In the US, it’s the dead of winter, but in the southern hemisphere, it’s summertime! South America is home to some of the world’s most colorful animals: the poison frogs.

Poison frogs (sometimes called poison arrow frogs) got their name because some groups of Indigenous people use the frogs’ poison on blowdarts. Only a handful of the 170 species of “poison frogs” have been used for this purpose, though. In fact, many species of poison frogs aren’t dangerous to humans at all.

The species that are dangerous, though, are very dangerous. Poison frogs’ skin is coated in toxins, which they produce from the foods they eat. The most toxic species, the golden poison frog, is dangerous even to touch, and each frog contains enough venom to kill up to twenty people. Their bright colors help to warn off potential predators, the same way that monarch butterflies do with their orange wings!

Photo by Wilfried Berns