I hold a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a certificate in Master Herpetology and have learned about frog and toad species during my studies for school.
I love seeing the different color morphs of frog species, especially when visiting zoos or reptile expos. I have seen a variety of colored frogs, but never a pink one!
Pink poisonous frogs are a false narrative circulating the internet. Pink frogs do not occur naturally in nature. The notion of pink frogs is a myth that was created from using photo editing software on computers to edit the color of existing photographs of naturally colored frogs.
For example, the cover image of this blog post was created using a real blue poison dart frog, and edited using Photoshop:
In this article we will debunk the myth about unnaturally occurring colors existing in frogs following posts containing edited photos of previously existing frogs.
We will delve into how the myths were introduced and on what platform. We will explain what color frogs, mainly poisonous ones, could actually be to clear up any confusion about frog colors.
Pink Poisonous Frogs Do Not Exist
Though pink animals may occur in nature, they do not occur naturally in frogs or other amphibian species.
The most notable pink animal is a flamingo that turns pink through their diet. So, even they are not born colored pink.
Bluntly put, pink poisonous frogs are not real.
They do not exist naturally in nature amongst various frog species. Any photograph or article of a pink frog is fabricated and not trustworthy.
Purple Poisonous Frogs Do Not Exist
Just like pink poisonous frogs, purple poisonous frogs do not occur naturally in nature.
Purple species in nature do exist, several fish and saltwater creatures are purple, but there are no purple frogs.
There have also been pictures of purple poisonous frogs posted to make people believe they are real. These do not occur naturally either and are fabricated.
Frogs can be bright colors, but none have been found to be purple.
Real Poisonous Frog Can Vary in Color
Poisonous frogs come in a multitude of colors.
These colors can range from greens and browns to bright colors such as reds, blues, and yellows.
Poisonous frogs use their colors as warning signals to predators, so the brighter the better when it comes to poisonous frog survival.
Poisonous frogs tend to be more brightly colored to stand out in their environment. They can be colored to blend in, but are more often brightly colored to let predators know they are toxic.
Though these colors may vary, they usually are blue, golden yellow, or red colored or variations of those colors and patterns.
Internet Myths About Frog Color
The myth about pink poisonous frogs came around in the late 2010s when an edited photo circulated the internet showing a pink frog.
There was a different article a few years afterwards that seemed real that included a scientific name and region of origin for the species.
The article discussed the type of food items the frog consumed, region found in the world, and a tidbit about recent news concerning the species.
The photo released earlier did say in a comment that it was a fake picture, but did not specify this under the actual picture.
The use of photoshop and other editing software allows people to edit previously taken pictures.
This method is what was used to change the color of a naturally occurring poison dart frog to pink, and later to purple.
This method has been used to make other colors of frogs or make their colors brighter.
People have used this method on other species as well. I have seen pictures of purple vipers on the internet.
If these are posted with the title that they are edited, then it could be used as an art piece or to exhibit one’s skills.
However, people may post it without this disclaimer and it could lead to confusion.
An entire fake page was created around these pink poisonous frogs that seem professional.
These are difficult to differentiate from real pages for those who are not sure how to check reliability.
This page did not have any sources to credit peer-reviewed articles or scientific backing.
Frogs May Contain Pink Elements on Their Bodies
A variety of colors can be found naturally in the animal and plant world. Most vibrant colors may be rare or uncommonly found in animals but still may exist.
Poisonous frogs display brighter colors to warm predators of their toxicity. Some frogs, poisonous or not, do contain elements of pink coloration.
The Coastal Cricket Frog, native to North America, has pink vocal sacs used in males for breeding purposes. The blood flowing underneath defines the color.
The rest of the frog is typically green or brown colored. The pink is very small in comparison to the rest of the body and not obvious when looking at the animal.
Lipstick False Dart Frog. Novum Terram Wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://novum-terram.fandom.com/wiki/Lipstick_False_Dart_Frog
Marshall, C. (2018, September 18). Pink frog. Flickr. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/100915417@N07/30888009438
Poison Frogs. Smithsonian’s National Zoo. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/poison-frogs
Rose , F. L., Simpson, T. R., Forstner, M. R. J., & McHenry, D. J. (2006). Taxonomic Status of Acris Gryllus paludicola: In Search of the Pink Frog . Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/M-