Poison Dart Frogs

 Poison Dart Frogs

Quick Facts

 Poison dart frog

Found:  Central and South America
Size:  1 to 2 inches
Diet:  Spiders and small insects
Life Span:  10 years

Status:  Most are endangered

There are more than 100 species of poison dart frogs, varying in color and pattern. It is the skin that contains the frog's poison. These bright colors are warnings to potential predators that the frogs are poisonous. Scientists think these frogs get their toxicity from some of the insects they eat. The insects feed on plants that have toxins, which then pass to the frogs when they eat the insects. Poison dart frogs raised in captivity aren't toxic because the insects they are fed haven't eaten poisonous plants. They are so named because some Amerindian tribes have used their secretions to poison their darts. Not all poison arrow frogs are deadly, and only three species are very dangerous to humans. The most deadly species to humans is the golden poison arrow frog (Phyllobates terribilis). Its poison can kill many small animals or humans. Even though the frog's toxin is extremely dangerous to humans, scientists say that it also has a medicinal potential. Researchers discovered properties in the toxin that they think may lead to the creation of a powerful painkiller for human patients.

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