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Defining Characteristics:


  • Great beginner thumbnail
  • Bright green, blue and black coloration
  • Moderately bold
  • Easy to breed
  • Quiet call
  • Small
  • Great in Groups


Name: Ranitomeya variabilis 'Southern'. Formerly known as Dendrobates variabilis, this frog is commonly known as Zimmerman's Poison Dart Frog Recent taxonomic revisions have labeled this species as Ranitomeya variabilis. The species name refers to it's variable appearance.


Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 2-3 Ranitomeya variabilis, but we recommend a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please read our blog post on setting up a new tank.


Temperature: They can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 80 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85F are dangerous.


Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, variabilis prefer a humidity range of 80 – 100%, but can tolerate humidity down to 50% for short periods of time if the frogs have access to water. Low humidity levels, especially without access to water, can quickly be fatal.


Size: Adult female and male R. variabilis are similar in length, measuring in at around an inch. All of the Ranitomeya variabilis 'southern' froglets we sell are well started juveniles, and measure approximately 1/2” long.


Age: Ranitomeya variabilis 'Southern' is capable of living well over 10 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 5-8 years is more common. All thumbnail poison dart frogs for sale are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.


Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, variabilis prefer smaller foods. All of the thumbnail dart frogs will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Ranitomeya variabilis will readily consume Drosophila hydei fruit flies and pinhead crickets. All ages of poison dart frogs will enjoy springtails and isopods. All feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. 


Sexing: Ranitomeya variabilis 'Southern' are fairly easy to sex as adults. Females are much wider than males, as they lay eggs on a weekly basis. 


Social Behavior: These frogs do well housed in groups their entire life as long as enough space is provided. We recommend approximately 5 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 5-8 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of variabilis may change and females may eat each other's eggs, although most will even breed together in the same film canister! 


Breeding: Variabilis are a fairly easy poison dart frogs to breed. Best bred in groups, males call to attract a female to a suitable egg laying site. Then, 4-8 eggs are laid near water (often in a film canister or a bromeliad). The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults. Tadpoles will feed on dead fruit flies, the standard frog and tadpole bites/sera micron fare, and even unfertilized eggs if left in with the adults! 

Ranitomeya Variabilis "Southerns"

SKU: DA150
Out of Stock
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