Dyeing Poison Frog

(Dendrobates tinctorius)


Dyeing Poison Frog IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

With its 3-6 cm body length it is a big dendrobatid. It is a terrestrial, rather social species with bright blue-black arms and legs, paler, almost sky-blue and nearly unmarked sides, and a head and back covered with both large and small round black spots or bands on yellow or white ground. However there exist many colour varieties. Males have noticeably larger finger discs than females. The female lays about 2-6 eggs, attended to, in most cases, by the male, but also sometimes by the female. The eggs hatch within 14 to 18 days, and the tadpoles are carried to water pools within bromeliad or other plant leaf axils or crevices by both the female and the male.

Did you know?
The frog has its name from a belief that, if one pulls out the feathers of a chicken (or a parrot) and applies then its skin with the secretion of the skin of the Dyeing Poison Frog, it will grow very colourful new feathers. This has however not been substantiated.It seems that D. tinctorius is rather afraid of water: If the terrarium is sprayed, they avoid the wet spots and in nature the colour varieties tend to be separated by rivers or lowland wet forests or swamps. Dyeing Poison Frogs can reach 15 years.The population trend is stable (Red List IUCN 2012)


Name (Scientific) Dendrobates tinctorius
Name (English) Dyeing Poison Frog
Name (French) Dendrobate à tapirer
Name (German) Färberfrosch
Name (Spanish) Rana flecha amarilla y azul
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
© Vladimír Motyčka



Range French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil
Habitat In humid relatively cool forests (temperatures dropping to 22-27 °C at night), preferably on hills up to 500 m, hiding under roots, moss or stones. The soil there is rather dry and covered with dead leaves. It usually stays on the ground, but is also found at heights up to 5 m in trees.
Wild population Widely distributed, presumed large population. Locally common in French Guiana, elsewhere it is also common but patchily distributed. Its range includes a few protected areas. The species breeds however relatively easily in captivity.
Zoo population 881 reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Dyeing Poison Frog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
© Rolf Kolasch

Why do zoos keep this animal

Neotropical frogs are threatened by habitat distruction, disease and other factors. Zoos and aquariums keeping these species want to build up reserve populations and to raise awareness of the global amphibian crisis. Several zoos have also linked their ex situ activities with involvement in in situ conservation.