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Bumblebee dart frogs, Dendrobates leucomelas

Bumblebee dart frogs make a great beginner Dart frog

At a glance...
  • Bumblebee dart frogs are a great choice for beginners
  • Bold and active personalities so are always on show
  • Opportunity to create a stunning live planted terrarium
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Do Bumblebee dart frogs make good pets?

Bumblebee dart frogs are a bold and active species of South American Dart frog, characterised by beautiful black and yellow markings along their body and limbs. They are one of the hardier Dart frog examples, which makes them a great option for first time Dart frog keepers and experienced hobbyists alike.

Their bright colouration is a warning to potential predators of their toxicity, an adaptation termed aposematism. In captivity, however, Dart frogs lose this toxicity as they gain it from their wild prey which they do not have access to in captivity. At Swell Reptiles, all of our Bumblebee dart frogs are captive bred in the UK, so you can rest assured your new frog came from a reliable source.

Which enclosure should I choose for my Bumblebee dart frog?

Like all Dart frogs, Bumblebee dart frogs have high humidity requirements, which means wooden enclosures are not the best option, as the consistent moisture is likely to have an effect on the longevity of the wood, due to this, glass or PVC enclosures tend to work the best. A terrarium around 60 x 45 x 45cm (24 x 18 x 18”) is sufficient for a pair or trio of this species, making the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 60x45x45cm a great option.

Do Bumblebee dart frogs need to be heated?

Bumblebee darts, like all Dart frogs, are not very tolerant of high temperatures, rather they prefer a warm area within their enclosure sitting at around 24°C (75°F) and the coolest area sitting closer to 18°C (64°F). You may not need any additional equipment to achieve this, but if you do, a heat mat stuck up the side or back of the terrarium and attached to a mat stat will suffice.

Do Bumblebee dart frogs need UV?

In nature, Bumblebee dart frogs are regularly exposed to sunlight, so do best when kept with a low-level UVB giving them a UVI between 1-2. This can be done using an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit positioned 25-40cm (10-15”) above the basking zone. Alternatively, you can use an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% positioned 40-45cm (15-18”) above the basking zone.

How can I maintain the humidity for my Bumblebee dart frog?

A loose, moisture-retaining substrate is required for Bumblee dart frogs, something like coco soil, or if you would prefer to add live plants, Arcadia EarthMix or ProRep Bio Life Forest which will provide a better growing medium for your plants. To further increase humidity levels, your substrate can be topped with mosses such as Sphagnum Moss, Carpet or Cushion Moss.

If opting for a live planted set-up, a drainage layer should also be considered. This can be done using a layer of Hydro Rocks, topped with a sheet of Hydro Matting before adding your substrate. This will prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged and protect the roots of your plants from rot. Even in non-bioactive set-ups, this layer can still be beneficial as it will act as a water reservoir, sending water back up into the substrate if it starts to dry out.

Although the drainage layer and substrate will help to keep humidity levels up, water will still need to be regularly added to the enclosure. This can be done by using a handheld spray bottle a few times a day, or by using a fogger or rain system, many of which have in-built timers, particularly useful throughout the day when you are at work, or away from home for any other reason.

Unlike most frogs, Dart frogs, including Bumblebees do not have webbed feet so are not very strong swimmers, therefore, their water dish should be shallow enough that it will not fully submerge the frog if they choose to soak. All water provided to a Dart frog must be treated with dechlorinator to remove harmful chlorine and chloramines, alternatively, if you can offer RO water, this is even better.

How do I decorate a Bumblebee dart frog terrarium?

The conditions required by Bumblebee dart frogs are perfect for many tropical plants that may not necessarily fair well as house plants, on top of this, Dart frogs are small and non-destructive, so even the most sensitive plants still tend to fare well in their enclosures. This often leads to Dart frog keepers becoming plant enthusiasts or vice versa, and means that you can create a spectacular planted terrarium with these animals.

Live plants are not a necessity, however, and artificial plants can still be used to provide cover and create a nice-looking display enclosure. Once you have your plants in, you should also consider adding hardscape in the form of hiding caves, logs, cork bark and leaf litter, which will help to reduce stress and provide enrichment.

What do Bumblebee dart frogs eat?

Bumblebee dart frogs are insectivores and in captivity are fed on a diet made up of live fruit flies, live springtails and small live crickets. To ensure all of the required nutrients are provided, all livefood offered to your Bumblebee dart frogs should be dusted with supplements according to a strict feeding cycle.

Here, we recommend using a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3 and finally, a vitamin a reptile supplement on every 12th feed, which is particularly important for most amphibians.

Can I Handle my Bumblebee dart frog?

Bumblebee dart frogs, like all amphibians, are characterised by a semi-permeable skin membrane, which is how they absorb water and other substances rather than drinking. As human skin is often covered with various substances such as salt from sweat, oils from lotions and so on, handling amphibians can cause irritation to their skin and should be avoided at all costs.

If you do need to handle your Dart frog, perhaps to rehouse them, this should be done with clean, damp hands or clean gloves only, and should be done as quickly as possible to minimise stress and possible skin irritation.

How do I buy a Bumblebee dart frog?

If you would like to take one of our UK captive bred Bumblebee dart frogs home, please come into our store and see us, bringing with you some photos of your set-up which should be completely ready for the frog(s) to go into.

To ensure all of our livestock goes to suitable homes, we will ask a few quick questions, and also to see your set-up images before we allow you to take the animal home. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

For more detailed husbandry information, please see our Bumblebee Dart Frog Care Sheet.

Specifications
Common names Bumblebee dart frog, Yellow-banded dart frog, Leuc
Scientific name Dendrobates leucomelas
Country South America
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 2-3cm (0.7-1.1”)
Natural habitat Mossy, leaf-littered forest floors and tree hollows
Housing 60 x 45 x 45cm (24 x 18 x 18”)
Ideal temperature 24°C (75°F) (warm end); 18°C (64°F) (cool end)
UVI 1-2
Ideal humidity 70-80%
Diet Insectivorous
Average lifespan 8-10 years
Personality Bold
Ease of handling Handling should be avoided
Cohabitable Yes
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  1. Bumblebee dart frog, Dendrobates leucomelas, care sheet
    Categories: Care sheetsAmphibians

    Bumblebee dart frog, Dendrobates leucomelas, care sheet

    Bumblebee dart frog, Dendrobates leucomelas, husbandry guide from the experts at Swell Reptiles, covering housing, heating, lighting and more.