Bumblebee Arrow Frog Care

Bumblebee Arrow Frog Care

Bumblebee Arrow Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas )

also known as the Yellow-banded Poison and the Yellow-headed Poison Dart Frog, and Bumblebee Poison Frog

Popularity: Make good pets, but better for observing than handling.

Origin: Northern South America

Native habitat: Tropical rain forests

Size: 1.5 – 2 inches

Lifespan: 10+ years

Appearance: These frogs are named for their resemblance to a bumblebee. They have a bright yellow coloration with varying amounts of broad black stripes and/or spots that extend over the whole body. They have glandular adhesive pads on their toes, which aid in climbing and positioning, and they have a short, sticky tongue, which extends to catch prey.

Diet: Insects, like flightless fruit flies

Activities: Diurnal; it is also the only poison dart frog to estivate (a form of hibernation) during dry spells

Defense Mechanisms: They warn off rivals by emitting loud calls; they have one of the loudest calls among poison dart frogs. It can be heard from some distance and is described as an innocent-sounding, birdlike trill. They are toxic to other animals in the wild.

Misc characteristics: These frogs are very territorial. They live in small groups in the wild, and they will attack neighboring groups with astonishing fierceness. They use their loud call to attract members of the opposite sex. In the wild they are toxic, but because of a change in diet, they lose their toxicity in captivity.

BASIC CARE

Housing

An adult pair needs at least a 15- to 20-gallon enclosure. They are primarily terrestrial, but they will utilize vertical space in a properly designed enclosure. An all glass aquarium is recommended because it will help to retain the necessary humidity level.

Furnishings

Create hiding spots by including live or artificial plants. You also need to provide visual barriers for enclosures housing multiple frogs. It is good to include driftwood, cork bark, and various other natural items.

Substrate

The substrate should help to maintain high humidity. Pulverized coconut husk is best. You can mix it or layer it with other types of barks and/or mulches until you find the blend that works in the enclosure. High-quality sphagnum moss will further aid in keeping frogs moist. Keep the moss fresh and damp.

Heating

The temperature needs to be between 75 and 80 degrees F. during the day, and no lower than 70 degrees at night. Prolonged exposure to overly high temperatures can be fatal to Bumblebee Arrow Frogs. Room temperature in most homes is sufficient. If heat is needed, use an under tank heat pad designed for reptile use or a low wattage nocturnal (red or purple) bulb.

Lighting

A consistent source of quality light is recommended for the frogs and is necessary if there are live plants in the tank. A low output 2-percent UV light is sufficient. These fluorescent bulbs should run the length of the enclosure and be bright enough to provide a steady photoperiod and to support plant life. Make sure to provide some shaded hiding spots for the frogs. Be sure to provide a definite day/night cycle by having a 10- or 12-hour dark period.

Humidity

Optimally humidity for the frog is above 80%. The appropriate substrates and water bowls help, but the entire enclosure needs regular misting with room temperature water to keep humidity high. Misting twice a day is usually sufficient.

Feeding

Adult Bumblebee Arrow Frogs eat a variety of tiny insect prey including pinhead to 1/4 inch crickets. Smaller frogs need smaller food items. Flightless fruit flies are the staple for nearly all captive Arrow Frogs, whether adult or juvenile. Juvenile should be fed twice per day; feed adults daily. Before serving, dust the prey with a calcium supplement complete with vitamin D3. Only offer as much food as the frogs will eat in 20 minutes, and then remove it after that time. Otherwise, excess feeders may reproduce in the enclosure and be a source of stress to frogs that aren’t hungry.

Water

Keep a large, shallow water bowl for the frogs. It should be shallow enough to allow the smallest frog to sit in comfortably and keep its head well above the surface. Use chlorine-free, metal-free water. Replace the water every day, and disinfect the bowl once a week.

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