Dart Frog Overview
Ease of Care: Intermediate
Size: Roughly 1.5cm – with a few of the species growing up to 6cm.
Life Span: Up to 10-20 years in captivity with larger of the species living longer
Background Temp: 21-26⁰C (70-80⁰F)
A humidifier will aid hydration and humidity when used throughout the day. Being diurnal, they are active during the day. A fresh body of de chlorinated water is still always needed within the Terrarium despite being mostly a land-based species. Most Dart Frogs do well in small groups of 4 or 5 providing you give them plenty of room. The use of a plant growth light as well as UVB will not only benefit the Dart Frog but plants also. They are a fragile species and will deteriorate if the proper care isn’t
Basic Equipment Needed
A humidifier will aid hydration and humidity when used throughout the day. Being diurnal, they are active during the day. A fresh body of de-chlorinated water is still always needed within the Terrarium despite being mostly a land-based species Most Dart Frogs do well in small groups of
4 or 5 providing you give them plenty of room. The use of a plant growth light as well as UVB will not only benefit the Dart Frog but plants also. They are a fragile species and will deteriorate if the proper care isn’t adhered to and Misting as needed
As with any animal the bigger the sized enclosure the better, we would recommend that a single dart frog should be kept in a minimum enclosure size of 45cm x 45cm x 60cm accommodating for an arboreal Terrarium setup.
Dart Frogs are ectothermic (cold-blooded) so all their heating requirements come from an external source. Heating a Terrariu using a heat mat on the outside side of the enclosure will help or as an alternative you could use an overhead incandescent bulb. Both should always be used in conjunction with the relevant thermostat: A Mat Stat or Pulse Stat for the Heat Mat, A Dimming Thermostat for the bulb. A thermostat is designed to regulate the temperatures within the setup by placing the thermostat probe in a suitable location. The power to the chosen heat-source will reduce/stop once the set temperature is achieved within the setup, preventing any overheating. Once the temperature has stabilised and it is safe to do so the heat source will return to full power. To safely regulate the temperatures we recommend placing the thermostat probe as close to the main basking area as possible and set accordingly. Ensure the
Dart Frog/s cannot touch or lie on it as this would affect the readings. For the heat-mat, place the probe in the same area as the heat-mat but on the inside of the Terrarium.
Being a diurnal species (active during the day) UV Lighting is required for the wellbeing of the Dart Frogs. For a Terrarium, a T5 UVB Kit ShadeDweller 7%, 8w placed on the mesh lid will provide the required UV exposure to the frogs on the surface of the Terrarium as well as benefiting the plants within. To aid the continual growth of the foliage in the Terrarium, as well as providing more full-spectrum lighting to the Terrarium inhabitants.
Diet & Water
Being a small insectivore species, a varied insect diet is ideal. Young Darts will eat daily feeding for a few minutes only on suitably sized feeders such as Fruit Fly, Springtails, and Micro-crickets. Adults will feed approximately three times a week with just a few suitably sized insects each time (similar size to the young darts). For hydration, regular spraying of the enclosure, as well as the Humidifier and supplied water source should offer ample hydration options. Using a hygrometer will aid keeping the humidity in range when checked regularly.
Substrates & Decoration
Personal choice will dictate how to decorate the surface of your Terrarium. A jungle or forest substrate will help with the humidity. Use a mixture of
live moss and leaf litter to finish your forest floor. For decoration, real plants and a fresh de-chlorinated shallow water source are a must. The water source could be either a water bowl or a shallow body/pool of water created in the habitat in conjunction with a suitable water conditioner. The use of live plants offers plenty of exposure options to the Dart Frog by breaking up the heat and UV reaching the surface of the Terrarium whilst also providing an array of shaded areas.
Temperature & Monitoring
As a guide, ambient daily temperatures should be in the range of 21-26⁰C (70-80⁰F) as any higher could cause stress and in turn potential illness. A night-time temperature drop is needed – around 20⁰C (71.6⁰F) throughout is a good range – with all light and heat being turned off (12 hour on/off
day/night cycle). Make sure temperatures are checked regularly to
ensure there are no extreme fluctuations. The use of a digital probed thermometer placed at the top and bottom of the terrarium will help monitor these temperatures. Ensure the Dart Frog/s cannot touch or lie on it as this would affect the readings. To achieve 80-100% humidity levels throughout the day we recommend regularly spraying the enclosure as well as using live plants, cork, and a soil-based substrate. The use of a humidifier running a few times daily will also aid humidity and a hygrometer will help to monitor.
Dart Frogs require additional supplementation within their diet to aid overall health. We recommend using a Calcium, magnesium, and multivitamin mix regime as needed instructions.
Health & Hygiene
We recommend the following cleaning routine to keep your Dart Frog healthy and happy. On a daily basis you should change the water in the bowls, misting the enclosure down at least twice a day. Spot clean any mess up and check all branches and plants for breakage and stability.
Once a week you should disinfect the water bowl, agitate substrate to prevent any bacterial build up. Wipe down glass/mesh/walls.
Once a month you should do a full or partial substrate change, carefully wipe down the enclosures and decor with a reptile safe disinfectant ensuring you do not spray near the frogs.
Always wash your hands, surfaces and equipment with warm water and disinfectant immediately before and after handling or feeding your Dart Frogs, their food, enclosure and any other equipment. Dart Frogs are a fragile species. They can quickly deteriorate if the setup parameters are not adhered to. All captive bred Dart Frogs are non-toxic despite the common name of ‘poison dart frog’. The toxic / poisonous trait is only present in the wild.
The Five Animal Welfare Needs
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.
Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise.
Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.
Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.
Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.
Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.