I began working with Poison Frogs and Mantellas in zoos just as the secrets to longevity and breeding were being discovered. Today, captive-bred animals are almost mainstream. This is wonderful, but there is a downside – they are sometimes viewed as “simple to keep”. But while these tiny gems can be surprisingly hardy, they will not thrive long-term if their unique nutritional requirements are not met. Friends of mine who have broken new ground with Poison Frogs – in one case years before most zoos did – have always expended a great deal of effort on providing a varied diet. The following information is drawn from their and my own experiences over several decades, and may also be applied to the care of many other small and newly-transformed amphibians.
Although we do not know the exact nutritional needs of any species, certain principles have become evident. Chief among these is that a highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, are not an adequate diet. There are exceptions, but nearly every study of free-living amphibians reveals that a surprising range of prey species are consumed. Read More »