Imitator varadero dart frogs, Ranitomeya imitator 'Varadero'

Imitator varadero dart frogs are a great beginner thumbnail species

At a glance...
  • Imitator varadero are a great beginner thumbnail
  • Easy care requirements and bold personalities
  • Diurnal frogs that are fun to keep as pets
Collection only
Price Match

Do Imitator varadero dart frogs make good pets?

Imitator varadero dart frogs make a great introduction to keeping Thumbnail dart frogs due to their small size, easy care requirements and generally bold personalities. This species is characterised by an orange head and body, and blue legs, with black blotches throughout. Imitators are diurnally active, making them highly entertaining pets to watch.

At Swell Reptiles, all of our Dart frogs were captive bred in the UK, meaning you can rest assured that your new frog came from a reliable source, with minimal negative impacts on their native environment.

What makes a good Imitator varadero dart frog enclosure?

An enclosure of 60x45x45cm (24x18x18cm) can sufficiently house a group of Imitator varadero dart frogs, making the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 60x45x45cm a great choice. Due to their higher humidity requirements, glass enclosures such as this work better than wooden vivariums, as the wood is likely to become damaged in the continuous moisture. To simplify things further, why not take a look at our Frog Starter Kits, put together specifically for Dart frogs.

Do Imitator varadero dart frogs need to be heated?

Imitator varadero dart frogs do best with a warm end temperature of around 23°C (73°F) and a cool end temperature closer to 18°C (64°F), and are not very tolerant of temperatures any higher than this. In most cases, little will need to be done to achieve these temperatures, however, you may require a little supplementary heating in the form of a heat mat stuck up the side or back of the terrarium and attached to an on/off thermostat to prevent overheating.

Do Imitator varadero dart frogs need UVB?

Imitator varadero dart frogs are best kept with a low-level UVB within the UVI range of 1-2. This can be achieved using an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit positioned 25-40cm (10-15”) above the basking zone, or an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% positioned 40-45cm (15-18”) above the basking zone.

How do I maintain the humidity for my Imitator varadero dart frogs?

A loose, moisture-retaining substrate such as coco soil or Arcadia EarthMix is a good start here, along with a drainage layer of Hydro Rocks topped with Hydro Matting. The drainage layer will not only protect the roots of your live plants if you choose to have them, but will also act as a water reservoir to wick water back up into the substrate if it begins to dry out, further helping to maintain higher humidity levels.

You will also need to regularly mist the enclosure to add moisture, either misting with a handheld spray bottle, or using a fogger or rain system, many of which have inbuilt timers so can be set to run whilst you are away from your frogs, particularly useful if you are out of the house at work all day for example.

Imitator varadero dart frogs are not strong swimmers, lacking webbed feet when they reach adulthood. Therefore, although a water dish is a necessity, this should not be deep enough to fully submerge the frog as this puts them at risk of drowning. All water added into a Dart frog terrarium must be treated with dechlorinator to remove harmful chlorine and chloramines, alternatively, if you have access to RO water and can use this, this is even better.

How do I decorate an Imitator varadero dart frog enclosure?

Keeping Dart frogs gives you the opportunity to create a truly spectacular live planted set-up, as their husbandry requirements create the perfect environment for many terrarium variety plants that are unlikely to do well as houseplants. Live plants are not a necessity, however, and using artificial plants can still create a stunning display enclosure.

Aside from foliage, your Dart frog enclosure should incorporate covered areas from either hiding caves or pieces of natural reptile decor such as logs and cork bark pieces. Other items such as rocks, mosses and leaf litter can also be added to enhance the overall look of the set-up and provide enrichment.

What do Imitator varadero dart frogs eat?

Imitator varadero 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 melanogaster fruit flies and springtails. To ensure they receive all of the required nutrients to remain healthy, any livefood offered to a Phantasmal 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 and finally, a vitamin a reptile supplement on every 12th feed, which is particularly important for most amphibians.

Can I handle my Dart frogs?

Like all amphibians, Imitator varadero dart frogs have a semi-permeable skin membrane over which they absorb water and its contaminants, which is why their water must be dechlorinated. As human skin often has salt or chemicals present, handling Dart frogs can cause them discomfort due to these being absorbed over the skin membrane. It is for this reason Phantasmal dart frogs should not be handled unless absolutely necessary, and this should only be done with clean, wet hands.

How do I buy an Imitator varadero dart frog?

We regularly have UK captive bred Imitator varadero dart frogs for sale at Swell Reptiles, but they must be collected from our superstore. If you would like to adopt one of our Dart frogs please come in to see us and bring some photos of your enclosure set up with adequate lighting and the required temperature and humidity parameters.

To ensure all livestock sold by us go to the best homes possible, we will ask to see your photos and ask a few short questions to ensure you are ready to adopt. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

Common names Imitator varadero dart frog, Mimic poison dart frog
Scientific name Ranitomeya imitator 'Varadero' (formerly Dendrobates imitator)
Country Peru
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 1-1.5cm (0.5-0.75")
Natural habitat Rainforest habitats
Housing 60x45x45cm (24x18x18")
Ideal temperature 23°C (73°F) (warm end); 18°C (64°F) (cool end)
UVI 1-2
Ideal humidity 80%
Diet Insectivorous
Average lifespan 8-10 years
Personality Bold
Ease of handling Handling should be avoided
Cohabitable Yes
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