Front image: Golden Poison Frog, image created at the Zurich Zooh on 9 July 2004, Canon EOS 300D and Canon EF 100mm f/2. ISO 200, f/2, 1/160s, Evaluative metering.
Its latin name says it all: Phyllobates terribilis, the Golden Poison Frog is a fascinating animal. It lives in small social groups, though in captivity these groups can be rather large, and looks very pretty with its golden robe and big black eyes; in a word it is cute…
Cute but lethal, the Golden Poison Frog is the most poisonous living animal known. Its skin is coated with a deadly toxin. A single frog has about one milligram of poison on its skin; it is sufficient to kill about 10’000 mice or about 10 humans, so strong is its toxin… handle with care!
It is not clear how the frog produces the poison but it is believed to be from the consumption of certain insects in the wild, however frogs bred in captivity lose their toxicity.
In the wild, local inhabitants will extract the poison to coat their hunting darts. Once extracted, the toxin will keep its potency for over a year.
It maybe one of my favourite land animal, probably because it is quite incredible to imagine something so small producing such a deadly poison.