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Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue Poison Dart Frog
Dendrobates tinctorius azureus

Bright blue animals are a rarity in nature and this species is unquestionably one of the most spectacular. Few dart frog collections exist without Blue Poison Dart Frogs being present; a must for any serious keeper.

OriginSouthern Suriname
EnvironmentSavanna, Creeks, Rolling Hills and Primary Forest
Adult SizeUp to 5cm
SuitabilityNovice keeper
LifespanUp to 10 years

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What does the Blue Poison Dart Frog look like?

Predominantly blue in colour, bearing irregular patches of black. This two-tone colouration creates a spotted effect, with larger markings present across the dorsal and smaller spotting on the flanks. The sides of the face and legs are unspotted and often a darker blue compared to the rest of the body.

This is a large species of dart frog with adults reaching sizes of up to 5cm, they are angular in shape, have long forelimbs and a prominent sacrum. This gives the frog an almost hunched appearance.

This species is not sexable until at least 10-12 months of age. Usually females are the larger of the two sexes and become longer and wider. Males develop wider front toe pads and have a less defined back arch compared to that of females.

Contrary to popular belief, Blue Poison Dart Frogs are not poisonous in captivity, scientists believe this is entirely diet based and studies have shown that captive bred specimens never develop this toxicity.

Where are Blue Poison Dart Frogs from?

This species is native to southern Suriname and is found in the Sipaliwini Savanna. The natural habitat consists of savanna, creeks, rolling hills and primary forest. From wild observations, the frogs are found specifically in the localised forest islands around the Vier Gebroeders Mountain. They favour the thicker vegetation and are usually found close to the forest floor, among leaf litter and occasionally climbing trees.

How do you keep Blue Poison Dart Frogs?

House this species singularly, in sexed pairs or sexed trios of (2.1). Upon maturity, females can be aggressive towards one another, so it usually best to house one female per enclosure. However, if enough space is provided they will often form their own territories. Provide a glass terrarium of at least 45 x 45 x 45cm (18 x 18 x 18”) to house an adult sexed pair, and larger, if there are more of them. Young frogs can be reared in plastic terrariums or smaller glass enclosures.

Maintain temperatures between 22-26°C (72-80°F) during the day, with a night-time temperature no lower than 18°C (65°F). This can be done several ways, but often the easiest way (when using glass terrariums) is to use overhead canopies and reflector domes with suitable basking bulbs.

As these dart frogs are found mostly in primary forests, its best to keep them at humidity levels of 70% or above. This can be achieved easily by using a hand, pump sprayer, or automated rain system. This species won’t tolerate low humidity for long periods, especially if no other water source is available. Lastly, remember that all tap water must be treated with a good quality dechlorinator.

There are no known special lighting requirements for dart frogs, however providing a low level UVB bulb will likely be beneficial to them. Also, if your intention is to grow live plants in the terrarium you must provide suitable LED lighting for them to able to thrive.

For substrate select something that can be used to replicate a forest environment. There are a range of peats, mosses and bark chips available and when combined, will often make a good base substrate for dart frogs. In addition, leaf litter, branches and cork bark pieces, can be used to create a suitable habitat.

The last essential piece of habitat is the type of plants you wish to use. Choose between artificial or live plants depending on the environment you wish to create. Artificial plants are easier to maintain, but live planted tanks offer less obvious benefits, such as increased humidity levels and more natural hiding places.

Feed babies and juveniles daily and adults four to five times a week on a varying diet of, fruit flies, bean weevils, springtails, tropical woodlice and micro crickets.

Lastly and most importantly, use a good quality dusting powder to provide essential calcium and vitamins to your frogs. For ease, apply this is to fruit fly instead of other feeder insects, this can be done by knocking them into a spare live food tub or empty cereal container and gently shaking until the flies are lightly coated in powder. Offer a good vitamin powder once a week to your frogs and calcium on every other feed.

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