How do I care for Poison Dart Frogs?

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Poison dart frogs are frogs of the Dendrobatid group. Colombian Indians utilize the 3 species of poison dart frogs to poison arrows for hunting. Some of these frogs are extremely poisonous in the wild, but loose much of their toxicity when kept in captivity due to the change in their diet. In the wild, the frogs eat ants that eat poisonous plants, while in captivity they don’t get to eat these ants. In captivity, poison dart frogs are harmless. These frogs range in adult size from 2 and half inches to some that never get bigger than your thumbnail! These frogs can enjoy a long life (there are reports of these frogs living for over 20 years in captivity). As long as a few things are kept in mind when you are planning the acquisition of your new pets, Poison Dart Frogs make great pets.

For those of you planning to keep poison dart frogs as pets, we strongly recommend reading the blog “Before You Buy“. There are also several relevant articles available under the Josh’s Frogs How-To Guides sections “Poison Dart Frog Care” and “Poison Dart Frog Caresheets“.


Poison Dart Frogs should be housed in what is called a naturalistic vivarium. A naturalistic vivarium is an aquarium that has been designed to create a tiny ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there are plants, soil, and a drainage layer to keep the soil from becoming completely saturated. A naturalistic vivarium creates a balance in which the animals waste is used by the plants. This balance creates an environment where the maintenance involves adding food for the frogs and cutting plants out as they grow. No removal of waste and/or tank cleaning is necessary!

The rule of thumb is that you should house one frog per five to ten gallons of tank space. More space is always better than less space. Giving your frogs as much space as possible leads to healthier frogs, bolder frogs (you’ll see them more in a bigger tank), and allows you more options when designing the terrarium. Josh’s Frogs STRONGLY recommends against mixing different species or morphs of frogs. These poison dart frogs occur in unique, separate populations in the wild, and have different adult sizes and levels of aggression.

For tips on how to construct a naturalistic vivarium, please visit the terrarium construction section of Josh’s Frogs How-To Guides.


Before you get frogs, you need a Temperature and Humidity Probe (the Exo Terra ThermoHygrometer sold by Josh’s Frogs is ideal). This tool is a necessity. High temperatures and low humidity can kill a frog quickly. Your humidity should stay above 80% all the time and your temps should stay between 70 and 80 degrees. This is best accomplished in an all glass aquarium with a glass lid. Screen lids will be unable to maintain the correct humidity in the majority of setups, without frequent misting. For the vast majority of setups, no heater will be needed as the lighting will create enough heat to keep the terrarium slightly above room temperature.

For instructions on how to heat or cool your vivarium, please refer to the blogs “Heating Your Vivarium” and “Keeping it Cool“.


Poison Dart Frogs eat fruit fliesspringtailsisopodsrice flour beetlesphoenix worms, and other small bugs. Before you get your frogs, you need to start culturing their food items so you get the hang of it. There is nothing worse than not having enough food to feed your frogs. You will want to dust your bugs with a multi-vitamin and calcium supplement every other feeding. At Josh’s Frogs, we recommend rotating between Repashy Calcium PlusRep-Cal Calcium with D3, and Rep-Cal Herptivite.

For information on various feeder insects, visit the Feeder Insects section of Josh’s Frogs How-To Guides.


Josh’s Frogs has a huge amount of information available on the HOW-TO GUIDES section of our website, which can be accessed from Simply click on the How-To Guides button on the yellow menu across the top of the page, and start browsing.

Josh’s Frogs also offers the best customer support in the industry. We can be contacted by phone at 1 800 691 8178, via email at, and through the live chat feature on the website.

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