Amazing Frogs – Toxicity Edition

Today’s post is the second in a series I am calling Amazing Frogs.  The first post in Amazing Frogs was the size edition.

 This post will feature the most toxic frogs.  Now without further adieu – the top 12 most toxic frogs.


Giant Leaf Frog aka Monkey Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)

This frog is unique because it secretes a mild poison that has been used by some Amazonian tribes to put on a burn or cut.  The secretion gives the user a sense of refreshment and is even said to have certain opioid effects.  This frog is a target for biopiracy as the toxins secreted may help cure AIDS, cancer and other diseases.

They spend their days at the top of the trees, which are often exposed to dry air with lots of sun so this secretions comes in handing to prevent themselves from drying out.  Atypical of most frogs, this is one frog that does not typically jump. The movements of the Giant Leaf Frog are slow and deliberate.

250px-Phyllomedusa_bicolor   Image Sources:Wikipedia Giant_Waxy_Monkey_Frog   Image Sources:Wikipedia


Wild Fact’s – Giant Leaf Frogs


Dyeing dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius)

This frog reaching approximately 2 inches in length is one of the largest poison dart frogs.  Some of the poison from these frogs were used by local tribes for hunting purposes, however it was also believed that if you pulled out feathers from a parrot and rubbed some of the poison from the Dyeing dart frog, the feathers that grew back would be red or yellow instead of green and therefor would be highly prized.  These frogs can come in many different colors and predators quickly associate the bright colors with bad taste and pain after ingestion.

tinc2Image Source:Wikipedia


Rosamond Gifford Zoo



Red-backed Poison Frog (Ranitomeya reticulatus)

Named based on the redish-orange color on its back, this frog has a toxicity of ‘moderate’.  It can do some serious damage to humans and can kill animals such as chickens.  This frog is safe from most predators due to its bright colors.  These frogs derive their poison from their diet and do not manufacture its poison itself.

urlImage Source:Wikipedia




Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio)

The bright red skin of this frog gives the strawberry portion of their name.  The Strawberry Poison Dart Frog gets it’s poison from eating mites.  It can be found in Costa Rico and other parts of Central America.    The poison is pretty toxic stuff.  It will cause sweating and a burning sensation, but it is still pretty weak as evidence by it being #9.  The poison was often used by tribes on throwing darts.

Oophaga_pumilio_(Strawberry_poision_frog)_(2532163201)   Image Source:Wikipedia




Blue Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius azureus)

This frog is actually a type of Tinctorius frogs who are at #11, however this one in specific has a much higher toxicity than the rest of its relatives.

tincImage Sources:Wikipedia




Lovely Poison Frog (Phyllobates lugubris)

This frog is typically found in the tropical regions of Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama.  These guys produce a relatively low amount of poison on average, however the poison that it releases is a type which causes muscle contractions resulting in heart and respiratory failure.  Unlike most poisonous frogs, this frog has a rather dull appearance.  The lovely poison frog also has a copycat frog named the False Poison dart frog which mimics the appearance, however it is not poisonous.

8058909882_76c1208efe_bPhoto by: John P. Clare



Golfodulcean Poison Frog (Phyllobates vittatus)

These frogs can reach up to 1.3″, while still rather small, this size allows them to carry more poison.  Just a lick of the frog can cause a numb sensation on the tounge, followed by a tightening sensation in the throat.  Ingestion of the frog will cause mild seizures, severe pain and even paralysis.

112637572_18136f3e26_oImage by: Olivier





Splash-backed Poison Frog (Ranitomeya variabilis)

It’s secretions are said to be capable of killing 5 humans.

5880440484_50a34e424d_bPhoto by: John P. Clare




Phantasmal Poison Frog (Epipedobates tricolor)

This tiny frog at less than an half inch long packs a powerful punch.  This frog is endangered in its native Ecuador and has been in only 7 known locations so far.  It’s skin carries a toxin that has been used in medicine and is 200 times stronger than morphine with no known side affects.  This toxin is capable of knocking out large water buffalo and killing humans.  Scientists are hoping a diluted version of this toxin can be used as a heart stimulant, pain killer and muscle relaxer.

urlImage by: Wikipedia





Kokoe Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates aurotaenia)

This little frog is like an acid in its effects, seeping through wounds and pores to cause symptoms ranging from unbearable pain and fever to seizures and paralysis.  So far there have been no confirmed human deaths, but fatalities are suspected.  Tribesmen impale the frog on a stick and hold it over the fire so the toxins come to the surface and then they rub the toxin onto their arrow tips.  The Kokoe frog has been seen as very intelligent and can remember locations & distinguish humans.

Pbaurotaenia2Image by: Wikipedia




Black-legged Dart Frog (Phyllobates bicolor)

Only 150 micrograms of this poison are needed to kill someone and human fatalities have been confirmed.  This toxin causes fevers, excruciating pain, seizures and death by respiratory & muscular paralysis.

Phyllobates_bicolor_frog_on_soilImage by: Wikipedia



And the #1 more toxic frog is:


Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

As little as 2 micrograms of their toxin can kill a human.  It has enough poison in its skin secretions to kill 10 to 20 men or 2 African bull elephants.  This frog is rumored to have killed people who have touched it and chickens and dogs have died from contact with a paper towel it walked on.  This poison works by blocking the body’s nerve impulses, contracting muscles and ultimately causing heart failure.  When it was used for poison arrows, the arrow tips would stay deadly toxic for up to two years.


Image by: Wikipedia


Toxic Animals Around the World

Odd Stuff Magazine

Bonus Frog:

Corroboree Frog

This frog is found in Australia and is easily recognizable by the yellow stripes.  Unlike all the other frogs on this list, these frogs can actually produce the poison by themselves and are not reliant on their diet.  It has been known to be lethal to mammals if digested.  It is believed that due to loss of habitat and recreational four wheeler use there is less than 200 individual frogs left in the wild.

6809052056_2d60f25a82_zPhoto by:Australian Alps


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4 thoughts on “Amazing Frogs – Toxicity Edition

  1. What an interesting post on frogs. I love their coloring, especially the Blue Poison Dart Frog. Nature sure is amazing, isn’t it? Some of these little guys can cure, some can kill. Awesome. Thanks for the enlightenment. Peace

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