Other common names: Blue Poison Arrow Frog; Okopipi; Blue Dart Frog
Scientific name: Dendrobates azureus
“Electric blue”, “screaming blue” and “neon blue” are often used to describe this breathtakingly-beautiful little frog. In addition to being clad in colors hard to describe with words, the Blue Poison Frog is also quite large (for a Poison Frog), active by day, bold, and relatively easy to breed…what more could an amphibian enthusiast ask for!
The Blue Poison Frog is limited in range to the Sipaliwini Savannah, 1,150 feet above sea level on the western slope of the De Vier Gebroeders Mountains in south-central Suriname, South America. It inhabits patches of wet forest isolated from one-another by dry grassland. They are largely ground-dwelling, but sometimes climb trees to heights of 20 feet or more.
Appearance / Health:
The Blue Poison Frog’s body and head are sky blue in color and spotted with black, while the limbs are brilliant dark blue. With an average length of 1.3-1.5 inches, it is one of the larger Dart Frogs. No two Blue Poison Frogs are identical in pattern or color, so breeding results are always exciting!
Well-cared-for pets may reach 20+ years of age. Calcium deficiencies and other nutritional disorders are the most commonly-encountered health problems.
Behavior / Temperament:
You can expect to see many interesting behaviors from your Blue Poison Frogs, as they are very bold, and active by day. Unlike most frogs, they are always foraging, exploring, interacting, and otherwise on the go.
As is true for all amphibians, they should be handled only when necessary, and then only by being urged into a plastic container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Be wary of escapes when moving any Dart frog – they are slippery little rockets! While they do not produce their typical virulent toxins when fed standard captive diets, other skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
Blue Poison Frogs do best in terrariums planted with ferns, bromeliads, and other plants. They will also climb about on sloping driftwood and rocks. A densely-planted tank will provide you with opportunities for interesting observations, as the frogs will feel secure and behave normally. A pair can be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium; larger tanks can support small groups.
These terrestrial frogs drown easily. One-half inch of de-chlorinated water should be provided in a shallow bowl or sloping pool. Poison Frogs will escape through even the tiniest of openings, so the terrarium’s cover must be secured with clips. A mix of “Eco-Earth” (coconut husk), peat moss and topsoil works well. Sheet or sphagnum moss should cover the substrate to help retain moisture.
Low levels of UVB light, and UVA, may be of some benefit. Temperatures should range from 72-80 F; several days of temperatures above 85 F may prove fatal. Humidity of 80-100% should be maintained by keeping the moss layer damp and spraying the terrarium heavily. If your home is unusually dry, consider a small mister.
Many keepers have done well by providing their frogs with 10-day-old crickets, flightless fruit flies, and springtails, but a more varied diet is preferable. Ideally, your pets should be offered as many small insects as are available, including flour and bean beetle larvae, (available commercially), termites, ants, aphids and “meadow plankton” (insects gathered by sweeping through tall grass with a net). Native insects should be collected or trapped in pesticide-free habitats, and with care to avoid toxic and biting/stinging species.
Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.
Poison Frogs have quite large appetites and should be fed every day or two.
Mature males may be distinguished from females by their larger front toe pads and smaller, thinner builds. Breeding occurs year-round, and may be stimulated by a month long period during which time misting is reduced significantly (but this is not always necessary).
The Blue Poison Frog’s courtship behavior is most fascinating. Males trill and buzz to potential mates, which then follow their partners about, stroking them on the back and head. Both sexes may also circle one another and stamp their feet. Females compete for males, and may devour the eggs of others.
Eggs will be deposited on petri dishes or plastic leaves left below small, dark shelters. Females produce multiple clutches of 2-6 eggs at nearly any time of year. Males, sometimes assisted by females, guard the eggs.
De-chlorinated water in which almond leaves (available online) have been soaking should be added to the petri dish so that it just touches, but does not cover, the egg mass. Newly-hatched tadpoles are carried on the backs of either parent to small pools of water. Tadpoles may be reared within the terrarium if pools are available, but most folks remove them.
The tadpoles are somewhat carnivorous and are best housed individually in small plastic containers. No aeration is necessary, but a bit of water should be poured-off and replaced every few days. The tadpoles hatch within 14-18 days and readily accept fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, algae tablets, and freeze-dried Daphnia. At 75 F, metamorphosis is achieved in 70-90 days. The tiny froglets should be offered flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, springtails and other minute insects.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
bright blue, colorful amphibians, beautiful species, friendliest frogs, best frogs
water containes chemicals, fruit fly cultures, beginner amphibian keeper
great family bonding, handheld spray bottle, live crickets, constant high humidity
Kermit with a bite.
I can honestly say that I've never actually thought I was going to own poisonous dart frogs. My mom was a rather impulsive person and when she went into the pet store and saw these little guys (Green and blue), she instantly knew they'd look incredible in her office at work since that's largely where she entertained clients. The little guys lasted three months there before she brought them back home and set them up in our living room with one motive in mind - making me the primary caregiver. And lightening up the place.
Their diet wasn't one that was easy to cater to in a small town. We'd have to go into the pet store and directly order a box of 2,500-5,000 crickets (Which set us back $50.00-75.00 every few weeks) for these bright beauties to chow down on. Then from there we'd need to carefully open the box and try our best not to have crickets planning their great escape from the box... Which they did at one point and even with three cats and a dog, we were hearing crickets chirping in triumph of their escape.... For WEEKS.
As you can imagine, with dart frogs, you didn't exactly buy them to handle them. I've always been a much more hands on person, so the fact I couldn't cuddle these guys (and didn't exactly want to) or take them out for walks, wasn't all too thrilling.
They are beautiful to look at though, they're a huge conversation piece, and let's face it, they're a pretty cool pet to own if you're into the whole look but don't touch thing. Usually they always preferred laying out on the foliage we provided in plain view, rarely retreating into areas we couldn't see.
Providing a perfect habitat didn't feel like the easiest feat because these little guys were our first aquarium pets and we relied on the internet and local pet store for most of our help. It was a trial period with a lot of things though and ended up with hundreds of dollars worth of equipment, foods, and other things going to waste.
My favorite, personally, was when they'd go for a bath in their water dish because they seemed the most active then. I'd also highly recommend getting a little fog/humidity machine for them because they enjoyed that a lot. All and all, they're gorgeous but if you've got A.D.D, or are much more hands on like myself, you might not be into the whole dart frog thing. Also, crickets suck, especially when they get out of the box, remember that! It'll happen, no matter how careful you are..
From KangarooCourt Feb 3 2014 2:29PM