What Do Poison Dart Frogs Eat?

Brian Gratwicke/CC-BY-2.0

In the wild, poison dart frogs feed mainly on insects like ants and termites, and on spiders, while a captive frog’s diet consists primarily of crickets. Like other frogs, poison dart frogs capture prey with their tongues.

Poison dart frogs live on some Hawaiian islands and in the rainforests of Central and South America. Their name is based on the highly-poisonous secretions they emit from their skin. The poison is so toxic, several native tribes once used it to poison their darts. They are brightly colored as a way of alerting predators that they are poisonous, and their colors may even provide camouflage in the shadows.

Unfortunately, many species of poison dart frogs are endangered due to habitat loss. People fear these frogs due to their toxicity, but not all species are deadly to humans. The most deadly frog to humans is the golden poison arrow frog. This frog produces a neurotoxin known as batrachotoxin, which is strong enough to kill many animals and humans. Captive poison arrow frogs are not poisonous, however, as they are specifically kept on a diet that is free of the poison producing alkaloids. Despite their restricted diet, those in captivity have a lifespan longer than 10 years.