How To Get Poison Barbs in Pokémon FRLG

Looking for wild Arbok on Route 23 (FireRed)
Poison Barb
# Location Repeatable?
1 Held item (5% chance) on the following wild Pokemon:

  • Arbok (FR)

Poison Barbs can only be obtained in Pokémon FireRed as held items on wild Arbok. Each wild Arbok has a 5% chance of holding a Poison Barb, and the moves Thief/Covet will let you steal the item if an Arbok is holding it.

Arbok cannot be found anywhere in Pokémon LeafGreen, so LeafGreen players will not be able to find any Poison Barbs in-game. Instead they’d need to trade the item over from a copy of FireRed.


Since Poison Barbs are found on wild Arbok, the only prerequisite is being able to find some wild Arbok. Unfortunately, they’re found later into the game, and only available in FireRed.

So the prerequisites are:

  • Have Pokémon FireRed
  • Be able to reach Route 23 and/or Victory Road

Once you can reach Route 23 (right before the Elite Four), you can start searching for wild Arbok and Poison Barbs.

Getting Poison Barbs

Arbok Locations

Just to ensure that you have all the information you need, I put together a table with all of the wild Arbok locations in Pokémon FireRed (you cannot find Arbok anywhere in LeafGreen).

Location Level Encounter Rate Poison Barb Chance
Route 23 44 5% 5%
Victory Road 1F 44 5% 5%
Victory Road 2F 46 5% 5%
Victory Road 3F 44 5% 5%

As you can see, it doesn’t really matter where you choose to look for wild Arbok because the encounter rate is the same at every location.

Unfortunately, the encounter rate is 5%. Which means you may have to go through a lot of encounters to find even just one Arbok.

On top of the encounter rate, there is only a 5% chance that the Arbok you find will be holding a Poison Barb.

So finding a Poison Barb can be quite time consuming.

You have been warned!

Method 1: Stealing Poison Barbs with Thief/Covet

If you have Thief or Covet, then stealing the Poison Barb from a wild Arbok will be much easier. It will still be time consuming, don’t get me wrong, but it’ll be slightly faster than catching 10+ Arbok looking for the item.

Make sure that the Pokémon that you plan on using is not holding any items. If it’s holding an item, then it will not be able to steal the Poison Barb with Thief/Covet.

Once you’re ready, just head to Route 23 or Victory Road and start searching for Arbok.

When you find one, simply use Thief/Covet on the Arbok.

Stealing Poison Barb from a Wild Arbok / Pokemon FRLG
Stealing the Poison Barb from a Wild Arbok with Thief
  • If the Wild Arbok is holding a Poison Barb, an animation will play showing an item bounce from the Arbok to your Pokémon.
  • If the Arbok is not holding a Poison Barb, Thief will do damage like any other move. At that point you can simply run away because that wild Arbok is itemless.

Once you actually steal the Poison Barb, you can open up your party, and the Pokémon that used Thief/Covet to steal the item will have an item symbol over their sprite.

That’s your new Poison Barb.

Taking Poison Barb from Raichu after stealing it with Thief / Pokemon FRLG
Taking Poison Barb from Raichu after stealing it with Thief

Remember, Wild Arbok only have a 5% chance of holding a Poison Barb. So if you don’t steal one in your first few encounters, don’t get discouraged.

Method 2: Catching Arbok

If you don’t have Thief/Covet or would rather just catch a bunch of Arbok, then that’s also an option.

Route 23 and Victory Road both have the same chance of finding a Wild Arbok, so just head to whichever scenery you like more.

Before heading out though, I recommend clearing your party of all but one Pokémon.

Clearing my party to make room for all of the Wild Arbok I catch / Pokemon FRLG
Clearing my party to make room for all of the Wild Arbok I catch

This way you can catch up to 5 Arbok at a time and check whether or not they’re holding a Poison Barb.

If you don’t clear space, all of the Arbok you catch will go back to your PC and you won’t be able to check if they’re holding the item or not until you make your way back to a Pokémon Center.

You could still end up needing to head back to a Pokémon Center if none of the five Arbok you catch are holding a Poison Barb – but you’ll have a better chance of saving time with five open slots than with one.

Once you catch a Wild Arbok, simply check whether or not it has an item icon over its sprite when you check your Pokémon Party.

If it does, then it’s holding the Poison Barb, and you can select Item > Take to take the Poison Barb and put it in your Bag.

Taking the Poison Barb from Arbok (notice the Item icon next to Arbok’s Sprite.) / Pokemon FRLG
Taking the Poison Barb from Arbok (notice the Item icon next to Arbok’s Sprite.)

Just like when using Thief/Covet, don’t get discouraged if you catch a ton of Arbok and none of them are holding the Poison Barb you seek.

There’s only a 5% chance with every encounter to find this held item.

So you may have to catch 15-20 (at least) before you find one with a Poison Barb.

What Are Poison Barbs Used For?

The Poison Barb’s Description / Pokemon FRLG
The Poison Barb’s Description in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, the Poison Barb held item boosts the power of Poison-Type moves by 10%.

If you have an Arbok, Muk, Weezing, or any other Poison-Type move user in your team, then the Poison Barb will make a difference in their attacking power.

Poison-Type Pokémon are not extremely common in FireRed and LeafGreen. But they can be powerful, and a fun choice for a late-game composition (against the Elite Four, for example).


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A jack of all trades when it comes to gaming. I can sit down for hours in a casual playthrough of Pokémon, or I can spend months trying to hit Diamond in League of Legends. I love and appreciate everything about games, and love sharing that passion with my readers.

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