Terrible new inhabitants at the Debrecen Zoo

Local News

Even during the temporary closure, the collection of the Cívisváros institution will be even more colorful: this time, the Palm House, which presents the exotic wildlife of the tropics, has grown with a new species, after five terrible arrow poison frogs arrived from the Pécs Zoo on the 19th of February. The newcomers have already occupied their naturally designed terrarium, where visitors will also be able to admire them after reopening. The terrible arrow poison frog is also considered very rare among Hungarian zoos, as it can only be found in Pécs and now in Debrecen; and although the sex of the new inhabitants is unknown, it is hoped that their sex ratio will allow them to reproduce, in which the institution has had considerable success in several frog species last year.

The terrible arrow poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis), native to the rainforests of Colombia’s Pacific coast alone, is not only the largest (up to 5.5 cm long) but also the deadliest arrow poison frog species; with the venom on its skin, presumably derived from ants eaten in the wild, a single individual can kill up to 20 people or two adult African elephant bulls. The evolutionary control strategy typical of arrow poison frogs is that, with their bright coloring, either lemon yellow, mint green or orange for this species, they specifically draw the attention of predators to the dangers of consuming them. At the same time, we have no reason to be afraid of individuals raised in human care, such as the new residents of Debrecen, as they do not have access to the special food that is the source of the poison. Due to the rapid destruction of its habitat, the species is listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List and is listed in Annex II of the Washington Convention (CITES).


– Dr. Gergely Sándor Nagy
Executive Director of the Zoo

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