When it comes to exotic and vibrant animals, frogs are not the first thing that comes to mind. Most people do not realize the vast amount of different frog species there are around the world. Frogs are one of the dominant species of our planet and they can adapt to virtually any environment. In adapting to certain envrionments, some frogs have developed amazing defense strategies. Most of these defense strategies like in two places which are in its camouglauge and poison glands. Most frogs on this list use a combination of both as many times exotic color patterns are indicator to other species of poison and a signla to stay away. Below is a list of the top 10 coolest and most amazingly colored frogs on our planet.
Number 10 – Amazon Milk Frog
Scientific Name: Trachycephalus Resinifictrix
Origin: Amazon Rainforest In South America
The Amazon Milk Frog is properly named as it is primarily found in the Amazon Rainforest in South America. These frogs are most commonly found in the part of the Amazon that is located in Brazil. Growing to a length of 4 inches, Amazon milk frogs get relatively large compared to other frog species. The frog gets the name “milk frog” because it secretes a milky white substance when it is stressed. The frog you see in the picture is a juvenile milk frog. Juveniles display the most vibrant skin color featuring black and white stripes, with a blue tongue. As these frogs age, they take on a browner color that allows them to blend into the environment due to better camouflage. Amazon milk frogs have also become popular in the pet trade since they can be easily cared for.
Number 9 – Blue Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Dendrobates D. tinctorius
Origin: Sipaliwni District of Suriname, South America
The blue poison dart frog inhabits a small space in the small country of Suriname. Most people have never even heard of this country as it is very small and not as politically relevant as its neighboring countries such as Brazil. Most of the species can be found in the Sipaliwini District of the country. They prefer to live in areas of the forest that are close to water. Growing to only 1-2 inches in length, the blue poison dart frog is considered small comparatively. As hinted by its name, the frog is highly poisonous. Poison glands in its skin secrete a batch of deadly alkaloids which kill small predators and paralyze larger ones.
Number 8 – Bumble Bee Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Dendrobates leucomelas
Origin: Venezuela, South America
The Bumble Bee Poison Frog is also referred to as the “Yellow Banded Dart Frog” and the “Yellow Headed Poison Dart Frog”. Most of its habitat is located in Venezuela. Minority habitats are also found in Guyana, Brazil, and Eastern Columbia. These frogs prefer environments that are extremely humid. Bumble Bee Dart frogs are sensitive to high temperatures and humid environments keep the safe from overheating. This trait also makes them difficult to keep as pets. Growing to a length of only 1.5 inches, these frogs are considerably small. One thing that is unique about these frogs is that they cannot naturally produce their toxins. Materials for toxins are acquired through a unique diet of specific insects, notably the Melyrid Beetle. Alkaloid poisons are the end result of their diet which are so toxic to nerves that they coming into contact with one can send your heart straight into fibrillation.
Number 7 – Manu Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ameerega macero
Origin: Rivers of Peru, South America
The Manu Poison Frog lives in the rivers of Peru, namely the Manu River where it gets it name. It also inhabits the Ucayali, Upper Purus, and Urubamba Rivers. These frogs can be found in a variety of different types of forest, but they prefer Bamboo forest above all others. The ideal habitat for them is lowland forest that are moist and humid. Sadly, the Manu Poison frog is in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat and agriculture in its native areas. Due to their amazing vibrant colors, these frogs are also seeing a decline due to the black market pet trade. Since they have become endangered, they have been banned from the pet trade and thus have seen their black market value sky rocket. This has led to an even greater accelertation in their dwindling numbers. As far as their poison, not much is known about what they excrete or what effect their toxins have on prey.
Number 6 – Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Oophaga Pumilio
Origin: Central America, Primarily In Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica
The strawberry poison frog thrives in wet lowland areas and premontane forest. Thus, it thrives in many areas of Central America where you can find wet lowland areas and premontane forest in abundance. Areas in central America with the highest abundance of these types of land are Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. There are also many areas on the fringes of these countries where strawberry poison dart frogs reside. There is one thing the strawberry poison dart frog can do that no other frog on this list can and that is change color. Not only can it change color, but it can change its color to 30 different patterns. This can make it near impossible to accurately identify one of these in the wild by sight alone. Its also the most toxic frog of its genus. The frog secretes alkaloid toxins characteristic of most poisonous frogs. However, this frog has a component in the alkaloid toxins that is considerably more deadly than the alkaloids themselves. Nitrogenous bases found in the secretions react with carbon and hydrogen groups. The end result is that the toxin can react with literally all types of tissues as tissues are primarily made up of carbon and hydrogen.
Number 5 – Dyeing Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Dendrobates tinctorius
Origin: Eastern Part of Guiana Shield, Parts of Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, All of French Guiana
The Dyeing Dart Frog is primarily found in the eastern part of the Guiana Shield. The Guiana Shield is an area is a 1.7 billion year old Precambrian geological formation. That may sound complicated, but the takeaway point is that the Guiana Shield is a geologically very unique and thus is home to a diverse group of species not found anywhere else in the world. Pumilio toxins secreted from the frogs skin are poisonous. Among the frogs on this list, the toxins produced by this frog are no where near as poisonous as my dart frogs. By no means are they not dangerous, but in most cases contact with these toxins does not put people at risk of death or other serious medical conditions. However, it should be noted that this frog is also one that can morph into other colors. Furthermore, different color patterns are associated with differing levels of toxicity. With different colors come varying degrees of toxicity.
Number 4 – Harlequin Toad
Scientific Name: Atelopus Varius
Origin: Costa Rica
The Harlequin Toad, also known as the clown frog, is an endangered frog that has seen its numbers dwindled down to near extinction. The only population of Harlequin Toads in a small part of Quepos, Costa Rica. Unlike most critically endangered species, the decline of these frogs is not due to human destruction of their habitat. Drop in numbers is due to the effects of climate change and global warming. Global warming has allowed a type of fungus that is poisonous to the frogs to thrive in the areas they once inhabitated. This has almost wiped the entire species out. Harlequin toads prefer pre-montane, lower-montane, and tropical lowlands as their habitat. As with most frogs that display vibrant colors, the harlequin toad is highly poisonous. It secretes a potent tetrodotoxin that can shut down the respiratory of predators who try to prey upon it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like global warming is going to change and due to that the species will probably go extinct.
Number 3 – Zebra Frog
Scientific Name: Leptopelis Zebra
Unlike most frogs in this list, the zebra frog does not come from central or south America. The zebra frog is found only in Cameroon, a small country in Africa. Little is known about zebra frogs as extensive scientific research on them has not been conducted. Some reports cite that there may be small populations of them in equatorial guinea, the Congo, and Gabon. Tropical lowland forest, swamps, and freshwater marshes are the preferred habitats for these frogs.
Number 2 – Amazon Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Ceratophrys cornuta
Origin: Northern South America
The Amazon Horned Frog, which is the common name for the Surinam Horned Frog, is unique in a lot of ways. Most notably, these frogs grow to enormous sizes. Growing up to 8 inches long, these frogs are ferocious predators for their size. In addition to their size, they have a gigantic mouth that lets them swallow prey that are larger than most frogs.They also have an extensive habitat with populatoins in virtually every northern south American country. Their diet is also diverse consisting of large prey including lizards, mice, and other frogs. One key to their widespread population lies in their reproductive biology. Females lay up to 1000 eggs and wrap them around aquatic plants for further safety from predators.
Number 1 – Giraffe Clown Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Dendropsophus sarayacuensis
Origin: Amazon Basin
The Clown Tree Frog is a unique species of frog found in the Amazon Basin. Areas of the Amazon Basin that the Clown Tree Frog inhabits are Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, and Ecuador. They prefer tropical rainforest like areas. As nocturnal predators, they spend most of their active time at night. Despite being a popular exotic pet, not much is known about this frog.