Strawberry Poison Dart Frog

The gorgeous Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates Pumilio) - when I came across this frog I was captivated by it.  I have simply got to see one of these in its natural habitat - it's on my Bucket list.   It is cute beyond belief, and a fiesty little character!  It is only 2cm (an inch) long, beautifully and brightly coloured and a noisy cheerful little frog. 

fighting strawberry poison dart frogs
  • This frog lives in the lowland Rain Forests in Central America, eastern Nicaragua, Costa Rica and northern Panama.
  • It is a terrestrial frog
  • It eats small invertebrates such as ants and forest mites
  • These little frogs are a huge tourist attraction around the accommodation centres in Costa Rica  where they hop around in their own funny, jerky little way in amongst the undergrowth.
  • They are not considered to be at risk at the moment, thank goodness, and in the rainy seasons there can be as many as 800 of them per 2.5 acres.

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog - behaviour

These are noisy little frogs, and the male strawberry poison dart frog can chirp away daily all year round, with a loud chirp that can last for as long as 30 seconds.

He is a territorial frog and will defend his territory bravely.  

If another male was to trespass onto his 'patch' he will quite aggressively fight and wrestle with the intruder on and off for ages - they do this in front of visitors at the tourist accommodation as mentioned above!  They will wrap their 'arms' around each other and try with all their might to push each other to the ground.  

What usually happens is that the intruder will eventually be pinned to the ground - after a few minutes he will be allowed to get up and leave quietly - hopefully he will have learnt his lesson, and won't be back!  

All this talk about feisty male strawberry poison dart frogs - to be honest, the female is just as feisty  and is especially so around breeding time.  She too can be involved in these brawls with intruders on their patch!  A little frog maybe - but not one to be messed with!

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog - breeding habits

In terms of breeding, there is not really a particular time of year when they will breed.  Females, when they are ready to lay eggs, will listen out for a calling male that they are attracted to.  

The female will then approach the male - who will lead the female to a well-prepared site - most usually a big leaf that has been cleaned.

There is no amplexus involved with this couple

All that happens here is that the couple will sit close together but facing in opposite directions, with their cloacae touching.

The female lays her eggs (up to five) and she can lay these eggs every week. After the eggs have been laid and then fertilised, this frog couple will come back every day to their eggs.  The male will urinate over the eggs to keep them moist.

After hatching, a week or so later, the mother lets the tadpoles get on to her back and she carries them up to some suitable plants a few feet off the ground - she will place each tadpole into a bromeliad (plants that usually are found in tropical climates)  if it was empty when she arrived there.

The mother frog will return every day to visit her carefully placed tadpoles, and she will lay unfertilised eggs for her young to feed on.  

The Strawberry Poison Dart Frog mother will only feed her own tadpoles.

The tadpoles take about 50 days to metamorphose - they are usually measuring in at around 10mm at this time, and are dark blood-red in colour.

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