How Can I Tell If A Frog Is Poisonous? (Tell-tale Sign)

Frogs are pretty much everywhere, and they are found in all the corners of the world. When I was a kid, my brother and I loved going down to the pond and searching for frogs; however, these were just common frogs found in the UK, defiantly not poisonous.

A common brown frog
Common frog. Wet frog. Amphibian. Brown frog.

Frogs are the very few remaining members of the amphibia family. Other members of the amphibia family are toads, newts and salamanders. Whats make these unique is that they can move, feed and breathe on land and water. Frogs have been inhabiting earth for millions of years. We often dont come across frogs that much unless you’re in the right areas that they inhabit. However, when you do come across them its good to know if they are poisonous or not, so let’s find out how you can tell if a frog is poisonous? One day it may save your life. 

Out of the several thousand species of frogs, only a selection of them is considered poisonous. You can tell a poisonous frog by a non-poisonous frog is by its colours. Bright blue, yellow and orange are the classic colours of a poisonous frog. These bright colours are warning signs to indicate that the frog is toxic and to keep well away. 

We now understand that frogs that are brightly coloured are often poisonous. If you walk in the wild and come across any brightly coloured frogs, you must keep well away. If you are thinking of getting a pet frog, you must never adopt a brightly coloured frog. Loud coloured frogs are not safe to handle and will make you very sick and can even be a risk to your life. 

How many different frog species are there?

There are over 4700 different types of frogs in the world from the standard back garden frogs to the highly poisonous brightly coloured frogs. 

How many of them are poisonous?

Out of all the frogs globally, roughly 100 are considered poisonous to animals and humans. Contact with these frogs species can result in toxic symptoms and can be fatal to animals and humans. 

How do frogs poison you?

Frogs dont bite and they have no such venom gland to administer it. A frog will omit a poisonous toxin from their skin. When handled or often tried to be eaten, killed by other animals, they will release their secretions poison on the perpetrator’s skin.

How are frogs poisonous?

Frogs are poisonous due to the diet that they eat. Frogs eat ants and other small insects loaded with toxins alkaloids. Ants get them from the diet they eat but can suppress the toxins themselves. These toxins are incredibly toxic, but frogs can eat them with no effect on their health. The frogs then extract and store these toxins in special sacs under the skin and use them for protection. 

Can you reverse a poisonous frog through diet?

Domestic frogs will generally eat different foods. Since some wild frogs eat toxic insects, you could reverse the poisonous frogs through changing their diet; however, how long this can take is unknown, since they store the poison within their bodies and expel it when threatened. You wouldn’t know how much they have and if they have much left. 

Where can you find a poisonous frog?

The majority of poison frogs are found in humid, tropical environments in the central and south America region. Tropical rainforests harbour many of the poisonous frogs.

  • Bolivia
  • Costa Rica
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • French Guiana
  • Ecuador
  • Venezuela
  • Suriname
  • Peru
  • Panama
  • Guyana
  • Nicaragua
  • Hawaii
  • Africa

What will happen if you touch a poisonous frog?

If you have come into contact with a poisonous frog, your symptoms could be as little as, nausea, numbness, or inflammation. However, the most deadly frogs can paralyse you, and can even kill you. 


  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Inflammation
  • Paralysed
  • Fatal

The most deadly frogs in the world

The Poison Dart Frogs

A brightly coloured frog called the yellow-branded poison dart frog against a white background.
The yellow-banded poison dart frog (Dendrobates leucomelas)

The Poison dart frogs are a group of frogs, and they are the most deadly frogs of all time, and it will kill you. The Poison dart frog is that poisonous that the native hunters would make darts of their poison.

The Golden Poison Frog

Golden poison frog sitting on a log
Golden poison frog (Amphibian)

The golden poison frog, also known as the golden frog, golden poison arrow frog, or golden dart frog is exceptionally deadly. It lives on the Pacific coast of Colombia. It’s that deadly the frog can kill up to fifteen grown men, or twenty thousand mice with its supply of poison called batrachotoxin.

Other poisonous frogs

The Strawberry Poison Frog

A close up of a Strawberry Poison Dart Frog in Costa Rica sitting on a leaf.
A close up of a Strawberry Poison Dart Frog in Costa Rica.

The strawberry poison frog or strawberry poison-dart frog lives in Central America. This frog isn’t as deadly as the Poison dart frog or the golden poison frog. However, if you contact this frog, you could be paralysed at most, but you certainly will feel very nauseous, and swelling will occur. 


Frogs can have some lovely bright, attractive colours that can catch the eye of us huamns and enough to make you want to get a little closer, and you must not be urged to pick the frog up or even take them home without touching them.

Some frogs fake the colour.

Some intelligent frogs have even copied a poisonous frog’s bright colours to give out fake warnings when they aren’t even toxic. However, if you follow the rule of dont touch any colourful frogs, you won’t run the risk of one day that frog could be the poisonous kind.


Poisonous frogs are brightly coloured, so make sure you stick to the rule of keeping well away from these frogs, and not be tempted to touch or take them home. The result of poisoning from a frog can be numbness, inflammation, or even as severe as being paralysed or killed. The poisonous frog species mainly inhabit humid environments, places such as South America and Afica. So, if you are going on a safari or trekking through South America, keep your hands to yourself and away from any brightly coloured frogs that may catch your eye. This could save your life! 

It's a good thing to share!

By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.