Green auratus dart frogs, Dendrobates auratus

A great beginner Dart frog - the Green auratus

At a glance...
  • Green auratus dart frogs are ideal for beginner Dart frog keepers
  • Perfect candidates for a beautiful display terrarium
  • Attractive markings and stunning colouration
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Do Green auratus dart frogs make good pets?

Green auratus dart frogs are strikingly beautiful little frogs that make a beautiful display animal in any home. They have quite shy personalities and will spend much of their time hiding in the undergrowth, but if left enough to do their own thing you will see them interacting and exploring around the terrarium in no time. Green auratus dart frogs are one of the hardier species, which also makes them a great option for beginner hobbyists.

The bold and beautiful colours of the Green auratus dart frog signify their toxicity to potential predators, a biological function termed aposematism, however, in captivity these frogs lose their toxicity as they do not have access to the same diet as they do in nature. Here at Swell Reptiles, our Blue auratus dart frogs were all captive bred in the UK, causing minimal impact on the environment.

What size terrarium do Green auratus dart frogs need?

Due to the high humidity requirements of Green auratus dart frogs (70-80%), we recommend against the use of wooden enclosures, which are likely to warp under consistent moisture. Instead, we recommend using glass or PVC enclosures, with a minimum size for an adult pair being 60 x 45 x 45cm (24 x 18 x 18”), for example, the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 60x45x45cm. To simplify things further, we offer a range of Frog Starter Kits suited to Dart frogs, so why not take a look at those.

Do Green auratus dart frogs need to be heated?

Green auratus dart frogs are not overly tolerant of high temperatures, rather they do better with a warm end sitting at around 24°C (75°F) and a cool end closer to 18°C (64°F). For most keepers, this can be achieved without the use of additional heating equipment, however, if you have a particularly cold home you may need to place a heat mat up the back or side of the enclosure just to take the chill off. It is important if you do use a heat mat that this is attached to an on/off thermostat to ensure the temperatures remain within the suitable range.

Do I need UVB for my Green auratus dart frog?

In nature, Green auratus dart frogs would regularly be exposed to sunlight despite spending the majority of their time on the shaded forest floors. Research has shown that the presence of a low-level UVB light, providing a UVI between 1-2 is highly beneficial for Dart frogs, so we strongly recommend using UV for all Dart frogs. The easiest way to achieve a UVI between 1-2 is using an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit, placed between 25-40cm (10-15”) from the basking zone. You may, however, be better using the Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% if your light fixture needs to be higher.

How can I keep the humidity up for my Green auratus dart frog?

The simplest way to maintain a high humidity is by using a loose moisture-retaining soil-based substrate such as coco soil. If you are going to add live plants to your enclosure, however, you may be better opting for a more sophisticated planting substrate such as ProRep Bio Life Forest or Arcadia EarthMix. It is also worth considering adding a layer of debris topping the substrate, which can consist of carpet or cushion mosses and leaf litter, further aiding humidity levels.

Particularly if you choose to go bioactive, you will also need to add a drainage layer to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged and protect the roots of your plants. This layer should be made up of a layer of Hydro rocks, topped with a sheet of Hydro matting before adding the substrate. This will also allow you to keep a water reservoir underneath the substrate, which will allow water back up into the substrate layer if it starts to dry out.

Adequate drainage and good substrate is unlikely to be enough to maintain humidity levels of 70-80% alone, so you will still need to add water into the enclosure regularly either by misting manually with a handheld spray bottle, or using an automated fogger or rain system, which are particularly useful if you are out of the house a lot for work for example.

Unlike many frog species, Green auratus dart frogs do not have webbed feed and as such do not make very strong swimmers. It is still important to provide them with a shallow water dish, but this must not be deep enough to submerge the frog fully as they are likely to drown in these situations. All water provided to Blue auratus dart frogs must be dechlorinated with an amphibian safe water conditioner, or if you have the facility to use RO water, this is even better.

How do I decorate a Green auratus dart frog terrarium?

Most people choose to go bioactive with Green auratus dart frogs, as their enclosures tend to provide the perfect growing environment for many tropical plants, which often leads Dart frog keepers into becoming rare plant enthusiasts also. You don’t have to use live plants, though, cover and decor in the form of artificial plants are still completely suitable, although it will not do anything to assist humidity as live plants would.

Other pieces of decor such as hiding caves, cork bark (flats, rounds or half rounds) are also important for providing cover and giving an overall finished look to what is likely to be a beautiful terrarium.

What do Green auratus dart frogs eat?

Green auratus dart frogs are insectivorous, so should be fed a diet solely made up of livefoods. Due to their small size, they will generally feed on a staple diet of live fruit flies, but larger individuals can often take a small live cricket from time to time. It is important to tailor the feeder insect size to the current size of the Dart frog to avoid unwanted accidents.

To ensure they receive all of the required nutrients to remain healthy, any livefood offered to a Green auratus dart frog must be supplemented according to a 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 Green auratus dart frog?

Handling of Green auratus dart frogs should be avoided wherever possible. Amphibians are characterised by a semi-permeable skin membrane over which they absorb water and its contaminants. As human skin often has salts, oils and other substances present, it is not difficult to imagine that this can cause irritation to the sensitive skin of amphibians.

If handling cannot be avoided, for example when rehoming, this should be done using clean, damp hands or even gloves, and should be done as quickly as possible.

How do I buy a Green auratus dart frog?

If you like the look of our UK captive-bred Green auratus dart frogs, this will need to be collected from our physical superstore, so why not come in and see us. We will ask a few quick questions and also ask to see some images of a suitable set-up ready for the frog to go into. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

Common names Green auratus dart frog
Scientific name Dendrobates auratus
Country South America
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 2-3cm (0.7-1”)
Natural habitat Mossy forest floors
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 Shy
Ease of handling Handling should be avoided
Cohabitable No
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