The reason the "terrible frog" is such a special organism is because of the toxin that it contains. The frog ingests organisms like the Choresine Beetle and secretes the toxin through its skin glands. The frog is covered by this secretion of deadly alkaloid poison known as Batrachotoxin and once ingested it prevents nerves from transmitting impulses. These frogs contain a much greater amount of Batrachotoxin than the rest of their counterparts within the genus Phyllobates. The toxin that they contain has shown that even handling the frog for up to a minute or so can cause numbness in the hand and arms. If the toxin were to get into any open would you could be dead within the matter of minutes.

                                                                                                                   Photos from public domain 

What happens when you take these frogs out of their natural habitat?

If taken out of their natural habitat the frogs will slowly lose their toxicity. This is because they need to eat their native diet of toxic beetles to continue secreting the Batrachotoxin. A test was done to see how long types of Phyllobates would be able to continue secreting their toxins even without eating their native diet. The study found that through six years in captivity, the Golden Poison Frog retained a mean 22% of their original Batrachotoxin amount. This amount is still greater than that of any of their fellow Phyllobates friends. The scientists also decided that it was highly unlikely that through all of these years the glands of the frog could maintain the toxin for so long. They concluded that the frog must continue to secrete the toxin but at a much lower level. Containing up to 1.9 mg of the Batrachotoxin, they can kill up to ten grown human beings. These frogs are twenty times more potent than any other frog in the Phyllobates genus making them the most toxic frog on the planet.

Benefits of Batrachotoxin?

The toxin has not yet been used for medical treatments. However, scientists have been researching ways to put this promising toxin into the medical field as an extremely powerful painkiller.

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