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Poison Dart Frogs: One Toxic Amphibian, Dozens of Color Combinations (PHOTOS)

Jess Baker and Caitie Jones
Published: November 13, 2013

New York City

New York City

Poison Dart Frogs appear at a sneak preview of "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors" at the American Museum of National History on May 25, 2004 in New York City. The display featured 200 live frogs from over 17 countries. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • New York City

Beautiful to see but poisonous to touch, the poison dart frog is one of the most colorful creatures of the rainforest.

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These poisonous amphibians range from an inch to 2 inches long. As you see in our slideshow above, they come in all colors of the rainbow: orange, pink, silver, red, black – you name it.

The vibrant coloring serves as warning of their toxic nature.

According to the San Diego Zoo, although contact with most species won't kill you, touching or ingesting one can make you very sick, and cause serious swelling, nausea and even possible paralysis.

Experts at the Aquarium of the Pacific say the indigenous Embera Choco people of western Columbia made homemade blow darts with poison from the coat of a golden dart frog  and used the darts in battle.

You'll find poison dart frogs in rainforests in Central and South America, as well as a few Hawaiian islands, the National Zoo explains. Some species are considered endangered due to habitat loss.

One of the most fascinating traits of these frogs is how the males play a large role in the development of tadpoles. Once the female lays eggs, the male is the parent who returns to check on the eggs. When the tadpoles hatch, the male attaches them to his back via a sticky mucus, and swims the young tadpoles to a drier, safer place where they can grow strong.

(MORE: Endangered Animals You've Never Heard About)

Check out more of these amazing creatures in the slideshow above.

MORE: Places Overrun by Animals

Wild ponies are herded into the Assateague Channel to for their annual swim to Chincoteague Island, on July 25, 2012, in Chincoteague, Va. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


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