Golden Dart Frog Vs Inland Taipan: Which Is More Deadly To Humans?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: January 23, 2023
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Creatures with biological toxins are frightening because of their potential to cause significant pain or damage with a relatively small effort. Picking up a poisonous frog or accidentally angering a venomous snake can lead to a painful death. Two creatures with the deadliest toxins are the golden dart frog and the inland taipan. Among these two deadly animals, which is deadlier? Today, we’re going to compare the golden dart frog vs. inland taipan and determine whether the frog or the snake has the potential to cause more harm to humans.

Comparing a Golden Dart Frog and an Inland Taipan

Yellow Animal – Golden Poison Dart Frog
The golden dart frog is rare and lives in the rainforests of Columbia in South America.

©Thorsten Spoerlein/Shutterstock.com

Golden Dart FrogInland Taipan
Venom LD50– 0.0002mg/kg 0.2 µg/kg
– Roughly 2-7.5 µg can be fatal to humans
– Has enough poison on its skin to kill 10 people or more
– 0.025mg/kg
– 25 µg/kg
– One bite of 44 mg of venom can kill 100 people
How the Toxin Is Introduced– Requires a human to touch or consume the frog to feel the effects
– Toxin is produced in their skin glands
– Delivers venom through its fangs while biting
– Envenomates in roughly 80% of cases
Proximity to Humans– Lives in rainforests in South America
– Endangered species
– A human would need to seek out this animal to purposely
– Lives in remote regions of Australia
– Found in South Australia and Queensland
– Known for being placid
Human Deaths– No reported cases of golden dart frogs killing human beings
– No antidote available for the poison
– No reported deaths from the snake
– Few severe bites have been recorded in recent decades
– Antivenom is readily available that sharply increases the odds of survival

Four Methods for Determining Which Creature Is Deadlier

The key attributes determining which is deadlier to humans between the golden dart frog and the inland taipan are venom LD50, how the toxin is introduced, proximity to humans, and human deaths.

Before we declare the winner of the golden dart frog vs. inland taipan, we have to examine them in several ways. It’s not enough to merely state which one has an LD50 that’s deadlier than the other.

After all, the most venomous animal in the world can’t be the outright deadliest to humans if it’s too remote to interact with. Furthermore, an animal that actively tries to introduce the poison to a human is deadlier than one that requires the human to behave foolishly and handle the animal.

With those concepts in mind, we’re going to consider four different measures to help us determine their level of danger. By the time we’ve finished, we’ll be able to declare one creature deadlier than the other with a reasonable level of certainty.

Golden Dart Frog vs. Inland Taipan: Venom LD50

A head shot of an inland taipan against a black background
The inland taipan has a potentially deadly bite, and several bites have been recorded.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

The term LD50 refers to the amount of a toxic substance that would kill 50% of a group of test animals. Most often, that term applies to mice. The lower the LD50 required to kill the test animals, the more dangerous the substance.

The golden dart frog’s toxin has a far lower LD50 than the inland taipan. The LD50 of the golden dart frog is 0.2 µg/kg, and the LD50 of the inland taipan is 25 µg/kg. Judging by that alone, the golden dart frog is deadlier. However, we have to also consider the secretions of each animal.

Based on estimates, a single bite from the inland taipan can produce 44 mg of venom. That is enough to kill 100 people. Meanwhile, the diminutive golden dart frog has enough toxin on its skin to kill between 10 and 20 people.

All in all, the golden dart frog’s toxin is stronger, but the inland taipan still produces a great deal of its venom.

Golden Dart Frog vs. Inland Taipan: How the Toxin Is Introduced

Another thing to consider is how the toxin is transferred from the animal to a human. A human being would need to pick up the golden dart frog with their bare hands or a permeable glove or consume the frog to feel its effects. That means the human would have to be very irresponsible to get killed by this frog.

However, the inland taipan can attack humans, biting them with sharp fangs and injecting venom directly into their bodies. Unlike other venomous snakes that will not add venom to every bite, the inland taipan almost always envenomates its victims, and 80% of those bites are fatal if they are not treated.

The inland taipan is far more dangerous because it attacks humans. An accidental encounter with this snake could lead to a fatal bite.  

Golden Dart Frog vs. Inland Taipan: Proximity to Humans

Neither the golden dart frog nor the inland taipan lives near human beings. The golden dart frog lives in the rainforests of Columbia in South America, and it is rare. In fact, it’s an endangered species, so a human would have to go through a great deal of effort to find and endanger themselves with this creature.

Meanwhile, the inland taipan lives up to its name. It’s only found in the interior of Australia in the South Australia and Queensland areas. The snake is known for spending most of the day out of sight, so it’s rather hard to come by. While it’s possible to run into this snake, encounters are rare.

Fortunately, both of these deadly animals live far away from human settlements, so a person would have to seek them out to get harmed by them, and that decreases the deadliness of both creatures.  

Golden Dart Frog vs. Inland Taipan: Human Deaths

Lastly, we must consider the number of human deaths caused by these two creatures. Although they’re both very deadly, no records exist of them killing human beings. Golden dart frogs have apparently never caused a human death despite having no antidote available for their poison.

The inland taipan has a potentially deadly bite, and several bites have been recorded. However, humans have created an antivenom for its bite. As a result, the rare bites from this snake are only deadly if a person does not seek treatment, but treatments for snake bites are widely available in Australia.

All told, these two creatures have a high potential to kill people, but their rarity and the countermeasures available to humans keep them safe.

Golden Dart Frog vs. Inland Taipan: Which Is Deadlier to Humans?

World's Scariest Animal: Golden Poisonous Dart Frog
The LD50 of the golden dart frog is 0.2 µg/kg.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

The inland taipan is deadlier to humans than the golden dart frog. The toxin secreted by the golden dart frog is much more powerful than the inland taipan’s venom, but the golden tree frog isn’t going to jump down your throat or leap into your outstretched hands.

Remember, when considering the potential for a creature to be deadly, we must consider how likely it is to encounter the animal and for that animal to do something harmful. Inland taipans can and have bitten humans, but the frogs haven’t attacked people as far as we can tell.

All told, golden dart frogs are still incredibly dangerous. However, think of it this way. If you were to be trapped in a small room with a golden dart frog or an inland taipan, the greater danger would be from the snake for its potential to bite.

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Golden Dart Frog vs Inland Taipan
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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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Sources
  1. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, Available here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/poison-frogs
  2. Western Oregon University, Available here: https://digitalcommons.wou.edu/aes_event/2015/all/21/
  3. University at Albany, State University of New York, Available here: https://www.albany.edu/news/82077.php