Dart Frog FAQs
How long do poison dart frogs live for?
Though this is not very well documented, dart frogs in captivity have been known to live up to 10-20 years with optimal care.
Are dart frogs poisonous?
In the wild yes, but in captivity they are harmless.
Dart frogs obtain alkaloids from their prey. We do not provide them with the types of prey which would facilitate this (such as ants or termites).
Are dart frogs difficult to care for?
Dart frogs do not require care that is difficult. However, it is important to make sure the proper parameters are provided for them to thrive. If you provide an optimal enclosure for them and make sure they get adequate supplementation they are very low maintenance. For more info see sections below on caring for your dart frogs and designing your enclosure.
How do I care for dart frogs?
Dart frogs thrive in the low 70s to lower 80s. They tend to be comfortable at room temperatures so it is very easy to cool or heat a room for them. Their tanks tend to be a few degrees hotter than the room they are in. They can live fine slighly outside of this temperature range, but sudden swings in temperature or extremely low/high temperatures can be fatal for the frogs. An infrared temperature gun can be very useful to measure the temperatures inside their enclosures.
A primary food source for dart frogs is Drosophila fruit flies. There are several varieties readily available and easy to culture. The most common include are Hydei and Melanogaster flies, which are selectively bred so they cannot fly. Hydei are a bit larger, so if you are caring for a smaller frog Melanogaster is preferred.
In captivity we provide a less diverse and nutricious diet than the frogs get in the wild (mainly because flies alone are not very rich in nutrients). To offset this we dust their prey items in vitamins such as Calcium and occasionally Vitamin A. Repashy Calcium Plus' and 'Repashy Vitamin A Plus' are well known dart frog supplements that I use to raise very healthy frogs and froglets. Dusting flies with Calcium plus everyday and Vitamin A once every two weeks is a good routine. It is important to keep these supplements in the fridge so they do not degrade quickly also make sure to replace them every 8 months or so.
Dart frogs are very sensitive creatures and it is important to avoid handling the frogs unless it is necessary. Handling the frogs can lead to stress and their skin is permeable which allows contaminants such as oils to pass from our hands into their bodies. If you do need to handle the frogs it is recommended to wash your hands well, or use food safe gloves to avoid hurting the frog.
It is important to use quality water for the frogs. RODI/distilled/spring water are all ideal options. Poor quality water (such as tap) has chemicals and other contaminants which will cause various issues for the frogs and can even lead to the frog perishing.
Providing a good enclosure for the frogs is important to make sure they are healthy and comfortable. See section below on the basics of designing an enclosure.
How would I design my enclosure?
The size of an enclosure will vary depending on the species of frog and how many frogs you will be keeping. An 18"x18"x18" enclosure is a recommended minimum, but will not be enough space for larger frogs.
If you are not sure how large of an enclosure to get I am happy to assist.
LEDs are a good option because they are energy efficient and do not produce an excess amount of heat which could be problematic for the frogs.