Two captive bred Golden Dart Frogs (Phyllobates terribilis) have recently arrived at our Animal Unit. This species of frog is considered to be one of the most toxic frogs in the world! For this reason, they are one of the species that tribesman within South America acquire poison from and use to tip their arrows and darts to hunt with. As a result, they are considered to be a true poison dart frog. This is because many other frogs called ‘dart frogs’ do not possess strong enough poison to be used to tip arrows/darts for hunting with, but possess similarly bright colouration. It is believed that once darts have been covered in the poison of the golden dart frog, they can remain lethal for up to 2 years!
Currently, it is thought that they obtain their toxins from a species of beetle that makes up part of their diet in the wild. The toxins are so powerful that one frog can produce enough toxins to kill 200 humans! Fortunately, in captivity, the poisonousness of these frogs is little to none. This species will give students at New College Stamford valuable experience of caring for a species and group of frogs that are housed in zoos across the world.
Unfortunately, like the majority of the world’s amphibians, they are threatened with extinction. This species is currently listed as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN. That is why it is important that zoos and colleges work to maintain a strong and stable captive population to ensure a positive future for these beautiful and amazing frogs.