Learning about Rainforests

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Poison-Arrow Frog

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Poison-Arrow Frog

Poison-arrow frogs are social frogs found in Central and South America. They are known by their bright colors which warn other animals that they are poisonous. Its poison is one of the most powerful known and can cause paralysis or death. It is so potent that one millionth of an ounce can kill a dog and an amount smaller than a grain of salt can kill a human. One frog carries enough poison to kill about 100 people. Native hunters use it on the tips of their arrows which is how the frog got its name.

Poison-arrow frogs are about the size of a man's thumbnail (less than one inch). The tiny frogs lay their eggs on leaves. When the tadpole hatches, it is carried on one of the parents' back to a bromeliad where the parents feed it small insects, ants, spiders, crustaceans, and tiny water animals. The mother frog may also lay infertile eggs as food for the tadpoles.

Poison-arrow frogs are beautiful to look at. Their colors vary from red to yellow to blue. The enemies they encounter are large animals (including humans) who may step on them. Though poison-arrow frogs carry a deadly poison, they are usually harmless if left alone.