Animals / Dogs

The Beautiful Mantella


Order: anura Family: mantellidae Genus: mantella Species: mantilla pulchra 


Beautiful mantellas are endemic to Madagascar where they can even be found at 900 m above the sea level. They prefer cooler mountain forests with the temperature range between 15 and 24 degrees and a high level of humidity (up to 90%). The rainfall season lasts from November to May. The dry season is cooler and it lasts from April to October. 

Outward appearance

Adult mantellas range in length from 2 to 3 cm. Males are slightly smaller than females. They have smooth skin. The back is light or dark brown. The bases of legs are bright green. The lower part of the belly is black with small blue spots. The inner sides of hind legs are orange. There is a tan colored stripe that stretches from the frog’s snout to its tail. 


Beautiful mantellas are very agile and active frogs. They are not skittish and often hunt in open spaces at daytime. It is a terrestrial species. 

Maintenance care

Beautiful mantellas need a horizontal tank with secure mesh cover. For 3-4 frogs you will need a tank sized 60х45х40 cm. For substrate you can use sphagnum or gravel, or else a mixture of sphagnum, soil and orchid bark. The substrate has to be changed weekly.  Sphagnum can be used up to 3 times if it is washed carefully under running clean water. These frogs are very untidy, so the cleaning has to be done every 5-7 days, and if you keep many specimens, the tank has to be cleaned every 3rd of 4th day.  If the tank is not cleaned properly, mantellas will get ill. They cannot stand heat; the ambient temperature has to be 20-22 degrees at daytime and around 18 degree at night. The frogs need 14 hours of light in summer and 11 hours in winter. You can use fluorescent lamps with the full UV spectrum. The air humidity has to be around 90%. You can put real plants in the tank: ivy, fern, bromeliad etc. Plants have to be put in the pots first and then placed in the tank. The frogs need a shallow water bowl (2 cm deep) with fresh clean water. The bowl has to be away from the lamps and the heating source. 


The menu of beautiful mantellas has to be varied. They are insectivore and can eat smaller crickets, drosophila, spiders, caterpillars, small beetles, bee moths, moths, ants, termites. All the insects should be free from pesticides and other poisonous chemical agents. Never feed them with mealworm! Adult frogs should be fed once a day and young frogs should be fed several times a day. Don’t overfeed your mantellas! Once or twice a week you should dust the food with vitamin and mineral powder. The water has to be changed daily. 


This is moderately poisonous species.


Beautiful mantellas mostly get ill due to improper husbandry. Sometimes people buy wild-caught mantellas that are already ill, therefore it is best to get them from reputable breeders. If the air humidity is very high, these frogs tend to get various bacterial infections. All the new amphibians have to be isolated for at least 2 weeks. The most common bacterial infection is Aeromonas hydrophilia. Average life span is about 8 years.


The beautiful mantella has a similar reproductive cycle to most other Mantellas. At the beginning of the rainy season, mantellas gather around suitable breeding sites. As the rain starts falling, males begin to call to females with a sound that has been described as like pebbles clicking together. Males will wrestle in order to clear breeding spaces, but injuries rarely result from such conflicts. Larger and more powerful males are more popular among females, and females may grapple to mate with a single male. Once a pair has joined, the male leads the female to a vertical surface such as a tree trunk or a boulder. The female lays her eggs on the vertical surface, and the male then fertilizes them. They are then guarded by the male, who will protect the eggs and moisten them with his own urine. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles form a tight ball around the waist of their father, who carries them to a puddle on the forest floor and guards them until their development is complete. The froglets are then led by the male to an existing group.
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