Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Statue of a tree frog outside Explorer's Hall, National Geographic Society

If you live in or will be visiting the D.C. area between now and May 11, you absolutely must visit National Geographic's Explorer Hall. And why, you ask? Because the Society is currently running an exhibit called Frogs! that features some really, really, really cool, living specimens. All of today's pictures were taken at the exhibit.

How many poison dart frogs do you count?

The poison dart frog is so lethal, one little frog can kill 10 humans!

While my friends and I were there today, a NGS staff person came out to feed the dart poison frogs. In the wild, if you encounter one of these beautiful but deadly specimens, steer clear! The poison from a dart frog is toxic enough to kill 10 people! And these little buggers aren't very big. As I mentioned, at one point this morning, a staffer came out to feed them and actually picked one up with her bare hand. I thought for sure we were going to have to call 911. As it turns out, there was no need. Being a curious sort, I asked her, "How were you able to handle a deadly, poisonous frog and you're still breathing?"

This little dart poison guy was barely an inch long! His legs and hindquarters were
iridescent blue, while his head was iridescent gold. He was pretty!

Turns out dart poison frogs are not toxic in captivity because they aren't eating the bugs they eat in the wild that produce the toxin that leaches off of their skin and is lethal. In captivity, they're fed fruit flies and crickets, which render them non-toxic. How cool is that?

Golden Mantella frogs.
Unlike their cousins, these are not poisonous.
There are actually three frogs in this picture.
Can you find the third one?

We also saw a variety of toads, as well as Amazon Milk frogs, Chinese Gliding frogs (they actually use the webbing in their feet to fly!), Smokey Jungle frogs, Waxy Monkey frogs, Borneo Eared Frogs, and tadpoles!

Amazon Milk frog just chillin' on his branch

Borneo Eared frogs enjoying a little shut eye. Well, two of them are anyway...

Here's a fun fact: toads and frogs aren't differing species. Toads are, in fact, frogs!

Chinese Gliding frog in green. These guys use their webbed feet to glide from tree to tree!

Chinese Gliding frog in blue. Isn't he a handsome little guy?

Needless to say, we had a great time, despite the crowds and five jillion kids. (Although, even the kids made it fun as I watched them watch these frogs with utter amazement.) This exhibit was so totally cool, I'm going back on Friday, when I'm downtown again for a meeting.

One of the five jillion kids enjoying the dart poison frogs with her grandma!

Stroller parking was at a premium!
(I'm just glad the NGS prohibited strollers in the exhibit.
Nothing more annoying than being bumped by these transit apparatuses!)

From top to bottom: Delicate Balance, Gary Staab, sculptor; Dart Poison frogs are indigenous to South America; Golden Mantellas are found in Madagascar; Amazon Milk frogs live in French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, and the Peruvian Amazon; Borneo Eared frogs inhabit Borneo, Sumatra, and many Indonesia islands; Chinese Gliding frogs are found in southeastern China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 02/08


Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

A super cool post! :)

I'm not crazy about frogs, but the ones in your pictures are quite cute, especially the Golden Mantellas.

D.C. Confidential said...

Fenix: I hear you. I can take 'em or leave 'em. The Golden Mantellas were breathtaking. As in, "Oh my gosh! Look at how tiny they are" breathtaking. They couldn't have been more than an inch and a quarter in length. And that Tonka truck yellow-orange made them even more fun! (And for someone who is indifferent about frogs, I'm really going on and on, aren't I?)

Lucy said...

Brings back to memory the show from Everybody Loves Raymond...Robert fell in love with a girl who eats flys and he finds out she keeps frogs all over her house. Me thinks they are........taking over the planet. Wooo...oooo.

Sorry. Been out and about all day. A tired mind is a dangerous mind. :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Lucy: I think I missed that episode. Poor Robert! (I liked his character so much better than Raymond's.) No flies or frogs here, but maybe I should get a few to help me with the mosquito problem we have every summer...

Dusty Lens said...

Kermit! It ain't easy being green. Quite an interesting exhibit. So fdifferent than our nartive frogs and toads. Wow, another thing learned about the frog and toad debate. Always fun to learn something new!

D.C. Confidential said...

DL: I confess: I didn't take as many pictures of the American species of frog and toad. I'm going back on Friday, though, with tripod in hand and I'll be sure to snap a few of the variety that are more indigenous to our country.

Bobbie said...

Oh you lucky, lucky woman. To be so close to all these wonderful things to see. I love these frogs and enjoyed your "exhibit" very much. I love frogs, toads (frogs, and frogs!

D.C. Confidential said...

Bobbie: As much as I don't like working in Washington, D.C., I do love living here for all of the "stuff" there is to do in terms of museums and the arts and exhibits like this one. It's a lot of fun and I sometimes take it for granted.

The Artful Eye said...

I love frogs! Last really great frog exhibit I saw was in Chicago at the Shedd Aquarium and I'm surrounding by frogs at home. Who knows?! Maybe I'll make it to D.C. in the spring.

g_mirage said...

How come photos are allowed? =D That type of frog (1st photo) is a joy to capture, it seems to know how to pose...see a ballerina frog
. Hope I get to see a disply like those.

D.C. Confidential said...

AE: The exhibit is at the Nat'l Gee until May 11! I've been to Chicago several times, but have never been to the Shedd. I'm going to have to remedy that the next time I'm in that great city!

Gee: There were restrictions on strollers in the exhibit space, but not on photography! That ballerina frog was very cool! Thank you for sharing.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

I think frogs are adorable! I have one pet frog, had 3 but this one ate the other 2...had 5 tadpoles but the biggest tadpole ate the weaker 2. Nature can be beautiful but cruel too...survival of the fitest. My frogs' hard to photograph due to the perspex tank..you did well with your photos!

D.C. Confidential said...

Lisa: If I could have a terrarium of dart poison frogs, I think I would. Or Golden Mantellas. They're just such interesting little creatures.

My sister had fish that spawned and had more fish. It was fascinating to watch the parental fish protect their spawn from the other fish in the tank. No doubt, a few of them ended up as dinner for the other fish. Survival of the fittest is right!

Arlene said...

You are so lucky to live in DC! I've been hearing about these frogs from everyone and I'm so jealous you get to see them! Wish they'd stick around until May '09!

D.C. Confidential said...

Arlene: It's one of the few perks that makes this town bearable! I wish the frogs were going to be here through next year, too. It would be such a fun exhibit for all the little kids to see. I think the National Zoo has an exotic/tropical frog exhibit. I'll look into it. That might be a possibility for next year's family reunion.