Within its territory, the dyeing poison dart frog moves from place to place by making short bounds. It is a bold, aggressive and territorial species and conflicts often arise between individuals for access to females or for territory. While they are young, both males and females will select a particular forested area, which they will inhabit for several weeks. Once the rainy season arrives they will move to more mature forests where they will seek shelter, for example inside the hole in a tree trunk or at the base of a palm frond. During this time they will become less active and eat very little.
This species derives its name from a traditional practice said to have been employed by various indigenous peoples. Purportedly, the frog was used to change or “dye” the plain green feathers of certain parrot species different colours. It is said that, after plucking out the original feathers, a paste prepared from the frog’s secretion and other ingredients was rubbed onto the bird, after which its feathers were said to grow back various hues ranging from yellow to red. These birds and their feathers were much in demand.
For the time being, populations of the dyeing poison dart frog are relatively stable but, due to its attractive coloration, this species is very sought after and was often collected from the wild for the pet trade. Today D. tinctorious is bred in captivity however it is likely that some individuals are still taken from their habitat. Another major threat to this species is habitat loss.