Poison Dart Frog Care guide & Info

red blue dart frog

Wish to keep a pet frog? You must! Frogs are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and are great display creatures. 

They have relatively low maintenance costs compared to other pets. Poison dart frogs are one such colorful option from the amphibian world.

Unlike the other reptiles, these creatures are active during the daytime. Guess what! You get to see them thrive right into the front of you.

Poison dart frogs are small in size and generally found in the lush green rainforests. As the nomenclature suggests, these species are extremely poisonous in the wild. They usually eat poisonous plants and ants in the wild.

This makes them highly poisonous. Are they safe to pet at home? Can it be dangerous? Relax! While in captivity, they lose their toxicity and become harmless due to diet variations. 


The captive-bred species are commonly available at pet stores, reptile shows, and local breeders. Stick to the captive-bred options rather than the wild-caught ones.

For novice keepers, you may encounter many potential issues with the wild-caught species. Establish a good relationship with expert breeders and knowledgeable vendors. They will assist you in follow up and further support.

Poison Dart Frog’s Lifespan

Various reports suggest these frogs have survived more than 20 years while in captivity. The typical lifespan of the dart frogs goes up to 4 – 8 years.

yellow dart frog

Poison Dart Frog Size

Dart frogs are usually classified into 2 to 3 size divisions. Mostly medium to larger sized ones are popularly taken as pets. As they become adults, there grow up to 1 1/2 inches lengthwise. They grow up to an average size of 2 1/2 inches during their lifetime.

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Infants and young ones that are 6 weeks old will only measure up to 1/2 inches. For beginners, it can be difficult as they are delicate and tender. Go for ones that are around 4 – 5 months old. Adult species are well established and easier to care for!

Young ones are usually kept in small translucent containers or sweater boxes. A dimension of 12 inches width and length would be perfect. You can place leaves for hiding inside the box. Maintain moist substrate using sphagnum moss of long fibers. Do not keep more than two frogs in this container. 

Based on the size of the frog, the size of the enclosure should also differ. Once they become well established, you can place them in bigger tanks. During the initial 6 weeks, it’s advisable to place him in temporary housing.

A plastic container is the best option as it has the same natural living conditions. Lack of ventilation helps to maintain higher humidity levels. Don’t fret! They get plenty of air daily when you open the lid once or twice each day. As the sides of the container are translucent and not clear, it offers a sense of security to these creatures. In case you go for a clear container, remember to keep it near the wall or cover it with paper.

As they grow bigger, they prefer spacious and tropical terrariums. A front opening container or a standard fish tank are great options. For appropriate nurturing and growth, do not overcrowd them into a single tank. Never place more than two species in a 10-gallon container. Research well before putting them together. As some are territorial and did not thrive well in groups.

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blue poison dart frog

Poison Dart Frog Care Guide

1. Substrate

Several soil mixed substrates are available for this species. Of which, non-organic substrates are a great option in wet enclosures.

Organics substrates give off a swampy odor as they become breeding grounds of fungus. This is because they rot quickly. Placing natural aquarium gravels is also a wise choice. It not only gives a natural setting but, once decorated, becomes a great hide spot. 

2. Temperature and Lighting

Even though their natural living conditions are hot rainforests, they are usually seen on the forest floor. Here the temperature is cool with dim lightings. 

In their enclosure, moderate temperatures are usually preferred. Temperatures ranging between 72 – 80°F are perfect during the daytime. More than 85° can turn to be fatal.

Special light settings are not required for these frogs. As they only require sufficient lighting to see their food. For a capacity of 10 to 20 gallons, a 20 W bulb would work great. With brighter lights, the container will look great. Avoid incandescent bulbs to prevent the tank from getting overheated. 

3. Feeding the Poison Dart Frog

As insectivores, these frogs consume mainly on tiny live insects. The standard choices are crickets and fruit flies. As fruit flies are the first option, you may have to cultivate them as well. Growing the flies is easy and takes only a few minutes each week. Remember to dust the food items with vitamin supplements and high-grade calcium once in a while.

Not sure about the quantity they consume? Since they eat tiny items, they will consume in huge amounts. Feed the young ones with 20 – 30 fruit flies daily. Young orders can consume 50 to 75 for each day. Feed them 4-5 days every week. 

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Once they become older with huge bellies, you can skip a few days of feeding without any worries. They can even go on a hunger strike for a week if they are in good shape.

4. Water

Dart frogs hardly drink any water. Instead, they absorb moisture through their skin. Wish to keep them happy? Maintain high humidity of 100% with the help of Thermo hygrometers. In case you find them in hiding or inactive, reduce the ventilation as it can dry the air. Water bowls are not required for these guys. All you need is high levels of humidity to keep them active and hydrated!

5. Poison Dart Frog Handling

Small and delicate skinned! 

Hence it’s recommended to treat these creatures as hands-off reptiles. Handling them briefly to move them around is fine. Cupping them beyond a few minutes can be harmful to their health. Do not like catching them? Well, you can grasp them loosely and place them in a holding container. Remember that the captive-bred ones are poison-free. However, it’s advisable to wash your hands after handling them.
Are you planning to keep these frogs as pets? We highly recommend you to go through this blog. Gather as much information you can before you get a poison dart frog. For further queries, we are here to help.

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