Although poison dart frogs may be dangerous in the wild, the truth is these happy tiny amphibians are perfectly safe in the home. In captivity, poison dart frogs do not eat the toxic plants that cause them to be dangerous. As such, these tiny little animals can make excellent pets. With minimal maintenance, a beautiful habitat, and a remarkably long lifespan, a poison dart frog can be a perfect choice for your next pet. Taking care of a poison dart frog requires specialized habitat and feeding requirements, essential for optimum care and wellbeing.
What Type of Habitat Do I Need?
One of the most significant benefits of owning a poison dart frog is the small, self-contained habitat these animals need. Most poison dart frogs can live happily in a conventional 20-gallon or 29-gallon aquarium. These aquariums should provide enough space to keep two or three frogs of the same species. It is possible to add more frogs of different species to a larger area.
Your dart frog will need plenty of live plants, wood, rocks, and substrate to explore. Live plants not only help to give your habitat interest, but they can provide valuable coverage and security for your frogs. Your habitat will also need a soft substrate to plant the live plants and provide a smooth ground for your frogs to explore. Be sure to have some water features in your habitat. This feature can be as simple as a large bowl of water or as elaborate as a paludarium type arrangement for your frogs.
The most important care requirement for your dart frog is to ensure your frogs have the proper temperature. To be happy, poison dart frogs need to be kept in habitats between 60 degrees and 80 degrees F. Be sure to have a thermometer in their habitat to monitor the temperature closely. If the temperatures get too high or low, you can cause stress which can hurt your frogs.
What Do Poison Dart Frogs Eat?
Poison dart frogs are carnivorous and need to be fed live insects to keep them healthy. Live insects are essential for poison dart frogs to give them the necessary vitamins and nutrients to survive. Luckily, all the insects these tiny amphibians like to eat are readily available at the pet store. Try feeding your poison dart frog a mix of isopods, anuran wards, fruit flies, springtails, or crickets. For some owners, it makes sense to breed these insects at home to constantly have a live supply of available food for their pets.
How Long Do Poison Dart Frogs Live?
Compared to other small animals you can keep as pets, poison dart frogs can live an incredibly long time. For most species of dart frogs that are kept as pets, expect about a 10 to 15-year lifespan. Proper care, diet, and habitat will go a long way in keeping these fantastic little pets healthy and long-lived.
Some larger dart frog species, called tincts, have been known to live about 20 years. The D. auratus frogs have been recorded to live well over 25 years. If you consider a poison dart frog as a pet, be sure to keep its incredible longevity in mind. This pet will be around for a foreseeable feature, and you must be committed to a lifetime of care.
What Does Ongoing Maintenance Look Like?
Taking care of a dart frog is pretty easy but not completely maintenance-free. You'll need to spend about thirty minutes a week cleaning their habitat. You'll want to remove any uneaten or dead bugs, wipe and clean the glass, trim the live plants, and potentially mist the area to keep high humidity and moisture content. The more frogs you keep in an enclosure, the more extensive the maintenance and cleaning routine.
How Much Will A Dart Frog Set Up Cost?
Although this is a relatively low-maintenance pet, it is certainly not a cheap option. Expect to pay between $30 and $70 for a single poison dart frog. More sought-out colors or species will be more expensive. It is always best to buy captive-bred frogs for your hobby. Not only are these frogs healthier and hardier, but they do not deplete natural frogs in the wild. Setting up a vivarium can be a considerable upfront expense. Expect to pay upwards of $700 for a fully outfitted habitat. There are poison dart frog aquarium kits available that are all-inclusive that will cost about $400.
What Are the Benefits of Owning a Poison Dart Frog?
Although a poison dart frog may be an unusual pet, keeping this specialized but unique animal has several significant benefits. Some great advantages to owning a poison dart frog include:
- Hypoallergenic - Compared to furry animals that collect dander, a poison dart frog is a perfect pet for those who suffer from allergies.
- Quiet - Poison dart frogs are quiet pets that make minimal sounds. You never have to worry about hearing dogs barking or birds squawking when you have this tiny amphibian pet.
- Self-Contained - This pet makes for a perfect option if you live in a small apartment or house. Their entire habitat is contained in one enclosure, so they are perfect for people living with pet restrictions or in small spaces.
- No Smell - There is no smell associated with a poison dart frog enclosure and habitat and instead offers a soothing and beautiful green space. Your poison dart frog habitat can fit anywhere in your house without having to worry about making the rest of your home smell from food, bedding, or urine.