5 Most Poisonous Frogs on the Planet!
Some of the most stunning plants and animals on the planet are often the most dangerous, their beautiful markings or colours are warnings to potential predators, this is particularly relevant to these tiny, but deadly frogs.
So here we look at some of the smallest creatures in the world, who are also the most toxic, with one of them able to secrete enough poison to kill up to 20 grown men!
5Splash Back Frog
This stunning looking frog can be found living in the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador and comes in an assortment of red, orange and yellow colours with a black underbelly. However, don’t be fooled by its brightly coloured appearance, because it is deadly and is the most toxic member of its species.Its skin secretes enough poison to kill as many a five human.
As with most poison frogs, the lipophilic alkaloid toxins in the frog’s skin glands serve as a chemical defence against predators when they feel threatened and not as a weapon to kill their prey.
So despite being under 2 inches long, and beautiful to look at, touching it is not recommended!
As with many of these frogs, it is being threatened by deforestation and illegal collection, although in captivity it is relatively common.
4Golden Poison Dart Frog
The Golden Poison Dart Frog is one of the most toxic creatures known to man, and this tiny 2-inch frog has enough poison to kill ten grown men. Unlike snakes the frog is not venomous, it will not bite you, but the poison it secretes from its skin is deadly.
It lives in the rainforests of the Pacific coasts of Colombia and comes in a variety of lovely colours including bright yellow, orange or minty green
The frog’s skin is thickly coated in an alkaloid toxin, and if it comes into contact with a human, it prevents their nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, leading to heart failure.
For many years the indigenous Embera people of Columbia, have used the frog’s poison on the tips of their blowgun darts for hunting.
They live on a diet of flies, ants, termites and beetles, and it is thought it’s this diet that contributes to their toxicity, as Poison Dart frogs raised in captivity who do not come into contact with these insects, never develop poison.
This tiny frog grows to just over 20mm and lives in tropical lowland forests of Costa Rica and Panama, its colour is primarily bright orange, with blueish/ green underparts, although depending on its environment it can change to an olive green colour.
The male Granular Frogs are very territorial and as well as their poison have a warning call, and if a fellow male dares to encroach on their patch then they will fight.
The frog’s breed in the rainy season, with the female laying up to four eggs. Curiously it’s the male who will guard the eggs and keeps them moist by urinating on them. When they hatch it is the female who then takes over and carries the tadpoles one by one to small water holding plants or tree hollows, she will then feed the tadpoles by with unfertilised eggs.
Sadly as with a lot of these creatures, the Granular Frog is on the vulnerable list due to the destruction of rainforests.
The Southern and Northern Corroboree are species of ground dwelling poisonous frogs native to the Southern Tablelands of Australia. There colouring differs depending on what region they live in. The Southern frog is slightly larger and with a distinct black and yellow pattern whereas the Northern is smaller and has narrow yellowish-green stripes against a black body.
The Corroboree is the only poisonous frog that can produce its own poison rather than obtain it from their food source. Also, they don’t usually breed until they are fully mature which can take fours years. During the breeding season, the male frogs will attract females to his burrow with a song and will mate with as many as ten females.
These frogs are different to other frogs as they also hibernate during the winter months, and their poison needs to be ingested to be fatal.
Sadly both species of Camporee frog have declined in recent years in particularly the Southern variety, and in 2004 it was estimated there were only 64 adults and that are currently listed as one of Australia’s most endangered species. The Northern variety has fared a little better although is still listed as an endangered species.
The reason for their drastic decline is thought to be due to an infection caused by the chytrid fungus that destroys the frog’s skin and is nearly always fatal, although in recent studies it is believed the little frogs are fighting back, and are acquiring an immunity to the fungus.
1Phyllobates Bicolor Or Black-Legged Dart Frog
This frog is the second most toxic of all the poisonous frogs and is thought to be the most intelligent. It resides in the lowland forests of the Choco area in Western Columbia along the Pacific River. It is one of the largest dart frogs and can reach up to 50mm. It ranges in colour from orange to bright yellow and often has a black or blue tinge to its legs.
Although it is slightly less toxic than the Golden Dart, it is still deadly if touched, and has been known to of caused human fatalities. Just 150 mg of its poison is enough to kill a person.
Similarly to the Golden Dart, it’s poison is used for hunting darts. This is extracted by holding the frog over a fire to make it sweat out the poison through its skin.
Unlike some other frogs, both the male and female are vocal and make a high pitched bird-like sound. They also frequently breed throughout the rainy season, and both parents guard the eggs until they hatch, then the tadpoles will wriggle onto either of their parent’s sticky backs and be transported to a suitable water source, where they are fed until they become froglets.
The toxins these frogs secrete are of great interest to medical science, due to its incredible potency in particular for aesthetics, muscle relaxants, cardiac stimulants, and the control of irregular heartbeats.
These frogs are sometimes kept in captivity, but are not toxic as the chemicals in their diet that makes them toxic are only available in the wild.
The Black Legged Dart Frog is currently listed as a near threatened species, mainly due to habitat depletion.