Can You Keep Dart Frogs As Pets? [Pros & Cons]

Are Blue Dart Frogs Good For Beginners

Many frog lovers want to keep dart frogs being amazed by their marvelous skin. Because of the tag of ‘poison’ dart frog, many of them back off from owning a dart frog. Hence, you might wonder whether you can keep dart frogs as pets or not.

You can keep dart frogs as pets. In captivity, they lose their toxic trait due to their changed diet. These dart frogs can be excellent pets because of their low maintenance, easy breeding, fewer requirements, inexpensive rearing, and so on.

To clear your confusion, I’ve shed light on both pros and cons of keeping dart frogs as pets. In this article, you’ll know about the diet, handling, temperament, habitation, and other required information regarding dart frogs.

So, you must not miss this article if you hesitate to decide to keep pet dart frogs.

Before going into the details, let’s check out the full overview of poison dart frogs in the beginning.

Overview Of Poison Dart Frogs

Scientific NameDendrobatidae
Common NameDart poison frog, poison dart frog, poison arrow frog
Size0.75-1.5 inches
DietInsectivores
TemperamentPeaceful and docile
Communal BehaviorTerritorial and solitary
Toxicity statusNon-toxic in captivity
Care levelModerate
Price$30-$70
LifespanOver 10 years

Pros Of Keeping Dart Frogs: Why Should You Own Dart Frogs As Pets?

Among varieties of species of frogs, it’s pretty difficult to choose one to keep as a pet. If you have confused about keeping dart frogs, you should go through the list of pros of keeping pet dart frogs. Let’s check them out.

1. Easy Housing Setup

No wonder owning a pet means taking up the hassle of setting up an enclosure. In the case of dart frogs, there isn’t much work to do for their housing setup. Since the dart frog requirements are minimal, their housing setup is comparatively easy.

Let’s see what you’ll need to set up a dart frog habitat.

Tank Or Enclosure

The very first thing that you need to bring for your dart frogs is an enclosure. To create a naturalistic habitat, you should choose an enclosure of the right size and type. The size of your dart frog tank depends on the number and size of your dart frogs.

To keep 1 inch or larger dart frog, the minimum size of the tank should be 10 gallons. So, you should calculate the required space for your dart frogs considering the rule of having 5-10 gallons of space for one dart frog.

For keeping a group of 2-3 dart frogs, you should choose a 24”×18”×18” tank. Since the maximum species of dart frogs are terrestrial, you can provide larger floor space for your dart frogs. For this reason, you can also bring a 36”×18”×18” sized tank.

How Many Dart Frogs Can You Keep Together?

It depends on the sex and age of dart frogs, tank size, etc. Since these frogs are a bit territorial, they do not much like the accompany of other dart frogs.

For this reason, you can only keep 2-4 adult dart frogs together. In the case of juvenile dart frogs, you can house 15-20 frogs together in the same tank.

While keeping several dart frogs, you should be concerned about the male and female ratio. You have to keep equal numbers of male and female dart frogs keeping the ratio 1:1. Otherwise, you should keep more male dart frogs than female dart frogs.

Can You Have Just One Dart Frog?

If you want to keep only one frog, you can have just one dart frog. But, these frogs do well in a small group. So, you can keep at least two dart frogs of the same species together.

Substrate

Since dart frogs require a high level of humidity, you need to choose the best moisture-holding substrate. Also, the substrate should be light enough to support a good drainage system.

For your dart frog substrate, you can choose sphagnum moss, bark chips, leaf litter, coconut fiber substrate, etc. Make sure that the substrate isn’t water dripping wet and stagnant. Don’t forget to change the substrate regularly.

Drainage Layer

The dart frog owners tend to mist the terrarium often. As a result, the substrate can become too wet. For this, you need to add a drainage layer in the terrarium of your dart frogs. It will help drain the excess water to the bottom of the tank. Moreover, the depth of the drainage layer should be around 2.5-3 inches.

Lighting

Unlike many other pets, dart frogs do not require any special lighting. You can also keep them without any source of UVB light. A 20-watt fluorescent bulb will be sufficient for a 20-gallon tank.

Some owners love to use LED lighting or T5 grow light. Although your dart frogs do not require lighting, you should keep lighting for the growth of the trees.

Misting System: Do Dart Frogs Need Misting?

If you wonder to mist your dart frog terrarium, you should shake off all of your confusion regarding this. That’s because the answer is a big yes! The humidity level of the dart frog tank should be above 70%.

Moreover, these dart frogs do not drink water. These frogs absorb the water through their porous skin. For this reason, your dart frogs require regular misting. You should mist your dart frog terrarium twice a day for 5-10 seconds.

Hence, you should buy a fogger or mister. Otherwise, you should arrange an automatic misting system.

Décor

There are no alternatives to décors when you want to increase the aesthetic vibe of your dart frog tank. You can add hideouts, coco huts, mushroom ledge, vines, driftwoods, spider woods, cork, fake rocks, etc.

Plants

To add a naturalistic vibe, you should add plants to your dart frog terrarium. Instead of using fake plants, I recommend you keep live plants.  Make sure that the plants are safe for your dart frogs. Some of these safe plants are bromeliads, pothos, orchids, ficus vines, philodendron, peace lily, spider plants, flamingo flowers, etc.

Water Bowl: Do Dart Frogs Need A Water Bowl?

Usually, you need to keep a water bowl when your pet requires drinking water. In the case of dart frogs, these frogs do not drink water. They absorb water through their skin and cloaca. Also, dart frogs fulfill their needs for water through their prey.

So, your dart frogs do not need a water bowl. But, you can keep a shallow water bowl with water in your dart frog tank. This may help raise the humidity level in the tank.

Heat Lamps: Do Dart Frogs Need Heat Lamps?

The ideal temperature range for dart frogs stands within 75-84 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep your dart frogs at room temperature. Besides, these frogs can tolerate short temperature fluctuations.

Hence, many owners do not feel the need of adjusting heat lamps for their dart frogs. If you live in a cold country, you should install a heat lamp to provide minimum warmth in your dart frog tank. There are a few options to heat your dart frog tank.

You can adjust the heating pad, radiant heat lamp, ceramic radiant heater, room heater, heater cable, and so on. Otherwise, you can keep UTH, or heater under the tank.

Thermometer And Hygrometer

To monitor the temperature and humidity level, you should keep a reptile thermometer and hygrometer in your dart frogs tank. Although dart frogs can tolerate temperature and humidity fluctuations, you should try to keep these constant for their well-being. 

Make sure that the temperature doesn’t fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous to your dart frogs.

Tank Lid

For the safety and well-being of your dart frogs, you should fit a tank lid over your frog tank. A properly fitted-tank lid will restrict the ventilation of airflow. It will keep the humidity level constant.

2. Simple Diet: What Should You Feed Dart Frogs?

One of the best things about keeping dart frogs as pets is their simple diet. Since poison dart frogs are insectivorous, these frogs aren’t picky regarding foods. You can feed your dart frogs any types of insects that fit in their mouth.

In the list of dart frog diets, you can include crickets, isopods, insect larvae, mealworms, springtails, phoenix worms, hydei fruit flies, arthropods, bean beetles, rice flour beetles, repti worms, etc.

These dart frogs gather their toxins from their diet in the wild. Hence, you’ve to cut off several food items from your dart frog diet in captivity. Such as ants, spiders, beetles, termites, wild-caught bugs, and other toxic living.

Don’t forget to make their diet diverse. To make their diet healthier, you need to dust insects with calcium and supplementation.

If you are curious to know more about the dart frog diet, you can check this article including the list of safe and unsafe foods.

3. Non-toxic In Captivity

The poison dart frogs are popular because of being one of the deadliest frogs around the world. Seeing their vibrant colored skin, many frog lovers may get allured to keep dart frogs as pets. But, many of them do not get the courage to keep dart frogs as pets due to their toxicity.

For your information, these poison dart frogs are completely safe when they’re captive-bred. In the wild, the dart frogs get their toxins from their native diets.

But, in captivity, their diets get rearranged where the owners do not feed any toxic living species or plants. As a result, there remains no risk of poison! So, you can keep these beautiful exotic frogs as pets.

Check this article to know whether dart frogs can kill you or not.

4. No Poop To Clean

One of the biggest hassles of keeping pet animals is cleaning their feces. When you keep dogs, cats, or any reptiles, you might feel irritated to clean their poops often.

In the case of dart frogs, there isn’t much trouble to clean the dart frog poops. The poison dart frogs produce a little feces that the beneficial bacteria of soil can readily decompose.

5. Less Maintenance

Dart frogs are usually easy-going. You won’t require to clean the water bowl or food dish of your dart frogs. In case of cleanliness, you should clean the dart frog tank once in 1-2 weeks. So, you should own these dart frogs because of their minimal need for maintenance.

6. Comfortable At Room Temperature

If your pet has special heating requirements, it must be tough to maintain the ideal temperature range. Here, you’ll get the advantage of keeping pet dart frogs as these frogs are comfortable at room temperature. If the room temperature ranges from 65-80 degrees, you may not require to adjust any heating elements.

7. Easy Breeding

Breeding poison dart frogs are pretty easy compared to other reptiles. If you want to breed your dart frogs, you’ll need to trigger them with frequent misting and excessive food intake.

Also, captive-bred dart frogs are healthier than imported dart frogs. As there are no health risks of diseases and infections, many hobbyists prefer to buy captive-bred dart frogs.

So, breeding dart frogs open up the opportunity to get some money by selling the baby dart frogs. If you do not want to sell them, you can increase the number of your pet dart frogs by breeding them on your own.

8. Vibrant Appearance

If you’re fond of little-cute pets, dart frogs can be one of your first choices. The poison dart frogs are only 1.5 inches, which means these frogs are not much bigger than a large grape.

In addition, you’ll find different colors and patterns on their skin among over 170 species of dart frogs. So, each species of dart frog are unique in its appearance. Their vibrant color and exotic patterns make them eye-catchy and stunning.

So, who does not want such a pet with a vibrant appearance? Check out the secret of their vibrant color in this write-up: why is the poison dart frog so colorful?

9. Inexpensive To Keep

After spending the buying price and shipping cost, you will not need to expend much to keep pet dart frogs. You might require only $10 for their weekly food expense. If you culture the insects to feed your dart frogs, the food expense will become lower. Otherwise, these low-maintenance frogs are inexpensive to keep as pets.

10. Diurnal

While it’s pretty rare to find diurnal frogs, poison dart frogs may amaze you by being active in the daytime. For example, the tree frog owners require to wait for the nighttime to see their pet frog activities.

Since dart frogs are diurnal, you need not miss the chance to enjoy their activity or accompany them. You can enjoy their fascinating activities when you remain awake during the daytime.

Another issue that maximum frog owners find bothering is the frog calls at night time. As your dart frogs are diurnal, they won’t call at night time. Thus, your sleep won’t get hampered due to your pet dart frog.

Are Dart Frogs Good For Beginners

11. Some Have Pleasant Calls

Although most of the dart frog species are nearly silent, some of these dart frogs have pleasant chirping calls. It’s pretty common not to enjoy the harsh calls of maximum frogs. But, in the case of dart frogs, there’s no such issue.

12. Hypoallergenic

Some people can’t have furry pets due to having an issue with their fur. Those pet lovers who’re allergic to fur can readily keep these cute poison dart frogs. Moreover, there won’t be any risk of having asthma when you keep a dart frog as a pet.

13. Easily Shippable

From vast experiences, the experienced owners comment about dart frogs being easily shippable. During shipping, several types of pets get stressed quickly. Hence, it becomes tough to ship all reptiles.

In this case, dart frogs handle the stress of shipping pretty well. So, there remains less chance of losing your dart frogs after these frogs arrive through shipments.

14. Long Accompany: How Long Do Dart Frogs Live In Captivity?

If you want a pet to have long-term accompaniment, you can go for dart frogs. These poison dart frogs have an average lifespan of 10-15 years in captivity. Some of these frogs have records of living up to 23 years in captive environments.

For detailed information, you can pay a visit to this write-up.

Are Poison Dart Frogs Hard To Keep?

Poison dart frogs are easy to keep for both beginners and experts. Once you complete their habitat set up, there should not be much left to worry about.

You only require monitoring the temperature and humidity level. Also, you should maintain feeding a healthy diet for your dart frogs. Otherwise, these frogs do not need much maintenance and regular follow-up.

Cons Of Keeping Dart Frogs: Is It Hard To Keep Dart Frogs?

Like every coin has its two different sides, keeping pet dart frogs has some cons too. Before keeping dart frogs, you should know both pros and cons of pet dart frogs. Let’s check out the difficulties of keeping dart frogs as pets.

1. Restrictions In Handling: Can you handle pet dart frogs?

The most crucial caution about keeping dart frogs is less handling. Due to their toxic trait, the experts hold a restriction on dart frog handling.

You can handle your dart frog if you need to move your frog. Also, handling for shipment is fine as you hold these frogs for a temporary period.

Make sure to handle your dart frogs by taking proper precautions. Otherwise, it’ll be risky for the health of both dart frogs and the owner.

If you expect to keep such pets to cuddle, poison dart frogs will not be a good choice for you. You can not hold or cuddle your pet dart frogs like cats or dogs.

Can You Touch A Dart Frog?

Usually, the experts advise avoiding touching dart frogs. If you hold a dart frog, it’ll make the frog stressed. As a result, the frog may secrete toxins under the glands of its skin.

When a human comes in touch with the dart frog poison, it may cause swelling, nausea, muscle cramps, partial paralysis, etc. In worse cases, touching a wild dart frog can cost your life too.

But, you can touch a captive-bred dart frog. Because of their different diet, captive-bred dart frogs are safe to touch.

However, I suggest you not touch your dart frog often without any emergency. Since dart frogs have porous skin, excess handling can risk their health.

2. Require High Humidity

Although dart frogs do not have many requirements, these frogs demand high humidity. You need to keep your dart frogs constantly within 70%-100% humidity level. It might be a difficult job for the dart frog owners.

In addition, you have to mist your dart frog tank with safe water. You can choose either distilled water or reverse osmosis water.

3. Keep Dart Frogs Cool

You might know that higher temperatures can be another reason for the death of your dart frogs. So, you should not let the temperature rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the dart frog tank cool is a challenge for any dart frog owner.

4. Feeding Live Insects

Another hardship of keeping pet dart frogs is feeding only live insects. You should remember that these dart frogs aren’t scavengers. So, you can’t feed dead insects to your dart frogs. On the other hand, culturing insects at home can be a bit troublesome for you.

5. Expensive To Buy

Although the maintenance and feeding costs are not much, the price of dart frogs is comparatively higher than other frogs. If you look at the African dwarf frog, grey tree frog, and American toad, these frogs cost around $5, $10, and $15 respectively. On the other hand, dart frogs can cost you $30-$100, which is too expensive to afford.

Are you searching for the stores, prices, and other tips to buy a dart frog? Then, you must click here.

Final Words

The poison dart frog is not only exquisite but also hardy. I hope this article gave you a clear idea about the advantages and disadvantages of keeping pet dart frogs. So, if you are determined to fulfill your responsibilities, you can keep a dart frog as your pet.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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