Green Mantella Frog

Children's Zoo


In the Zoo
1.2 inches
1.2 inches
1-2 pounds
12-14 months
12-14 months

Geographic Range

Africa, southeastern Madagascar

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Mantella viridis

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Activity Time Frame:
Sexual Dimorphism:
2-6 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
5-10 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
5-10 years


Critically Endangered


A large and robust frog that can reach 30 mm (1.2 inches). They are largely green, although some individuals appear more yellow in color. A black mask wraps around the face with a white band around the top lip. The underside is black with blue speckles. Females tend to be larger, more plump and have a more square snout.

Species Specifics

The Three-Toed Box Turtle has a tan or olive carapace with darker seams and some vague markings. They also have orange, red and yellow spots on their head and forelimbs.The defining characteristic of this turtle is its toes. It has three toes on its back feet, thus why its known as the Three Toed Box Turtle. Hybrid Three Toed Box Turtles who have been interbred with Common Box Turtles sometimes have four toes instead of three. Sexual Dimorphism: males are larger. Males are slightly larger on average, the posterior lobe of their plastron is concave, and the claws on their hind legs are short, thick and curved. Males also have thicker and longer tails. Females' rear claws are longer, straighter and more slender, and the posterior lobe of their plastron is flat or slightly convex. There are four subspecies of Terrapene carolina in the United States. Terrapene carolina bauri (Florida Box Turtle) lives on the peninsula of Florida. Terrapene c. major (Gulf Coast Box Turtle) ranges from the panhandle of Florida westward along the Gulf cost to eastern Texas. Terrapene c. triunguis (Three-toed Box Turtle) lives in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into southcentral Texas; and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands.

Physical Characteristics

All frogs require water, but they do not obtain it by drinking. Their permeable skin allows them to absorb water cutaneously. An amphibian's ability to change color depends on many factors such as light, temperature, humidity, season, diet, and mood.



In ropical rainforests near shallow pools and ponds.


Restricted to extreme northern Madagascar and most well-known from Montagne des Fran�ais. They inhabit dry lowland forest, especially around streambeds. They are found at elevations of 50 - 300 m above sea level.


Insectivore (primarily.) Eats termites, ants, fruit flies, and other small arthropods. Also eats soft fallen fruits.

Ecological Web

Insectivore. Primary consumer. Avid diurnal predator (hunts primarily insects).

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Diurnal. Spends most of its day hunting for food.


The gecko will lick its eye to clean it from dust and other particles.

Social Behavior

Adult mantellas live in small colonies scattered throughout southeastern Madagascar, with an average of two males for every one female. During the spring breeding season males claim and protect territories, calling out to the females with a series of short, very rapid clicks. If another male mantella wanders into guarded territory, the owner wrestles with him and pushes him back out.

Reproductive Behavior

Males attract females by calling out very short notes that are composed of two even shorter clicks. Between 15 and 60 greenish-yellow eggs are laid in cavities under rocks and in the trunks of dead trees. The little ones hatch into tadpoles during heavy rainfall, which washes them into small pools of water nearby. The tadpoles eat algae and grow to a size of 28 mm. They undergo metamorphosis into their adult form after 45-65 days.


A female mantella waits until the first big rainstorm of the season and then deposits her eggs in damp leaf litter or a short tunnel she has dug. The climbing mantella female climbs in trees and deposits her eggs in tree holes. Male mantellas then tend to the eggs until hatching. The eggs hatch into tiny tadpoles a few days later.



Listed as Critically Endangered (CR) by IUCN due to habitat loss and pollution.


Due to a widespread, consistent and persistent decline of the species, the ICUN considers the Box Turtle to be a Vulnerable Species. The decline is associated with anthropogenic causes, or manmade causes centering on urbanization. Agricultural use of pesticides within a shared water shed has negatively impacted young turtle survivability due to malformed eggs. Introduction of synanthopic predator species, (species who live near and benefit mutually from human settlement and urban habitats) such as ravens, coyotes and raccoons, are increasing in numbers as humans continue to urbanize.

Current Threats


Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

Fascinating Facts

Many mantella species (but not the Golden Mantella) secrete toxins like those found in South America's poison frogs. They get alkaloid toxins from the prey that they eat, primarily ants, termites, and fruit flies. They then use these toxins for their own chemical defense. While not deadly, they secrete enough toxins to make a predator sick or, at the very least, they can make themselves taste quite bad!

Interestingly, human actions can affect how toxic mantellas can be. For instance, mantellas living in areas untouched by human activity have more alkaloid toxins in their bodies than those living in areas that have been polluted. As humans move into mantella habitat or pollute it with contaminants, many of the frogs' prey items are killed off, and there is less variety for the mantellas to eat. Scarcer food options means fewer alkaloids to be absorbed, which eventually leads to less toxic frogs.

A group of mantellas is called an army.

For many years, scientists believed that Madagascar's mantellas and South America's poison frogs were closely related. But DNA studies have shown that they are only distant relatives with similar bright, warning colors.


Andreone, Franco, V. Mercurio, F Mattioli, and T J. Razafindrabe. 2005. "Good News for Three Critically Endangered and Traded Frogs From Madagascar." FROGLOG 72.

Rabemananjara, F. C. E., A. Crottini, Y. Chiari, F. Andreone, F. Glaw, R. Duguet, P. Bora, O. Ravoahangimalala Ramilijaona & M. Vences. 2007. Molecular systematics of Malagasy poison frogs in the Mantella betsileo and M. laevigata species groups. Zootaxa 1501: 31-44.

Vences, M., F. Glaw & W. Böhme. 1999. A review of the genus Mantella (Anura, Ranidae, Mantellinae): taxonomy, distribution and conservation of Malagasy poison frogs. Alytes 17 (1-2): 3-72. fw:10

Oakland Zoo. 1997. Green Mantella Frog.