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Oophaga pumilio:
  • Difficulty: Advanced to Expert - This is mainly due to the difficulty in breeding them, as well as their territorial habits.

  • Location & History: Found throughout Costa Rica, Panama, and in Nicaragua.

  • Descriptions & Behavior:

    Note: These morphs represent unique subpopulations in the wild that share general physical characteristics, and for that reason different morphs should not be mixed. In addition it is not recommend to mix PFR (panama farm raised) pumilio with "old line" pumilio present in the hobby before the importations even if they seem very similar, as there is a good change they aren't the same thing (The PFR uyamas are NOT the same as the Uyama Rivers present before the importation, and are better labeled as Uyama IIs like in the European morph guide as they are a different morph).

    Generally bolder frogs, but temperament is somewhat dependent on enclosure. Larger, heavily planted tanks will offer more viewing opportunities.

  • General Care: 65-85 F. Temperatures in the higher 70's seem to be favorable for the majority of the morphs available in the US.

    Groups of this frog are feasible, provided that the enclosure is large enough with heavy vegetation. It should be noted that males of this group can be very territorial, and if more than one male is included per enclosure, special attention should be paid to ensure that no individual is being stressed by another's aggression.

    Vivarium should be larger than 10 gallons for 1 pair, with both ample height and floorspace, as the frogs will use all available surface area. Many of the success stories with these animals can be related to larger tanks that offer various egg laying sites. Much larger vivariums are required to hold more than a pair.

  • Breeding & tadpole Care: Obligate egg feeder, with clutch sizes from 3-10. Eggs must be left in situ as developing tadpoles will only consume infertile eggs laid by the female.

    Bromeliad leaves, film canisters, or other smooth surfaces. Females seem to prefer to lay between overlapping leaves.

    Unknown if tadpoles will act aggressively towards each other, but it is unlikely that two larvae will be deposited in the same vessel.

    Automated misting has also been recommended by many as a requirement for breeding success. This helps flush the tadpole sites and keep them full. In addition to the misting pumilo, they can benefit from more ventilation than others due to the increased misting. Successful misting times may very anywhere from 3 times a day up to 5 times a day, and from 1-5 minutes each time.

  • Froglet Care:

    Froglet care is the trickiest part about O. pumilio care, and also the most highly debated. Froglet care initially hinges on the keepers' decision to leave the froglet in the tank with its parents, or to remove it as soon as it is discovered. The decision varies with keepers' preference, experience level, tank setup and condition, and the specific O. pumilio morph being worked with.

    Typically froglets are pulled with the hardiest morphs (Bastimentos, Man Creek, etc) usually kept in smaller tanks, when the froglets move out of the container they morphed in and begin to actively hunt. The hardier morphs tend to have more robust froglets that can handle the stress of capture and a new environment better, as well as take larger food items sooner. Smaller tanks tend to not have as good a population of micro fauna as in larger tanks, and this is further depleted if there are other froglets already in the tank as well.

    Froglets are moved to small containers (gladware, kritter keepers, 2.5 gallons or smaller) and provided leaf litter for cover and kept individually. It is best if these containers already have a strong springtail population going already, and springtails should be added regularly to keep a constant supply. Stunted melanogaster FFs, preferably of the wingless or golden delicious varieties, as well as other tiny feeders such as freshly born aphids should also be offered. As the frog grows, it can be offered more FFs and offered other small food items.

    Froglets typically left in tank are the more difficult morphs (darklands, robalo, etc), kept in larger tanks, and are froglets that would die from the stress of capture and relocation. The tanks in which these froglets are found should have plenty of leaf litter in which the froglets can hide and hunt, and the springtail population of the vivarium should be kept as high by adding additional springtails on at least a weekly basis when froglets are seen. Additional small foods like stunted melanogaster, wingless or golden declicious, and fresh born aphids should also be added on a regular basis. The longer the tank has been set up, the better the micro fauna of the tank will be, and the better success of the froglets. When set up and cared for correctly, these tanks can support a number of froglets as well as a colony of adults. Froglets should be pulled when half to 2/3 the size of adults, as they are nearing sexual maturity and that is the point in which the parents may be a danger to the offspring.

    Note: Even with misting systems some suggest flushing the water holders (broms or otherwise) 1-4x weekly by hand. Misting systems just don't flush the water as much as some like, and some have had water quality problems in the past when leaving the mister to do all the work.

  • Pictures:

    Bastimentos Froglet:


    Bastimentos with tad:

    Yellow Bastimentos:

    Yellow Bastimentos:

    Man Creek:

    Pumilo Froglet:


    "Yellow-belly" male:

    "Yellow-belly" froglet:

Dane Thaanum (Dane)
Corey Wickliffe (kerokero)
Kyle Kopp (kyle1745)
Oz (rozdaboff)
(Jordan B)

If you would like to see any updates or modifications to this care sheet please let myself or a moderator know.

Last Updated: March 2022 by Socratic Monologue
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