Pet Care Guides Reptile

Mantellas and Poison Dart Frogs


Central & South America


Rainforest & forest

Average Size



Since these frogs only get to be about 3 - 5 cm long you need to provide them with very small food sources. Pin head crickets, fruit flies and other small insects can be provided. They will eat on average 4 - 7 crickets every other day depending on the size - may eat more or less. To know if you are feeding enough you should observe your younger animals when they are eating. Never feed any animal fireflies, these are toxic even in small amounts.


Cage Size: If your tank contains 1 - 3 frogs, a 15 gallon tank is recommended (5 gallon space per frog). Do not purchase a tank smaller than 10 gallons for one frog. 4 - 8 frogs need a cage that is 24 - 36" long, 12 - 18"wide and 12 - 15" deep. This does not limit how big your cage is. The more room you give your frogs the happier they will be.

Cage Design: These frogs originate from areas ranging tropical rain forests to temperate forests. This means your cage design should be similar to what you think of when you think of a rainforest. Your substrate should be soil. Some moss should also be provided to help with the humidity of the tank. If possible, live moss is best, if you cannot find live moss, we carry dead moss. You can simply soak the moss in lukewarm water then wring it out so it is not dripping but very moist. Your cage furniture should consist of rocks, logs and plants. Plants can be live or artificial. Live plants, especially bromeliads are recommended. A shallow water dish should be provided, or a pump to trickle down a waterfall into a shallow lagoon (make sure they can climb out of the water, something may need to slant out of the water to make sure this is possible).

Heat & Lighting

A full spectrum fluorescent bulb with 2% UVB is required. The average temperature for these frogs is daytime 72 - 78°F, and a 10° drop overnight. Remember to use a thermometer to read the tank temperature. If your tank is not warm enough you may need heat lamps or an under the tank heater. Heat sources will drop your tank humidity drastically, to raise humidity back up, mist the tank with water up to 3 times daily.


It is best never to handle these frogs! They contain toxins which are potentially harmful to animals, including humans. Keep contact with the frogs to a base minimum. If you need to move them from their cage, we suggest using a small plastic cup and a lid to scoop it into the cup. Do not rub your eyes or any other part of your body without thoroughly class washing your hands first.

Helpful Hints

When feeding your mantellas and poison arrow frogs, it is critical not to feed anything too large. Smaller size insects are best. We suggest fruit flies (more nutritious) and pinhead size crickets. Feed enough to keep your pet plump but not too much that insects are crawling around the tank and stressing out the animals. Insects that are not eaten can cause damage to the frogs because the frog will not kill what it does not intend to eat and will allow the insects to chew on him!

Do not give too much output of UVB light to amphibians. Fluorescent lights need to be replaced every six months.

If you decide to combine two or more types of mantellas or poison arrow frogs make sure your water area is filtered otherwise you risk two frogs who may not be tolerable to the others toxin. If you do use a filtered water area you must be certain the frogs have plenty of rocks and branches to get out of the water safely. Most of the frogs cannot swim.

We strive to help our customers keep their animals healthy. We recommend vet checkups for all animals. We recommend that you purchase a book about your frogs. If you notice signs of illnesses it is critical to seek treatment as soon as possible as most animals do hide their illness until it is in an advanced stage.

This paper generalizes Mantellas and Poison Arrow Frogs. They are very similar in nature and require the same type of care and cage. The generalization may not fit the natural habitat exactly, but is similar. It is important when purchasing one of these frogs that you get specifics written on your cage. Make note of your specific temperature range before leaving the store with your pet.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at the Reptile Room: 717-299-5691 extension 1240. If you would like more in-depth knowledge we carry a large variety of books.