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Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' (Captive Bred)


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About This Product

Defining Characteristics: 

  • Great beginner frog
  • Bright blue/green and black/bronze coloration
  • Moderately bold
  • Very easy to breed
  • Quiet call
  • Large
  • Can be kept in groups

Name: Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope'. Commonly called the Green and Black Poison Dart Frog. The species is commonly referred to as 'El Cope' in the United States frog hobby. Simply calling the species 'auratus' is fairly common, as well.

Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for a single Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope', but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Auratus will not climb as much as other varieties of dart frogs, and prefer a horizontally oriented tank. El Cope auratus seem to appreicate a water feature, such as a small pond. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.

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

Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, auratus prefer a humidity range of 70 – 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 to Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope'. Auratus in particular seem to enjoy a wetter environment and higher ambient humidity levels vs other species of poison dart frogs, and will be more active in a more humid environment, especially when provided with a water feature. In the wild, auratus are commonly found in association with streams.

Size: Adult female El Cope Auratus are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.5 inches. Male El Cope auratus are a bit smaller, averaging about 1.25 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure at least 5/8” long.

Age: Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. I had a friend who had a pair of auratus still breeding after keeping them for 27 years, and they were wild caught adults when he received them in the early 1990s! In the wild, it is thought that auratus may live 4-6 years. All 'El Cope' Auratus for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.

Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, El Cope auratus poison dart frogs prefer smaller foods. All of the Green and Black auratus dart frogs Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' 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. For more information on what poison dart frogs can eat, please visit our How-To Guide on Feeding Poison Dart Frogs.

Sexing: Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' is not sexable until 10-12 months of age, and even at that age visual sexing is very difficult. Male auratus tend to be smaller than females, which often appear both longer and wider. Males also tend to have wider front toe pads and a less defined back arch than females. Josh's Frogs sells 2-3 month old juvenile El Cope auratus that are not sexable unless otherwise noted. For more information on sexing poison dart frogs, please visit our How-To Guide on Sexing Poison Dart Frogs.

Color/Pattern: A typically green and bronze poison dart frog, Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' is very variable. Varying amounts of black to brown to bronze contrasts nicely will a bright, forest green, blue, turquoise, or somewhere inbetween. As El Cope auratus age, their colors often change a bit as well. The intensity of the green can vary a bit. The green/black pattern typically resembles camo, but occasionally a spot or stripe can make itself apparent. Josh's Frogs does not recommend, support, or endorse line breeding as we believe this leads to weaker captive animals and nature has done a wonderful job of creating an amazing variation in color and pattern of poison dart frogs already.

Social Behavior: These frogs do well housed in groups their entire life, as long as enough space is provided. Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 10 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 10-12 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of Dendrobates auratus may change, and females may eat each other's eggs. Female D. auratus 'El Cope' may fight with each other over a mate. For that reason, many breeders recommend keeping auratus in pairs as adults. In our experience at Josh's Frogs, generally this aggression is minor, and auratus make a great group frog. Josh's Frogs strongly recommends against housing different species/morphs of dart frogs - for the health of your pets, please avoid mixing! Josh's Frogs recommends purchasing multiple frogs if you are interested in breeding them – this greatly increases the chances of getting a pair.

Breeding: El Cope auratus are very easy to breed. Sometimes they lay eggs frequently, only to stop and go months before laying another clutch. Like most Dendrobates, eggs are deposited on a smooth broad leaf, or on a petri dish under a cocohut. Most egg clutches consist of 4-6 eggs. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults. For more information on breeding and raising poison dart frogs, please visit our How-To Guide on Breeding Poison Dart Frogs.

Natural Range: Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' is native to Panama. Generally found in humid lowlands, El Cope auratus seem to thrive in heavy layers of leaf litter, and are often found near streams or creeks.

History in the Hobby: Many different forms of auratus are present in the hobby, predominantly from Panama. El Cope auratus were introduced into the US hobby in the early/mid 2000s.

Links of Interest:

Auratus Care Sheet by Josh's Frogs

Wikipedia entry on Dendrobates auratus

Auratus information on

Still not sure if Dendrobates auratus 'El Cope' from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!


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Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

Based on 16 reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars


Came in looking great and hoping around when I put them in the quarantine bin. And now I’ve had them for 5 months almost now and they’ve been great, super cool to watch throughout the day!! LOVE THEM


5.0 out of 5 stars


I ordered a few of these as my first darts after years and years of wanting to finally break into the hobby, doing research, observing in online communities, and building bioactive setups for various critters, and me day they have absolutely not disappointed me! These are some of the most beautiful creatures I've ever met, and seem to be the pinnacle of good health! Very bold and very hungry little ones, even with many caves and crevices to hide in, they choose to be out in the open at almost every point I've checked on them. I am 100% satisfied, and in love with these little guys, and will be housing many more in the years to come!


5.0 out of 5 stars

So healthy!

All 3 Arrived in perfect condition and started exploring right away. They were feeding on springtails within an hour of introduction and by the evening they were comfortable with my presence. The colors are beautiful! Three frogs and three shades of blue, all stunning! Thanks so much!!!


5.0 out of 5 stars


Within hours of being added to their enclosure they were out exploring and eating. The precautions taken during shipment could not be better. I was very pleased with the two frogs that I received and couldn’t be happier.


5.0 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, healthy frogs!

I purchased 3 El Cope's 6 months ago and they are thriving. I requested frogs with teal colored hue and I was very happy with their selection! They were packaged well and readily hunted flies and springtails.

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