, and environmental changes, golden poison dart, and blue poison dart frogs are endangered. Some are collected for the illegal pet trade.
- According to studies, poison dart frogs raised in captivity may lose their poison because their diet doesn’t consist of the toxic insects wild frogs ordinarily eat. Instead, captive frogs munch on fruit flies, mealworms, and crickets.
- In the 1970s, venom from poison dart frogs was developed into painkillers more effective than morphine. Although they had been tested on rats, scientists feared that they could still be too toxic for humans. After a decade, scientists found that the chemical structure of epibatidine found in poison dart frogs was similar to an experimental drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease.
- Symptoms of poison dart frog poisoning in humans include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver and kidney problems or failure, stomach pain, fever, lung damage, skin lesions, and heart damage.
- Colombia’s Embera tribe hunters regularly use the poison from poison dart frogs when hunting birds, monkeys, and other edible animals.
- A tiny amount of toxin from a golden poison dart frog can lead to brain, muscle, and respiratory paralysis, in animals and eventually death.
- The brighter poison dart frogs are more toxic.
- There are over 170 species of poison dart frog.
- Poison dart frogs are poisonous, not venomous.
- The poison of poison dart frogs is used for self-defense to ward off predators.
Poison Dart Frog Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Poison Dart Frogs across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Poison Dart Frog worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Poison dart frogs which are members of the Dendrobatidae family and considered to be the most poisonous amphibians disguised in very small and brilliantly colorful packages.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Poison Dart Frog Facts
- Frog Anatomy
- World of Poison Dart Frogs
- Poison Dart Frog Species
- Developmental Life Stages
- Scientific Classification
- Fatal Attraction
- 3 Classes of Amphibians
- Mapping Poison Darts
- Drop Dead Gorgeous
- Devoted Parents
Frequently Asked Questions
How big are poison dart frogs?
Poison dart frogs range in size from half an inch to two and a half inches (1 – 6 cm) in length. The smallest is about the size of a human thumbnail.
Are dart frogs easy to care for as pets?
Poison dart frogs are fairly easy to care for. In captivity, poison dart frogs do not get to eat the toxic plants that they need to produce their poison, so they are no longer poisonous. They need minimal maintenance and have a long lifespan so they can be a good choice for a pet. Their habitat does, however, need to be cleaned regularly.
What does one feed a pet poison dart frog?
Poison dart frogs are strictly insectivores and only eat small, live insects. Flightless fruit flies, worms, and small crickets would be the primary food source for a pet poison dart frog.
How do poison dart frogs catch their prey?
Poison dart frogs use their sticky retractable tongues to catch their food. Their tongue darts out and zaps the unsuspecting bug, which it then pops in its mouth.
Can poison dart frogs jump and swim?
Yes, poison dart frogs can both jump and swim. They can jump about 1.5 ft high, but they usually jump forwards rather than upwards, and they are pretty good swimmers.
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Poison Dart Frog Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 14, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.