13/03/2019

Bristol Zoo breeds one of the most poisonous animals on Earth

The golden poison frog possesses enough toxin to kill 10 adult men.

One of the most poisonous amphibians on Earth has been bred at Bristol Zoo Gardens.


It is the golden poison frog which, although just 6cm long when fully grown, is deadly and possesses enough toxin to kill 10 adult men.

 

The tiny frog at Bristol Zoo is just 1cm long and has just metamorphosed from a tadpole. It is currently orange and black but in time will develop a distinctive bright yellow colour.

 

However, this golden poison frog is not quite as poisonous as those in the wild.

 

Reptile keeper Laura Cosgrove said: “For the most part ours are not toxic but we always take precautions and wear protective gloves and clothing. However that is as much to safeguard the frogs as ourselves.”

 

She said in the wild the golden poison frogs eat various invertebrates including ants, termites and small beetles from which they develop poison which they secrete through their skin.

 

This toxin is called batrachotoxin and causes paralysis and death when it enters the bloodstream, even in minuscule amounts.

 

The latest frog to metamorphose at the Zoo was from a clutch of spawn laid a few days before Christmas.

 

But it may soon be joined by more of the golden poison frogs as another eight tadpoles are waiting to metamorphose.

 

Laura said it was the first time that the golden poison frogs had been bred at Bristol Zoo for two years.

 

The golden poison frogs have an average lifespan of 10 years and are found in a small section of rainforest near the Pacific coast of Colombia.

 

However they are at risk of extinction because of people cutting down the forests where they live and taking them for the exotic pet trade.

 

This has led to them being given Endangered status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

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