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Amphibians in Movies
Apocalypto (2006)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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I'm not a fan of this movie despite the good cinematography, sound design, make-up, costumes, locations, and some good action scenes, too. But Mel Gibson co-wrote and directed it to be so over-exaggerated and hyper-violent that it is unbelievable and I just couldn't take it seriously.

In the frog scene, the hero of the movie, Jaguar Paw, already wounded and starving, is shot by an arrow that completely passes through his body. Nevertheless, he is still able to outrun a band of warriors and a huge black jaguar, all day and night and the next day. He jumps over a waterfall and crawls through a pit of quicksand, and he's able to kill off all of his pursuers, one by one. Seriously!

After Jaguar Paw crawls through the quicksand he is covered with black mud and he has no weapons so he is forced to improvise to kill off his pursuers. One of his makeshift weapons is a dart gun tipped with poison. He catches a toad that we are supposed to believe is poisonous, breaks off three thorns from a thorn tree, sticks the thorns into the frog to cover them with its poison, then rolls up a leaf and shoots the darts at one of his pursuers, who dies quickly.

The toad is actually a harmless toad painted yellow and black so that it looks similar to one of the species of yellow and black poison arrow frogs that do have poisonous skin secretions. Poison arrow frogs actually are used by indiginous people to poison the tips of their hunting darts. I don't know if the poison works on humans, but I doubt it works as quickly as it does here. Nevertheless, audiences have been trained to believe that indigenous people in the jungle can kill humans with blow darts, so its a jungle cliche that nobody questions.