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Blue Dart Frog (Dendrobates azureus) Care Sheet
Blue dart frogs are small brightly colored blue frogs only reaching 1.5 inches when fully grown. They are only found in southern Suriname, which is located South America. The natural range of these frogs is very small. It is believed that they only inhabit an area in Suriname that is roughly the size of a couple of football fields. In the wild these frogs can be found near water and inhabit moist dark areas. Wild dart frogs secrete a substance on their skin that, when ingested, can kill predators. These toxins are found in the native insects that the frog eats and the chemicals are absorbed into the skin of the frog to use as their defense. In captivity, dart frogs lose their toxicity due to their diet of captive insects. Blue dart frogs are territorial and will fight with each other to defend their territory against any rivals. Breeding begins during the raining season and females will follow the calls of males. If multiple females show up to the males calls they will fight with each other. Once mating takes place the pair will produce up to ten eggs. The eggs will become tadpoles after two weeks and will develop into frogs within three months.
Blue dart frogs need to be maintained between 75-80 degrees during the day. Nighttime temperatures can drop into the low 70’s. During the summertime you probably won’t need any supplemental heating. However, during the winter months you should probably use a low wattage heat light. A red or other dark colored light can be used at night and these lights will not disturb your frogs day and night cycle. UVB lighting is not necessary but is recommended for dart frogs. The UVB light will benefit any live plants and enhance the colors of your frogs. Humidity is important and you should mist your cage everyday. Ideally, the humidity needs to be maintained between 80-90 percent.
Dart frogs can be housed comfortably in 20-29 gallon or larger terrariums. The cage should include plants (live or silk), branches and a water bowl. Do not use distilled or purified water for any amphibians. Never place a cage near a window where sunlight can directly shine on your cage. Cages placed in direct sunlight can easily overheat and ultimately lead to the death of your frog.
We recommend using bark, Zoo Meds’ Eco Earth, or coconut bark. The substrate should be deep enough for potted plants if you choose to setup a live vivarium.
Dart frogs should be fed appropriate sized crickets and fruit flies. Ideally, you should feed your dart frogs 3-5 times each week. These frogs also need a vitamin/mineral supplement and you should dust its crickets at least twice a week.
Cleaning and Handling
The terrarium should be cleaned as necessary. Any fecal matter or left over food should be cleaned out several times a week. Fresh clean water should be provided at all times. The inside of the terrarium can be cleaned out with an appropriate reptile cage cleaner, we recommend Natural Chemistry’s Healthy Habitat. Dart frogs should not be handled, its better to watch them and enjoy the behavior of these beautiful frogs.