The most poisonous animal on Earth is not a snake or a spider but a frog – the Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis - terribilis= terrible). The adults of this species are golden or pale metallic green. The approximately 5cm ( - one fo the largest of the Dendrobatidae family. Most Poison Darts are small – sometimes less than 1,5 centimetres.) long frog has enough poison to kill 10 adult humans and only 2 micrograms (!!!) of this lethal toxin is capable of killing a human (2 micrograms is about the size of this full stop here --> . (yes, this small)).
Two white Golden poison dart frogs. In their natural habitat, white is a rare color making those frogs clearly visible.
P. Terribilis uses poison only as a self-defense mechanism and not for killing prey. They are called “dart/arrow frogs“ because some native American tribes use the venom to poison the tips of their blow-darts. Dart frog poison prevents nerves from transmitting impulses which can lead to heart failure.
Thanks to its bright colors and extreme toxicity, these frogs have virtually no predators, except for humans and probably one species of colubrid snakes. Yet, it is listed as an endangered species because its habitat is restricted to a specific area in Colombia with a size less than 5000 km2.
The biggest threat to its existence is the clearance of forests for agricultural development, the planting of illegal crops, logging and
human settlement, but also international trade of frogs.
According to Wikipedia, the “P. terribilis is considered to be one of the most intelligent anurans. Like all poison dart frogs, captive terribilis can recognize human caregivers after exposure of a few weeks. [...] Golden poison frogs are curious, bold, and seemingly aware of the fact that they are next to invulnerable, making no attempt to conceal themselves and actually flaunting their beautiful colors to intimidate potential predators.“
Golden Dart Frogs are said to be very social. They typically live in groups of four to seven and constantly interact with each other: “They communicate not only with their calls, but also with gestures. Push-up movements are a sign of dominance, while lowered heads seem to signal submission.“ (Wikipedia)
It is interesting that poisonous frogs tend to lose a lot of their toxicity when bred in captivity, even if they were originally caught in
the wild. This is mostly because of the change in their diet. They are poisonous because of the specific insects they eat in the wild.
Although Dart Frogs can be kept as pets, they are not recommended for beginners (no wonder why).
And now some examples of colored frogs:
A mint green Golden poison dart frog
A Golden poison dart frog in yellow
Blue poison dart frogs
Strawberry poison dart frog
Red-backed poison dart frog
A dyeing poison dart frog
A phantasmal poison frog (a species of poison dart frog)
A red-banded poison frog
Fully grown (!!!!) corroboree frogs
Argentine horn frog
Red-eyed treefrogs in light blue shades