Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Golden Poison Dart Frog

By now you should know that I definitely have some favorites in the animal kingdom. I love gigantic birds. I love anything that moos or bleets, and I definitely love anything that has enough natural toxin in them to kill a man without even trying. Morbid? Maybe, but totally awesome nonetheless. So today we're going to talk about one of the single most toxic animals on the planet: the Golden Poison Dart Frog.

(Image Source)
There are actually a whole mess of Poison Dart Frogs, all of whom are found within the Dendrobatidae family and all of whom are (you guessed it) poisonous. The Golden is the king of them all. This itty bitty two inch frog has enough venom in it to kill ten men. The toxin is actually secreted through the skin, and can cause severe problems if held. If you ingest the poison or have it come in contact with an open would... well, then you are in even more trouble. The poison actually stops nerve impulses, causing  heart attack or fibrillation.

Poison Dart Frogs get their name from the fact that indigenous tribes use their poison to coat their darts when hunting. Because of their toxicity, Golden Poison Dart frogs have only one natural predator; a snake that has developed a resistance to their poison. Interestingly, they aren't born toxic. Instead, it is the diet of the frogs that contribute to their toxin producing ability. The eat alkaloid-rich meals that allow them to create it. Frogs that live off a different diet in captivity are essentially harmless.

Though Golden Poison Dart Frogs seem small in comparison to us, they are actually pretty large within their own family. As previously stated, they can grow to about 2inches in length, and have a very uniform golden color to them, with some small populations being green or orange. They can be found in lowland Rainforest areas on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Habitat loss has caused them to become endangered.

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