Frogs are not selective eaters and some larger species of frogs such as bullfrogs can eat small or juvenile snakes.
Some large frogs that eat snakes prefer the non-venomous ones. However, this does not mean that they will not attempt to eat venomous snakes too.
Can Frogs Kill Snakes?
Frogs can kill small snakes in some circumstances, however, it’s usually snakes that eat frogs and most adult snakes would make short work of even the largest frog.
Although most frogs can’t kill an adult snake directly, some toads have a poison gland on their skin, called the parotid gland, designed to defend themselves against snake attacks.
Some snakes have developed partial immunity to the toad’s poison, but larger toads may still prove fatal to an overzealous snake. If the toad is big enough, it can generate enough poison to kill a snake.
In wetlands in Australia, the keelback snake, also known as the freshwater snake, is an endemic species that typically prey on cane toads, which were introduced to Australia in the 1930s to kill pests feeding on sugarcane plantations but have since become an invasive species themselves.
The keelback snake has a genetic tolerance to the toxin of the cane toad, but this works only on small toads. The smaller the toad, the fewer toxins it produces.
Because of this, the snakes attack the small cane toads. However, there are some occasions when the snake attacks the wrong size. For example, as they attempt to eat the frog, the toad may be too big. If this happens, the amounts of toxin the toad releases are too much for the snake to handle.
The result? The snake lets go of the toad before it even swallows it. If the snake eats it, it can regurgitate the fog, but it may be too late. The snake would die.
The other method by which a frog kills the snake is by eating it. Frogs have a long and sticky tongue. They catch a juvenile snake off guard, and they start swallowing it whole. Eventually, the snake suffocates in the frog’s stomach and dies.
Related: What Eats Frogs?
Do Frogs Like Eating Snakes?
Snakes don’t make up a large part of a frog’s diet. Despite frogs eating snakes occasionally, there is no evidence to support the idea that frogs like to eat snakes or have a preference for snakes over their usual diet of insects and bugs.
Instead, frogs and other small amphibians are often consumed by snakes. There is a saying that “where the frogs go, the snakes will follow”.
The biggest consumers of amphibians are snakes. Worldwide, many snakes primarily feed on frogs and mice. In wetlands, there are more frogs than mice, so snakes often eat them.
In North America, garter snakes typically feed on amphibians. In Australia, the keelback snake does the same. Snakes eat frogs and even tadpoles. Some snakes eat frog eggs.
In the wild, frogs would stay quiet if they spotted a snake. They would not move. Frogs know that if they did, the snake would attack and eat them.
One snake that frogs cannot escape is the viper. These snakes have heat sensors that can detect infrared. So even if the frog stays put, the snake could see it and eat it.
If anything, frogs would only typically attack a baby snake. However, on rare occasions, an adult frog may attack big ones.
Do Bullfrogs Eat Snakes?
Bullfrogs have been known to eat snakes. According to National Geographic, bullfrogs will eat almost anything that passes in front of them, including fish, birds, small mammals, and reptiles.
In a documentary, the organization showed that bullfrogs eat:
Bullfrogs eat anything that passes in front of them. What makes it curious is how they can manage to do this. Bullfrogs do not have the makings of a predator. They have no sharp beaks or claws. They do not even have massive teeth.
The way they go around this lack of predatory power is their mouths. They have massive mouths that can fit many animals.
In the documentary, the frog jumped out of the water to get a bird perched on a branch. And yes, the frog was successful. Unfortunately, the bird became its meal.
Bullfrogs are also cannibalistic. A small bullfrog that does not pay attention may become the meal of a bigger one.
Concerning frogs eating snakes, the Australian tree frog garnered widespread media attention for eating a snake. The Australian tree frog is small and can only grow up to four inches. Their primary diet is insects, but they can also eat very small snakes.
Don’t Snakes Eat Frogs Instead?
Snakes often eat frogs and toads. Snakes are the primary predators of frogs. Since snakes are carnivores, they would eat anything that would fit in their mouth.
In spite of this, large frogs are still a threat to small snakes.
Snakes do not have any bias against any anima. Big pythons would eat deer and antelopes. Some are even known to have swallowed a crocodile.
Frogs are easy prey for many animals including snakes. A constrictor could easily wrap itself around a frog. A venomous snake could strike and wait until the frog dies.
Read More: 9 Natural Predators of Frogs
Some frogs have toxic secretions. Snakes know this and will avoid eating the frog. There are, however, some snakes that specialize in eating poisonous toads.
What Else Do Frogs Eat?
In the wild, frogs mostly eat insects and bugs, but have been known to eat small snakes and other small reptiles, fish, small birds and mammals, and even other frogs.
Frogs eat anything. Frogs are also commonly kept as pets and there are plenty of videos showing live feeding of frogs with small snakes and many other animals.
Summary: Do Frogs Eat Snakes?
Frogs eat snakes. However, it is not their typical diet. The bullfrog is one exception, as it eats anything that comes its way.
The key here is the size of the prey. A frog would eat what it could fit in its mouth. It swallows its prey whole.
Some frogs eat huge snakes, but most would instead attack baby snakes. In the wild, it is typically the other way around. Snakes are the primary predators of frogs. Where the frogs go, the snakes will follow.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.