Panamanian Golden Frog

Panamanian Golden Frog Atelopus zeteki

Type of Animal:

Wet forest/cloud forest/dry forest & associated streams, mountain streams, mountain areas


Yellow-green to bright gold w/ many individuals having black spots on legs/back, females larger than males, long limbs, slender build

Ants, flies, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, springtails, wasps, spiders, silverfish, chiggers, worms. Tadpoles eat algae.

Status in Wild:
Critically Endangered

Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & aquariums. Some specimens taken from wild into captivity. Institutions sending money to Panama for conservation efforts. Project Golden Frog began in 1998 as cooperative consortium between American & Panamanian institutions as response to chytrid fungus (a key threat to this species). Amphibian Recovery Conservation Coalition exported animals to US in 2004. Houston Zoo helped establish El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC) in Panama in 2005. When EVACC exceeded capacity in 2006, formed temporary partnership w/ Hotel Campestre in El Valle where 2 rooms loaded w/ terrariums as stop-gap measure until 2007 when EVACC completed. Panama Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project (PARC) signed in 2009 as joint partnership between Houston Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Africam Safari, Zoo New England, Summit Municipal Park, Defenders of Wildlife, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, & Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Project Atelopus started in 2012 to search for surviving animals in W Panama. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Gamboa Field Station opened PARC facility in 2015. Release trials conducted in 2017 in Mamoni Valley Preserve & 2018 at Cobre mining site in Donoso.

Groups of 4-8 w/ more females than males. Froglets can be found in groups of up to 50.

Additional Info:

Young: Tadpole
Group: Colony/Army/Knot
Male: 0.11-0.42 oz
Female: 0.14-0.52 oz
9-11 days 

Life Span:
10-12 years

Body Length:
Male: 1.38-1.88 in
Female: 1.77-2.48 in
Young: 0.228 in

Main predators are snakes, birds, & fish.
Critically endangered due to chytrid fungus, pollution, chytrid fungus, habitat fragmentation/loss, overcollection, climate change, agriculture, & deforestation.
Bright coloration warns predators that they’re toxic-nonetheless some snakes, birds, & fish can handle poison.
Tadpoles hatch after 9-11 days, becoming froglets/toadlets at 6 months old & staying in that stage until maturity at 2 years old.

Fun Fact(s):
Panama’s national animal.
Though called frogs, they’re actually toads.
While poisonous in wild, they lose much/all toxicity in captivity due to diet. Captive animals only fed nontoxic prey. Wild animals eat lots of poisonous prey.

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