Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates leucomelas

The yellow-banded poison dart frog of South America is also known as the bumblebee poison dart frog due to its yellow and black markings.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: Neo-tropical rainforests of Venezuela, Northern Brazil, Guyana and Southeastern Columbia. Yellow-banded poison dart frogs spend their time in humid and damp places such as amid vegetation or leaf litter. 

At the Zoo: USS Antiquities Cave

Conservation Status: Least Concern

While not considered in danger, they are potentially threatened by agricultural chemicals, logging and the exotic pet trade if CITES* protections are lifted.
*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species


In the Wild: Ants, termites, tiny beetles, crickets, spiders, tadpoles, giant damselfly nymphs.

At the Zoo: Pinhead crickets, wingless fruit flies. 

Life Span

In the Wild – 5-7 years; In Human Care – 10-15 years.

Fun Facts about the Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frog

  • Yellow-banded poison dart frogs are not toxic in human care. Their skin’s toxins in the wild come from ants and other insects they eat in their natural habitat. 

  •  Yellow-banded poison dart frog males take care of the eggs, ensuring they stay moist before hatching. When tadpoles hatch, the father carries each one into the forest canopy and  deposits it in a pocket of water stored by the cup-like leaves of bromeliads (the plant family that includes pineapples).

  •  Yellow-banded poison dart frog tadpoles communicate with the adults by making vibrations in the water to make their presence known. This prevents adults from placing a second tadpole in the same water source. If a second tadpole is placed in the water, the older one usually eats the newcomer.

  •  The bright coloration of poison dart frogs signals to potential predators that they are not good to eat.


Brennan, L. 2005. “Dendrobates leucomelas” (on-line), AnimalDiversity Web.  Accessed October 28, 2005 at  

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2018. Dendrobates truncatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T55205A85886974. Downloaded on 22 June 2020.

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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