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What Is the Most Poisonous Animal?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 17, 2024
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The most poisonous animal in the world is the Golden Poison Frog (also called the Golden Dart Frog), followed by the Fugu pufferfish. The Golden Poison Frog's Latin species name is Phyllobates terribilis. Living up to its title of the world's most poisonous animal, the Golden Poison Frog is so lethal that mice and dogs have been known to die from walking on a paper towel previously touched by the frog. In general, as a precaution, keep your dogs or cats safe by making sure you monitor them as much as possible. The Golden Poison Frog does not generate its poison itself, but gets it from consuming beetles of the family Melyridae. It is currently known whether these beetles are actually more poisonous than the frog that consumes them, but they may actually deserve the title of world's most poisonous animal.

A single Golden Poison Frog contains enough poison to kill 10-20 adult humans, while the pufferfish has enough poison to kill around 30 humans. The Golden Poison Frog is considered more poisonous because its poison is several times more lethal by weight. Both poisons are more than 1200 times deadlier than cyanide. The Golden Poison Frog is found on the Pacific coast of Columbia, while the fugu pufferfish is cosmopolitan. To clarify, poisonous refers to animals that excrete poison when you eat them while venomous animals are those that inject venom through bites. If dogs or cats had venom then they can be considered venomous because they deliver the venom through bites.

Being the most poisonous animal, the Golden Poison Frog has an interesting relationship with humans, as does the fugu pufferfish. The Golden Poison Frog is the main source used by Columbian natives to create poison darts. The frog is captured between sticks, then held near a fire. Under stress, the frog begins releasing poison profusely as small drops which leak from its skin. These drops are put on the head of poison darts or arrows, then used to hunt prey. Poisoned thus, these darts can bring down just about anything. If you enjoy bringing your pet on vacations or if you use a service animal, make sure to check the surroundings before you let them roam for their safety.

The fugu pufferfish's relationship with humans consists of being considered a sushi delicacy in Japan. Certain specific parts of the fugu are not poisonous, and can be extracted and included in a sushi dish by an experienced chef. If the chef messes up in his cuts, the patron dies. Several people die every year from this. So exercise caution when trying this, and also think twice before giving some to your ESA, service animal, or regular home pets. However, tiny amounts of the poison cause the gourmet to experience a unique tingling sensation on the tongue, which likely contributes to its legend as a Japanese delicacy. Makes you realize how domesticated and trained animals are much safer to take care of and have at home.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WiseGeek contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By Chmander — On Jul 17, 2014

Japan certainly has some interesting delicacies, and the fugu pufferfish is no exception. Despite the risk, if I were to take a trip to Japan, I might end up giving it a try. Also, I imagine that it's a very difficult process to prepare the fish, especially considering what's involved. However, Japan is known for having a lot of unusual cuisines, and this is no different. Unlike those who live outside of the country (such as Americans for example), their diet is much more expansive.

By Viranty — On Jul 17, 2014

I wonder if there are any animals that are immune to the poison of the frog. Considering how it's known to be the most poisonous animal in the world, it wouldn't surprise me if this wasn't the case, especially considering how the poison is used to hunt other animals. I've never encountered this frog before, but I can imagine that it must be very dangerous to encounter one, even if you're holding it between sticks. One wrong move, and it could attack you.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WiseGeek contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology,...
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