Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dart Frogs Hatched!

We have a new exhibit in the Reptile House featuring 15 juvenile Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frogs. These frogs were hatched between January and May and cared for behind the scenes. The eggs were laid on exhibit by our adults, carefully collected and placed within a warm, humid incubator where they hatched into tadpoles after a few weeks. Once the tadpoles were swimming freely, we placed them into a small, filtered aquarium, where they ate a steady diet of algae and grew. Once the tadpoles had developed all four legs, they were moved from an aquatic tank to a terrestrial tank in which they could grow even larger feeding on springtails, which are tiny invertebrates. The young frogs are now half the size of their parents and eating fruit flies and small crickets.

We are often asked if these frogs are poisonous like their name claims. The truth is, the frog’s toxicity is only found in their wild cousins; Dart Frogs get their ‘poison’ from the prey that they eat in the wild, such as ants, and small termites. Those bugs have toxins that the frogs can absorb. Here, the crickets and fruit flies carry no toxins, rendering the frogs poison-less!

While this species of frog is not endangered, their status in the wild is uncertain, as deforestation is a continuing threat.

A quarter for scale.