Keepers breed blue frog for the first time

Keepers at a zoo are celebrating after breeding a species of blue frog.

The blue poison dart frog, or Dendrobates tinctorius azureus, is usually found in the forests of southern Suriname and northern Brazil.

It can now also be found in the reptile nursery at Paignton Zoo in Devon.

Blue poison dart frogs warn off predators with their bright blue skin and secrete poisonous alkaloids, which can paralyse or even kill an attacker.

Blue dart frogs at Paignton Zoo (Paignton Zoo/PA)
Blue dart frogs at Paignton Zoo (Paignton Zoo/PA)

However, the frog loses its toxicity in zoos due to a different diet.

There are now 31 blue poison dart frogs at Paignton Zoo.

Katy Upton, senior keeper at the zoo, said: "They are also a good species to study, as males will transport tadpoles and display parental care.

"I have found that having one female with a group of males works really well, the males don't seem to fight much over the female - they are so food orientated they just care about eating.

"We spray them with water regularly and supply a good layer of leaf litter - they tend to breed once I add in fresh leaf litter and they discover a good egg laying spot."

The frog is not considered to be endangered, but the zoo had not bred it before.

It is also known by its local Indian name, okopip, and breeds seasonally - usually in the rainy months of February and March.

During the breeding season, males sit on a rock and call until the females track them down. The females then fight over a male.

Eggs are laid in the male's territory and he takes care of them, sometimes with the female's help.

They hatch after after 14-18 days, with the tadpoles becoming frogs between 10 and 12 weeks.

The frogs can live for up to six years in the wild and 10 years in zoos.

Adults weight no more than about eight grams and measure up to three to four centimetres long.

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