Which is poisonous but cannot kill people

The poison dart frog: beautiful & deadly

They are small, brightly colored - and could even kill a person: With their tricks and deception, poison dart frogs are among the survivors in the rainforest. One of them is even considered to be one of the most poisonous animals in the world

The name is program

Poison dart frogs owe their name to the hunting habits of the Chocó indigenous people in Colombia. The rainforest inhabitants soak their arrows with the poison that the frogs secrete when touched. However, only three of the 170 poison dart frog species are life-threatening for humans. And all three occur exclusively in Colombia.

The most poisonous of them is the terrible poison dart frog (scientific name: Phyllobates terribilis). Its deadly secretion is called "batrachotoxin" - it paralyzes muscles and breathing. A tiny amount is enough to kill a person as soon as they come into contact with the poison. The Chocó natives in Colombia therefore pick up the frogs with the help of leaves in order to dip their arrows into the secretion. The most poisonous frog in the world is bright yellow and, with a length of 5 centimeters, is one of the largest in its family.

The other species, all of which live in South and Central America, are less dangerous, at least for us. They “only” cause fever and gastrointestinal cramps.


Survival by tricking and deterring:

With poison

Why are these frogs so poisonous? Quite simply: you make yourself inedible. A great trick for a frog that is only a few centimeters small and surrounded by enemies in the rainforest. The poison forms in the proteins of its cells, or the frog eats poisonous insects such as ants and beetles and excretes the poison again through the skin. So he not only keeps greedy birds, snakes or other enemies at bay, but also defends himself against annoying fungi and bacteria on his skin.

With shock colors

The lethal injection is of course of no use if a snake has no idea that the coveted prey is fatal: before it dies, the frog is already devoured. That is why it scares off attackers as early as possible with bright colors: the warning colors of the poison frogs shine in signal red, yellow, orange, blue - often joined together to form clear patterns with black borders.

With climbing skills

Another name for the family of "poison dart frogs" is "poison dart frogs". Usually these amphibians live on the forest floor and near bodies of water. But in order not to deliver the tadpoles to predators in dangerous rivers or ponds after they hatch, the parents transport their offspring on their backs to safe, small bodies of water. To do this, they also climb plants and even trees. The rain-filled leaf roots or the funnels of bromeliad leaves high up in the treetops turn into a mini aquarium. The growing tadpoles eat insects that have fallen in, or their mother feeds them eggs. Gradually the tail recedes, the lungs emerge, and finally a finished frog rises from the bromeliad - and makes its way to the rainforest floor.


Last updated: May 9, 2021