Golden poison dart frogs (Phyllobates terribilis), as their names express, are toxic amphibians. They're actually the most poisonous species of all frogs, with deadly potential. Not only are golden poison dart frogs intensely toxic, they're also extremely vivid in coloration. Golden poison dart frogs come from South America, where some still live in the wild.
Golden Poison Dart Frogs in Nature
Golden poison dart frogs in nature live exclusively in the South American nation of Colombia, and only in a highly limited, small coastal area by the Pacific Ocean. They live in specifically in moist, muggy, hilly rain forest locales. They reside on the ground, where they generally remain. Golden poison dart frogs usually tuck themselves away amidst dense plants and piles of foliage. When they breed, they deposit their eggs on the floors of their habitats.
While golden poison dart frogs are somewhat plentiful within their restricted geographic scope, they have endangered status as a species, and their numbers are going down. Their endangered classification is a result of their narrow geographic distribution and deteriorating habitat. Farming expansion is a prominent threat to golden poison dart frogs, largely due to the chopping down of trees. The emergence of human establishments in their environment is also problematic for them. Pollution is detrimental to the continued existence of golden poison dart frogs as a group, too.
Life in Captivity
Golden poison dart frogs sometimes live in captivity as pets. Thankfully, these frogs aren't highly toxic unless they were born and brought up in the wild. Those specimens are fatally poisonous only because of specific sustenance they consume in nature. Certain foods they consume enable the frogs to make their hazardous toxins. If they don't feed on those certain foods, they're not harmful. The poison factor in golden poison dart frogs' natural feeding plans is thought to possibly be beetles, although that isn't confirmed.
Identifying Golden Poison Dart Frogs
If you're ever near a Colombian rain forest, stay far away from the dangerous golden poison dart frogs in the wild. Golden poison dart frogs are usually pretty easy to spot, with striking solid coloring that can be yellow, white, light green or orange. Yellow coloration is particularly widespread, hence their "golden" name. Mature specimens are usually around 1 inch long and weigh under 1 ounce. Males are usually smaller than females.
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Phyllobates Terribilis
- National Geographic: Golden Poison Dart Frog
- Aquarium of the Pacific: Golden Poison Dart Frog
- World Association of Zoos and Aquariums: Golden Poison Frog
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Phyllobates Terribilis
- Deadly Poison Dart Frogs; Lincoln James
- Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust: Golden Poison Frog
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images