Caring for your Dyeing Dart Frogs
Dendrobates tinctorius Share/Bookmark

Dyeing Dart Frog Description

Latin Name: Dendrobates tinctorius.
Adult Size: 5cm to 7cm.
Average Life Span: Longevity is unknown at this time, however wild caught animals have lived for over 7 years in captivity.
Native Distribution: Brazil, French Guiana, and Suriname.
Physical Description: At least 30 different color morphs exist today with color morphs still being discovered. See Dendrobates tinctorius morphs.
Temperament: A peaceful diurnal insectivore.
Status in the Wild: CITES II.

Dyeing Dart Frog Habitat

Native Habitat: Found in tropical rainforests, where they live on or within several meters of the forest floor.
Ambient Temperature: 22C to 28C.
Basking Temperature: Not applicable.
Humidity Range: 60% to 100%.
Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent.
Terrarium Size: Adults may be kept in pairs or groups with at least of floor space per frog.
Terrarium Decor: Tropical rainforest motif.
Terrarium Substrate: Moist earth, sphagnum moss or oak leaves with a shallow water area.
Terrarium Containment: Dart frogs can easily climb branches and smooth surfaces. A top is necessary.

Dyeing Dart Frog Husbandry

Hygiene: Best kept in terrariums equipped with drainage so that waste and feces can be flushed out with water. Otherwise, clean water bowl daily and terrarium monthly.
Feeding: Dendrobates tinctorius Dart Frogs eat mostly small insects and worms. The most popular foods for captive frogs are live baby crickets and fruit flies.
Handling: In the wild, the Dendrobates tinctorius Dart Frog is one of the least poisonous of the poison dart frog family, and captive raised frogs are not considered to be poisonous at all. Handling is quite stressful on the frogs, however, and is not recommended.
Terrarium Compatibility: Compatible with other small insectivorous tropical frogs and lizards.

Dyeing Dart Frog Breeding

Maturity: Sexual maturity is reached between 1 and 1-1/2 years of age.
Sexing: Adult males are slightly smaller than females and have larger heart shaped toes on their front feet. See sexing Dendrobates tinctorius photograph.
Conditioning: Keep adults well fed with a variety of foods. After one to two months of once daily misting, increase misting so that the substrate remains damp at all times and the humidity level remains near 100%.
Cycling: Breeding may occur year round under warm, very humid conditions. During courtship, the male frog calls to attract females, but it is the female who then pursues the male until breeding is complete. See Dendrobates tinctorius breeding photographs: Courtship (male calling) and Courtship (female stroking).
Sex Ratio: Best bred in M/F pairs.
Egg Laying: Courtship usually begins in the morning and may continue until early evening. After choosing a suitable egg laying spot, the female will lay between 4 and 12 gelatinous eggs which the male will then fertilize. See Dendrobates tinctorius breeding photographs: Courtship (positioning) and Courtship (egg laying).

Dyeing Dart Frog Care of Eggs / Young

Incubation Temperature: 22C to 25C.
Incubation / Gestation Time: Two weeks. See egg development photographs.
Size at Birth: 5mm froglet.
Hatchling Sex Ratio: Not temperature dependant.
Feeding: Tadpoles can be fed crushed tropical fish flakes. Froglets can be fed vitamin / mineral dusted pinhead crickets and fruit flies.
Housing: Tadpoles are best kept individually in deli containers. After all four legs have developed, metamorphosis into froglets will begin with the absorption of the tail. As metamorphosis progresses, gradually lower the water level until, by the end of metamorphosis, it is shallow enough for the froglet to sit up with its head out of the water. Cover half of the deli container with wet sphagnum moss substrate for the froglet to climb onto. Feed the froglet pinhead crickets and / or fruit flies daily for 1 week, and then transfer to a communal container of similar sized froglets.

Dyeing Dart Frog Ailments

Red Leg: Caused principally by Aeromonas or Pseudomonas bacteria. Symptoms include reddening of the skin and hematomas along the abdominal region and on the legs. Red Leg disease is usually associated with poor husbandry such as overcrowding, foul enclosure conditions, untreated open wounds, and stress brought about by incorrect temperature, humidity, or exposure to environmental toxins. Treat in a quarantine enclosure with a Sulfamethazine bath at a dosage of 1gm/L or a Nalidixic acid bath at a dosage of 10mg/L. A newer treatment with a LymoZyme/KoiZyme bath is also reported to be effective, however an exact dosage has not yet been determined.

Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis): Caused by the pathogenic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. A possible treatment for this illness was developed by Donald K.Nichols, Dept. of Pathology, Smithsonian Institute; and is as follows: infected frogs are given a 5 minute daily bath in a 0.01% solution of Itraconazole (Sporanox Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc., Titusville, NJ, USA) for 8 consecutive days and then moved to a clean enclosure. It has been reported that this treatment seems to be well tolerated by adult frogs, but may be toxic to tadpoles.

Disclaimer: Any course of treatment should be preceded by a thorough examination from a qualified professional. All remedies for ailments given above are for reference purposes only.

Dyeing Dart Frog References

Dyeing Dart Frog Links

Dart Den
Dart Frogz
DendroBoard (U.S.)
Global Invasive Species Database (Chytrid Fungus)