Acquired: Online breeder / seller
Posted May 03, 2014
The Blessed Poison frogs are brilliant in color an unique to their species, as they are active by day and more bold than most typical frogs. They are small tree dwelling frogs native to the Amazonian part of Peru and surrounding countries.
The reason these frogs are bold is because their toxins discourage other animals from eating them. The brilliant colors are from the toxins, which come from the food they eat in the wild. Captive Blessed Poison frogs do not have the toxins, due to the food their are fed in captivity, but they retain their bright colors.
Young frogs are particularly nervous, but adult frogs kept in a well planted terrarium are visible much of the day. They might even "call out" to you if they see you bustling about the room their terrarium is in.
The Blessed Poison frogs are relatively heat tolerant, but keeping them in mid 80 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for more than a few hours will be fatal. The same goes for temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The frogs can die or suffer long term health conditions. I recommend 70-80 degrees during the day with a slight decrease in temperature at night no less than 65 degrees.
The terrarium set up is quite complex. The heating needs to be built in from the start. I use a long snake heating cable buried in the substrate in a room controlled by a thermostat.
The terrarium should be taller than wide. A larger terrarium will proved a more stable environment for these frogs. The Blessed Poison frogs are not territorial so there can be more than one in the habitat, provided there is enough space.
Humidity control is essential. These frogs tolerate limited ventilation, so maintaining a humidity level of 80+% is not difficult.
This is where it gets complicated. Due to the high humidity, it is vital to have a drainage layer underneath to prevent water-logged substrate. If the substrate rots, it can release harmful gases and eliminate helpful organisms.
For the Blessed Poison frogs' substrate, I advise the use of Atlanta Botanical Gardens mix (ABG mix) or homemade clay substrate. ABG mix is available commercially from frog vendors. This substrate is rarely cleaned or changed as the organisms that live it it will break down food and animal waste.
For lighting, I use a dome fixture with a daylight spectrum bulb with a color temperature between 5,000 and 1,000 Kelvin. I have the light on a timer for 12 hours of daylight 365 days a year, which is the light cycle found at tropical latitudes.
Poison Blessed frogs eat wingless and/or flightless fruit flies. Don't worry, they won't fly around your house if they escape. Feed the frogs every two days, 20-30 flies per frog. Do not overfeed them because if the frogs don't eat them all, the remaining flies will stress them by climbing on them. Over time this could lead to the frogs getting sick and dying. The flies need to be dusted with supplements, rotating calcium at one feeding and multivitamins at another feeding.
Note: Thanks to the effort of the Canadian conservation driven company Understory Enterprises, U.S. specimens of the Blessed Poison frogs are entirely captive bred and of legal origin. This company actually uses its profits to fund frog conservation and habitat conservation.
The Blessed Poison frogs are truly remarkable, but not a good frog for first time frog owners. For the best possible experience in owning one, it would be best to talk to a breeder or successful Blessed Poison frog owner for learning what is the best equipment for a suitable terrarium and how to properly care for these animals.