Poison dart frogs
Thursday 24 February 2005
For those who are fond of all things colourful, the vibrant dart frogs at London Zoo are a sight to be seen
Native to Central and South America and introduced to Hawaii, there are approximately 122 different species of poison arrow frog. The Reptile House at London Zoo is home to six different species - phantasmal, blue, green and black, golden, dyeing poison dart frogs and the Trinidad stream frog.
These amazing frogs secrete a highly toxic poison through their skin. This ability is a direct result of enjoying a tasty diet of ants and other poisonous insects in the wild. Their brightly coloured markings are an indication of toxicity and act as a defence mechanism to warn away predators. The patterns are unique on each individual frog, similar to a human fingerprint.
Our resident poison dart frogs here at London Zoo are fed a combination of crickets and fruit flies every day. As this non-toxic diet differs from that eaten in the wild, captive bred frogs tend to lose their poisonous properties. However, their bright and vibrant colours remain, as you will see in our picture here!
Many species of poison dart frog have extremely vulnerable populations because they are highly specialized for living in particular micro-climates. Consequently, even the slightest change to their environment can be detrimental to the species. Many species are also confined to tiny, isolated patches of habitat which are shrinking all the time and may disappear within a few years.
Come and pick your favourite colour frog when you're next at London Zoo!