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The Top Five Poisonous Frogs

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Many frogs are beautiful, but some are dangerous. Some species are even poisonous enough to kill. Learning which frogs are lethal can help you avoid them in the wild. Technically these frogs are poisonous, not venomous. Their bodies contain toxins to discourage predators, not to inject into prey.

Splash-Backed Poison Frog

The splash-backed poison frog is gorgeous, but the secretion from one of them can kill up to five humans. This species lives in trees in Peru and Ecuador. Its black body appears to be splashed with color -- yellow, orange or reddish-brown. Its eggs are laid on the forest floor. After they hatch in 10 to 14 days, the tadpoles are carried to a nearby water source, where they live until they morph into frogs.

Phantasmal Poison Frog

The phantasmal poison frog is small, but it's still deadly. Measuring less than half an inch, this species can kill large animals and people, yet it has become beneficial to humans. The poison of the frog can be used to create a painkiller that rivals morphine. These frogs are endangered in their native Ecuador, but they're being bred in captivity to save the species and to help humans. This species has a rusty reddish-brown coloring with white stripes and spots.

Kokoe Poison Dart Frog

The kokoe poison dart frog is found in Colombian forests. This frog hasn't been documented as killing humans, but the poison secreted from its skin is powerful. Natives of the forest spear the frogs and hold them over a fire to draw the poison from the skin. The poison is then rubbed on arrowheads and used for hunting. The poison of this species is said to have an acidlike nature, being soaked up through wounds and pores. It can cause seizures, paralysis, extreme pain and fever. This is another threatened species whose numbers are declining.

Black-Legged Dart Frog

As the second most poisonous frog in the world, the black-legged dart frog has the ability to kill a human with only 150 micrograms of poison. This Colombian species has a bright yellow body with darker legs. Contact can cause fever, extreme pain and seizures. Death is caused by paralysis of respiratory muscles.

Golden Poison Frog

Known for its bright yellow color, the golden poison frog is the most poisonous frog in the world. It can bring down two African bull elephants and up to 20 humans. Merely touching the skin of this frog can kill you. The poison is so deadly that it can kill animals who come into contact with it by walking where the frog has been.