Wild Fact #712 – Do I Feel Lucky? – Poison Dart Frog
It is time to leave the Australian animals for a few days and head over to the Tropical forests of Central and South America. Here we will discover one of the most beautifully coloured amphibians out there, the Poison Dart Frog. I know they sound like a cute and cuddly frog but these little guys can pack quite the poisonous punch so I wouldn’t mess with them. We will find out just how deadly these frogs are in a second.
The Poison Dart Frog is not a very large amphibian as it typically weighs about 2 to 7 grams (0.07-0.25 oz) and is only 1.5 to 6 cm (0.6 to 2.4″) long. There are about 175 different species hanging out in the tropical jungles of Central and South America. The Poison Dart Frog greatly depends upon the large leaves of the Rain-forest to provide much needed shade from the hot Tropical sun.
As we have seen with many other animals in the past the bright colours of the Poison Dart Frog act as a warning to other animals. Basically they are saying “Whoa there predator! If you eat me, you will most likely die so you need to ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” These frogs are not bluffing with their colours either as the Poison Dart Frog is known to be among the most toxic animals on Earth. Just to give you an illustration of how poisonous they are. One tiny little Golden Poison Dart Frog has enough poison to kill about 20 000 mice. That is a lot of mice! If that doesn’t scare you, that same 5 cm long frog has enough poison to kill about 10 adult humans. This is why I always recommend being the 11th person in line as your tour group is walking through the Rain-forest. Researchers believe that the Poison Dart Frog get their toxic nature from the insects they eat such as ants, termites and beetles. This theory came about since Poison Dart Frogs in captivity, which are isolated from their natural environment never develop the toxins as wild frogs do. I still wouldn’t take the chance of cuddling a captive Poison Dart Frog but maybe I am just a big scaredy cat.
Poison Dart Frog Fast Fact – Believe it or not this family of highly toxic frogs actually does have a natural predator. A snaked called Leimadophis epinephelus has developed a resistance to their poison and will actually feed on the Poison Dart Frog. I guess that particular snake was feeling lucky, punk!
I hope all of you enjoyed today’s Wild Fact and I will see you back here tomorrow for the final fact of the week.