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Green and Black Arrow Frog Care

Green and Black Arrow Frog Care

Green and Black Arrow Frog (Dendrobates auratus)

also known as Green and Black Auratus, Green and Black Poison Dart Frog and Green and Black Poison Arrow Frog, and Mint Poison Frog

Popularity: Make good pets for observing, but not handling. They are a relatively shy.

Origin: Central America to Northwestern South America

Native habitat: Rainforest

Size: 1-2 inches

Lifespan: 10-15 years

Appearance: The frog typically has mint-green coloration; however, they can be forest green, lime green, emerald green, turquoise, pale yellow, or cobalt blue. Many also have splotches of dark colors ranging from wood brown to black. It has small sucker-like discs on the ends of its toes for climbing.

Diet: Insects

Activities: They are primarily ground dwelling frogs that occasionally climb to seek out new habitat or food. Adults hunt, court and sleep in trees, but youngsters are too small to jump far enough to span the distances between trees, so it returns to the ground to travel.

Defense Mechanisms: This frog is highly toxic and can make a human ill. It will only release its poison if it feels threatened. It loses its toxicity in captivity due to a change in diet. This has led scientists to believe that the green-and-black poison frog actually takes its poison from the ants it feeds on.

Misc characteristics: Females are territorial and aggressive towards each other, often competing for monopoly of the resident males. Males care for the tadpoles, and the males that take the best care of the little tadpoles are often in high demand among females. Males will also defend territories, but not to the same degree as females.


Housing and Furnishings

A 10-gallon terrarium is acceptable housing for a pair of frogs, though larger is better. A cage that is 18″ x 18″ x 18″ is the ideal size to house multiple frogs. The frogs need high humidity, so substrate and furnishings need to contribute to high humidity and withstand the moisture rich environment. Thus, live plants are more suitable than artificial ones as a source of hiding spots. The more hiding spots available, the more secure the frogs feel. Suitable hiding spots that will encourage natural behaviors such as calling and mating activity include coconut domes, bamboo hollows, small caves, tortoise shell hides, rock outcrops, and naturalistic bromeliads and tillandsias. Keep at least 50% of the floor space open for the frogs to navigate and hunt their tiny prey items.


Use a substrate that can retain moisture. You can use orchid bark, but it needs frequent misting and constant monitoring to ensure it is not becoming soggy and stagnant. Better options include eco earth, plantation soil, cocosoft, sphagnum moss, green sphagnum moss, or compressed forest moss. Combining different beddings is an excellent way to create the ideal substrate and encourage a small amount of decomposition, which will allow prey items such as spring tails to propagate within the tank. Use of small amounts of vermiculite can help keep the bedding oxygenated and fresh.


Lighting for these frogs does not need to be any more intense than the lights needed to help maintain and grow the plants. For cages 12″ or less, a simple 2.0 compact fluorescent is enough to light up the cage and provide enough light for the plants inside to grow. For taller cages, use a 5.0 compact fluorescent. Higher quality strip lights will provide light across the entire length of the cage.


Daytime temperature ranges should be between 77 degrees F and 86 degrees F, with drops into the low 70s at night. A 40-watt red bulb should provide enough heat for the average terrarium, and during the day, a 40-watt day bulb can be used to increase the ambient temperature within the cage. These frogs will thrive at the average room temperature of 78 degrees, without any additional heat whatsoever.


These frogs need humidity around 75% or more. If your frogs never seem to leave their water bowls, the relative humidity is too low. When a frog lives in a cage with high enough humidity, it seldom needs to seek out the moisture of a water bowl. A fogger is an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to increase humidity within the cage. A hand spray bottle or pressure sprayer is also a good option to mist or spray the cage to keep humidity up. Mist the cage at least once daily, and to encourage calling and mating behaviors, misting up to 3 or 4 times a day is recommended.


Green and Black Arrow Frogs have small mouths and require small prey items. This includes fruit flies, spring tails, rice flour beetles, and pinhead or 1/8″ size crickets. Give them a wide variety of prey items. Unusual prey items that are good include aphids, large fruit flies, fire brats, house flies, alternate species of crickets such as gryllodes, and various alternate species of springtails. All feeder insects should be dusted with a high-quality calcium powder containing D3, and once or twice a week a reptile multivitamin should be given.

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