Quick Reference

Foraging Area

Preferred areas in man made enclosures.

Scientists often takes objects out of nature to study their properties in a simpler system. Frogs are so intimately connected to their environments that they must be housed in conditions that mimic the conditions they've evolved in, for them to survive best. To start with my rule of thumb is 5 gallons worth of space per small frog, (under 2 inches S/V),. Remember this is a rule of thumb and a minimum. As you get to know the animals you may find some animals are happier with a little less space. In most cases though, you should start with more space, especially if you are going with only one or two animals in the enclosure. Also more space often means the frogs show more natural behavior.

This space must be usable for the animal and the references below are to help you know what is usable. By "usable" the space must be accessible to the frog and an environment that the frog would want to be in. A tall tank with no plants filling the upper spaces is not usable space, neither is the space usable if it is not humid enough. The more acceptable the area is to the frog the greater amount of natural behavior you'll see.


Many dart frogs live in trees, and are seldom found with in even a meter of the forest floor, (Dendrobates means Dendro [Greek] = tree + bates [Greek] = one who walks). In captivity these animals may accept living in areas that are not over a hundred feet high, but the frogs will seldom be found on the ground. These animals should be given enclosures that are tall, (but must have depth and width as well so that it's usable space) to give the frog a range it can live in.


Though their scientific names, (Dendrobates, Epipedobates, and Phyllobates), imply that they have defined heights that they range, many dart frogs will clamber in whatever space given them. These animal enclosures should tend toward being cubes or at least as tall as they are wide.

Ground Cover

Some frogs never look up. The will climb only occasionally. Their world is the world of the forest floor. Their enclosures can be only 12 inches high, and as long as they have enough floor space, they will be at home. These enclosures need some minimal height so they are more accessible and view able for you, but give them as expansive a floor, with ground cover like leaf litter, as possible.

Copyright © 2007-2013, Tor Linbo & Trevor Anderson, tlinbo@u.washington.edu. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be duplicated or retransmitted without the expressed permission of the authors. Based heavily on original web design by Trevor Anderson 1999.