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Do Frogs Bite? (Look out for Bullfrogs!)

Some frogs can bite, especially larger, more aggressive species like bullfrogs which have stronger jaws and teeth, however, most frogs do not have teeth.

Aggressive frog
Some larger species of frog can bite

The majority of frogs will not bite you, and even if they bite you, the bite of the majority of garden variety frogs won’t hurt too much. 

Frog species that have been known to bite include bullfrogs, Argentine horned frogs, pixie frogs, Pacman frogs (Ceratophryx), and Budgett’s frogs. Bites from these species can be quite painful because some of them have teeth.

Do Bullfrogs Bite?

Some bullfrog species will bite you if you provoke them. The most notable bullfrog species known for its stingy bites is the African bullfrog.

North American bullfrogs might also bite you, but their bites are not as painful as the bites of an African bullfrog. American bullfrogs have small teeth in the roofs of their mouths, which are mainly used for hunting. These teeth would not do much damage to you if you were to get bitten by an American bullfrog.

African bullfrogs, on the other hand, can deliver very painful bites. These frogs are some of the most aggressive and territorial frogs out there.

While they don’t have teeth, they have three small structures on their bottom jaws called odontodes. These thorn-like structures are used by the frog to keep their prey stuck and catch it easily.

Because of the odontodes, African bullfrogs can deliver nasty bites. There have been numerous occasions and stories about bullfrog bites being painful.

Some people have carried symptoms of a bullfrog bite for days and even weeks after the bite. The most common symptoms include swelling and severe pain.

If you plan on having an African bullfrog as your pet, then you’ll want to be careful with their bites. They don’t particularly like being handled and if you would attempt to do that, it would most likely result in a painful bite that might take weeks to resolve.

Bullfrog
Bullfrogs are known to bite, they have strong jaws and teeth

Read Also: Do Frogs Live in Ponds?

What Other Frogs Bite?

In addition to African bullfrogs, other species have also been known for biting humans. Argentine horned frogs, pixie frogs, Pacman frogs, and Budgett’s frogs can bite you and deliver painful stings.

Argentine horned frogs have teeth on the upper side of their jaw as well as teeth on the outside of their jaws. Therefore, bites by this frog species can be quite painful.

One famous notable person bitten by this frog species was Gerald Durrell, a British naturalist, who suffered from the effects of a frog bite for several weeks after the bite.

Other frog species with strong teeth and jaws can also deliver painful bites.

One of these species is the Pacman frogs (Ceratophrys), which have large jaws. They also have teeth, which means that bites by this species can be painful and might even cause you to start bleeding.

Pixie frogs also have large jaws that might hurt you badly. These frogs are also quite aggressive, so you might want to avoid touching them.

Budgett’s frogs are similar in this way, although they don’t have as powerful jaws. It does have two tooth-like structures in its mouth, so its bites can make you start bleeding.

If you plan on owning any of these frogs or you’re considering it, then you should be aware of the bites that they can deliver. The vast majority of bites can simply be avoided by not touching the frogs and provoking them.

Frog Mouth
Most frogs don’t have teeth, so their bites are ineffectual against anything but insects

Related Article: Are Frogs Loners?

Do Frog Bites Hurt?

It depends on the species. Large and more aggressive frogs can be very painful with their bites due to their larger jaws. Some might also have teeth, which will make the pain even worse and might even result in bleeding.

Bites from the species we’ve mentioned above will be very painful, so you might want to avoid these bites.

But for the vast majority of smaller frogs with no teeth, bites will not be nearly as painful. In some cases, you might not even be able to feel the bite because of the lack of potency in these bites.

Smaller frogs don’t have strong jaws, especially when compared to the jaws of larger frog species. This means that they won’t be able to bite down as much as larger frogs we’ve mentioned above.

The vast majority of frog species owned by people will not be able to deliver painful bites.

But there is one potential issue that you might have with your frog; even if you don’t have a frog that can deliver a painful bite, you might own a poisonous frog that should not be touched.

In any case, it’s best to consult with a professional or a vet about your frog before you decide to own it to see if it will bite you or potentially hurt you.

Frog in someone's hand
Most garden variety frogs are harmless to humans

Read Also: Are Frogs Amphibians?

What Happens if a Frog Bites You?

If a frog bites you, you will most likely be OK as long as the bite doesn’t cause bleeding. The bites by larger frogs will hurt for some time, but the vast majority of frog bites will not have any pain at all.

Even though you might have a frog that likes to bite, you should not be too concerned if one bites you. Unless you have a larger frog that delivers painful bites, there will likely not be any symptoms after the bite.

In some cases, bites by larger frogs can result in moderate to severe pain, numbness, swelling, and redness in the area for several days or even weeks.

If that happens to you, the best course of action is to protect your bitten area and apply cold patches until the pain is gone.

Related Article: 10 Frog Adaptations

Conclusion

Most frogs do not bite or even if they do, their bites don’t result in too much pain. There are, however, some larger frog species that can deliver nasty bites. Some of these larger frogs have teeth and stronger jaws that might cause a lot of pain, so you might want to avoid getting bitten in the first place!

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