Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Blue Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates azureus

Blue poison dart frogs live on a few isolated rainforest islands in South America. They eat ants, termites, tiny beetles and other small insects they find among the leaf litter. They are called poison dart frogs because indigenous people living in the rainforest used the skin toxins to “poison” the tips of their darts and arrows.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: The blue poison dart frog is found in a few isolated “rainforest islands'' in the Sipaliwini savanna of southern Suriname. These old forests are relatively cool (71.6-80.6 degrees F, cooler at night), and humid with running rocky streams. 

At the Zoo: USS Antiquities cave


Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Blue poison dart frogs are highly vulnerable to both human activities (illegal collecting) and natural factors such as drought, due to their extremely small range and isolated populations. They are capable of becoming Critically Endangered or Extinct in a very short period of time if these factors are not held in check.


In the Wild: ants (source of its skin toxins), termites, tiny beetles, any other small insect it may find among the leaf litter 

At the Zoo: for adults:  pinhead crickets, wingless fruit flies; tadpoles receive crushed, flaked fish food and algae


Life Span

In the Wild - Unknown, but estimated around 5 years; In Human Care - around 15 years

Fun Facts about the Blue Poison Dart Frog

  • The blue poison dart frog was first discovered in 1968.
  • It is a relict species, meaning it used to have a wider range and larger population. The current habitat is remote and difficult to reach, so accurate population monitoring is a challenge.
  • Poison dart frogs are also known as poison arrow frogs. Their toxins come from the ants or other insects they eat in the wild.  Captive-bred poison dart frogs are not toxic due to their different diet.


National Aquarium in Baltimore, (2015). Blue poison dart frog. Retrieved Oct. 28, 2005, from National Aquarium in Baltimore Website:

Walls, J. (1994). Jewels of the rainforest – poison frogs of the family dendrobatidae.  Neptune City, NJ:  T.F.H. Publications, Inc.


Updated June 13, 2023
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