Phyllobates terribilisis a fairly common poison dart frog in captivity.
Terribilis are known for their loud, trilling call, large egg clutches, and very bold nature.
Phyllobates terribilis is the most toxic vertebrate on Earth.
Trade Name(s)Phyllobates terribilis is commonly known as the
Terrible dart frog, or the
Golden dart frog.
Phyllobates terribilis is typically referred to as '
Terribs' by people in the poison dart frog hobby.
Family & Scientific NameDendrobatidae; Phyllobates terribilisRange & OriginSmall areas on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Because of the small home range of
Phyllobates terribilis, it is considered endangered. This makes captive breeding of
Phyllobates terribilis even more important.
Adult SizeAdult female
Terribilis are typically about 2” long, with males slightly smaller.
Life SpanCaptive life span of
Phyllobates terribilisis estimated to be 10-20 years, with individual instances of
Terribs living over 20 years reported.
EnclosureGenerally, poison dart frogs are kept in
naturalistic vivaria with
live plants and little to no ventilation.
Phyllobates terribilishails from humid tropical rainforests, so replicating that habitat in captivity is ideal.
Live plants should be used, and actually help to keep the environment clean. Provide 10 gallons or more of space per frog when adult.
SubstrateWith naturalistic vivaria, substrate typically consists of a 2” base layer of
hydroton, followed by
substrate barrier, then a well-draining substrate such as
ABG mix in a 2” layer. On top of this,
long fiber sphagnum is placed in a thin layer, followed by a hearty coating of
leaf litter. The substrate can be seeded with various species of microfauna, including
isopods, which are cultured and sold specifically for such applications.
TemperatureFor the most part,
Phyllobates terribilis need to be kept above 60F and below 80F, with an ideal temperature in the mid to low 70sF. Although they can tolerate brief cold spells, poison dart frogs are very sensitive to heat. Like other Phyllobates,
Phyllobates terribilis Monitoring temperature is very important - we recommend using a
Social StructurePhyllobates terribilisdoes fine in groups or pairs.
DietLike most Poison Dart Frogs,
Terribs prefer smaller foods less than 1/8” long.
Flightless Fruit Flies are an ideal staple food, as they are easy and inexpensive to culture, and available from several online stores, including
www.JoshsFrogs.com. Other common prey items include pinhead or 1/8""
crickets, bean beetles,
rice flour beetles, lesser wax moth larvae, and
phoenix worms. It is important to dust each prey item with a vitamin/mineral supplement.
CleaningIf housed in a
naturalistic vivarium, cleaning is kept to a minimum. As long as water does not saturate the
ABG substrate (it will smell like rotten eggs if it does), the substrate needs to be replaced only every 3-5 years. New
leaf litter should be added every 6 months or so, as the old
leaf litter breaks down.
Plants will need to be trimmed to keep them from outgrowing the vivarium, and the front glass can be wiped down with a paper towel to remove any algae or debris that collects there. All of the inside surfaces of the vivarium (ie plant leaves, wood, glass) should be sprayed down with a hand mister once to twice a month.
HandlingPoison Dart Frogs should not be handled except when they are being moved to or from a vivarium. They are harmless and non toxic in captivity, but household chemicals and oils on your skin can easily harm them.
ConclusionPhyllobates terribilis is a very bold species of poison dart frog that does well in groups, has a loud call, and appreciates plenty of cover and a water feature in the vivarium.
Terriblis lay large egg clutches and can be a prolific breeder.