Golden poison frog – also known as golden frog, golden poison arrow frog and golden dart frog. Phyllobates terribilis is the most poisonous frog known.
WHERE DOES IT LIVE:
It lives in the humid rainforests of the Pacific coast of Columbia in the Cauca Department, which is the southwest part of the country of Colombia in South America.
HOW BIG IS IT:
It is the largest of all of the poison dart frogs. They can grow up to 55cm when fully grown adult and the female is usually larger than the male of the species.
IS IT ONLY GOLDEN?
There are other poison dart frogs. There is the blue poision dart frog and the strawberry poison dart frog. These frogs though are from the Dendrobatid family, as opposed to the lethal phyllobates terribilis. The golden frog is the most poisonous frog of them all.
HOW LONG DOES IT LIVE?
It lives around 10 years.
HOW IS IT SO POISONOUS?
The average golden frog carries about 1mg (milligram) of poison in its body. This is enough to kill up to about 20 human beings. So, if you think about that for a minute, one gram, just one gram, would be enough to kill about 15,000 human beings. That is quite unbelievable don’t you think?
The poison that is responsible for this is called batrachotoxins. Thankfully this poison is only found in the most poisonous frogs of which there are only three, the mint-green, the golden and the orange. The golden is the most common, the mint-green and the orange being a lot less known. The consumption of small insects and arthropods in the wild is what appears to enable this frog to produce batrachotoxin, and scientists believe that a small beetle, eaten by the frog, which produces a similar toxin to the frog, may well in fact be even more deadly than this, the most poisonous frog. This beetle is thought to come from the family, Melyridae.
The lethal poison is kept within the skin glands of the frog and this is its way of keeping predators at bay. There is only one predator that might be able to escape death from the most poisonous frog of them all, and that would be the snake, of the water snake variety, also known as ‘corals’. They are resistant to the poison, but they are not immune to it totally. The only thing safe from the poison from these frogs, are the poison frogs themselves, oh and some varieties of poisonous birds from Papua New Guinea.
DOES IT KILL EVERYTHING?
Yes – everything apart from other similar frogs and a certain type of snake. There is no known cure. It you are affected by the poison, then unfortunately you will die.
AS A PET:
The frog kept as a pet, will not be poisonous at all, you will be relieved to hear, as the diet that they eat is from food which is easily bought in pet stores and which does not contain the ingredients and alkaloids that the frog would eat in the wild and therefore does not enable to frog to produce batrachotoxins. However, a frog that has been captured well from the wild will be able to store its poisonous abilities for years.
IS THERE A CURE?
No. Unfortunately, there is no known antidote to this toxin.
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