WHAT IS KAMBO?
Kambo is a secretion from one of the largest Hylid frogs known as the Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog. Its scientific name is Phyllomedusa Bicolor. The secretion is not a sweat nor a poison in the sense that it alone is not capable of causing death or illness. In the Amazon, it is regarded as a medicne however this should not be confused with the western definition of a medicine. Kambo is not a medicine and those that administer it are practitioners and not doctors
The frog is nocturnal and arboreal and due to the fact that it has no natural predators is found in abundance across the Upper Amazon rainforest areas of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela. The IUCN database continually lists them in the ‘Least Concern’ category in view of their wide distribution and large population. The only known threats to this species of frog at the moment are spawn predation and the potential destruction of their habitat.
They are large frogs, the male bodies being between 9-10 cm and the females 11-12cm. The dorsum is a vibrant green and the belly a creamy white. They have dark spots on the chest, flank and legs.
Reproduction occurs throughout the year, peaking between November and May. They construct hanging nests from folded leaves 1-3 metres above ponds and streams. The females deposit a gelatinous mass containing their eggs into these nests. Theirs is the largest spawn found amongst arboreal frogs of the Amazon. A single spawn contains on average 1000 eggs from which tadpoles emerge within 11-14 days.
No one is 100% certain what the catalyst for producing the secretion is but it is widely believed to be sequestered from their diet. This is why the frogs do not produce their secretion when they are removed from their natural environment.