The fairy tale goes that a pretty young woman kisses a frog and he turns into a handsome prince. The two live happily ever after. If one were to kiss one of the following frogs they might not live to tell of it.
“Most frogs produce skin toxins, but the dart poison frogs from Central and South America are the most potent of all. The golden poison frog, called terribilis (the terrible), is so toxic that even touching it can be dangerous. A single terribilis contains enough poison to kill 20,000 mice or 10 people. It is probably the most poisonous animal on earth.” This quote is from the American Museum of Natural History.
There are over 300 species of poison dart frogs and they come in a large array of beautiful colors. It is their brilliant colors that enable them to travel the rain forests without fear as they hunt for food.
The blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates azureus) is a poor swimmer because his toes lack the webbing found in other frog’s feet. You will find him hiding among debris and boulders near the streams of Columbia and South America. He is one of the three poison dart frogs which supply poison used by Indians for the tips of blowgun darts. The Indians capture a number of them and will place them near the fire until the heat causes a slime to be produced on their skin. They scrape the toxic slime off and dip their darts into it to create poison tipped darts that they then use to hunt and kill for food.
Discoveries from several species of frogs have resulted in 300 new alkaloids from frog skin which has many unique effects on nerves and muscles. One day one of these discoveries may be life saving. A synthetic version of the frogs poison is being researched for its use as a painkiller. It is hoped to be more powerful than morphine but without its addictiveness and toxicity.