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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

One of the most toxic animals on the planet.

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Do you have ranidaphopia? I'm not really sure why, but I find the names for phobias kind of entertaining and even kind of funny. Before moving to Panama, I can divulge that I was afraid of spiders and I gotta be honest, I was pretty worried about it because there's a LOT of spiders here and they are big and colorful.

After living here for a few years without Ryan to (I'm going to confess: I have killed spiders. I'm not proud of it but I'm guilty) kill or relocate the spiders I had to do the deed myself. After years of being surrounded by these creepy crawlies that are essentially completely harmless to me, and so important to the environment, I no longer kill them. I have someone else relocate them back to the jungle.

Anyhow, back to frogs. Ranidaphobia is an irrational fear of frogs. I had no idea people were so afraid of frogs. They are so small and so cute! But alas, people are afraid of them even here in the jungle where there are hundreds of species of frogs and they are everywhere! That's ok, we have an agreement: they will move the spiders and I will move the frogs.

The poison dart frog is actually one of the cutest little frogs. They are the size of a quarter and slowly hop and bumble about the jungle floor. I know now why I like them so much - they eat spiders! But don't want to touch these little guys.

They are among the most toxic animals on the planet. When agitated, the poison glands on their skin emits a powerful neuro-cardio toxin called batrachotoxin which can kill humans and each little tiny frog can have enough toxin to kill 10 adult males. Thankfully they are easy to spot in the jungle with their bright colors and most of us know better than to lick them.

That strong venom can come in handy! This cute little guy got its name from the indigenous people that coat their arrows with the toxic skin secretions. I hear this type of hunting is still used to this day with indigenous tribes.

Nature is amazing and powerful and brutal. As with many things in nature, scientists are researching how this toxin can be used to create medicines like pain killers. Pretty soon you just might be licking a frog for your back pain.

Panama has several different kinds of poison dart frogs that - surprise - are facing extinction so, you might want to consider booking that flight sooner than later if you want to see them in the wild. We know just where to take you.

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

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