Frogs are an attractive meal for many different animals in the wild, including snakes, eagles, raccoons, fish, otters, lizards, and some species of water birds.
Common frogs can be an excellent source of protein for animals in the wild. They live near lakes and swamps, spending most of their time on land but also occasionally venturing into the water.
Some frog species, especially in South America and Africa, have developed special mechanisms to prevent them from getting hunted. They carry poisons and toxins that prevent other animals from hunting them. Common frogs, on the other hand, are far more vulnerable if they’re preyed on.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what animals eat frogs and how they catch them.
9 Top Frog Predators
Snake species that live near the water, such as Asian pitvipers, Garter snakes, and Asian keelbacks, are especially fond of frogs. They’re very good at tracking down the frogs and following them through various habitats.
Snakes will follow frogs anywhere they go, which is called “stalking” their prey. They’ll kill them either by biting them or swallowing them whole and then digesting them inside their gut systems.
Amphibian populations have been declining where snakes and frogs live in the same habitats. Snakes, but also other animals in the habitat, have decimated the frog population by actively seeking out frogs but also eating their eggs as they mate.
Eagles will try and catch various species of frogs, especially common frogs. You might think that these are too small for the eagle to see. But thanks to their exceptional eyesight, eagles are capable of seeing animals even as small as frogs.
On average, it is common for the eagle to see five times further and clearer than humans. If you think about this for a moment, that’s extraordinary. We are already among the species that have one of the better eyesight, although eagles are known to be at the top of the pyramid when it comes to eyesight quality.
And this allows them to strike frogs from above, giving them little to no chance of survival. This is especially typical in mountainous areas of North America, Europe, and South America, where frogs tend to live near lakes and streams.
Raccoons often share the same habitat as frogs do. More specifically, they live in the same areas as common frogs, which is in swampy areas or around lakes in forests of Europe, North America, and Asia.
Even though raccoons are not specifically great hunters, they’re able to catch a frog off-guard and eat it. And because raccoons normally don’t have the best tools in their arsenal to get food, they’ll look for any food source possible. That’s why frogs can be a valuable source of food for raccoons.
Big fish, such as bass or muskies, are capable of catching frogs as they jump into the water. Although frogs don’t usually live in the water, they’ll still spend some time in the water in order to mate and lay eggs. Some other frog species, such as bullfrogs or green frogs, will spend the majority of their time in the water.
This gives predatory fish species the chance to feed on frogs, especially the smaller frogs as they hatch from their eggs. But larger fish won’t hesitate to prey on adult frogs, too.
In the water, frogs don’t have defense mechanisms and are pretty slow swimmers, so they present an easy catch for the fish around them. That’s why frogs look for shallower waters to lay their eggs and mate, giving them a better chance of survival.
Otters will primarily feed on fish, but they also have a taste for frogs and toads especially. They’re carnivores, so they need meat to survive. To achieve that goal, they’ll venture into the water to catch fish, especially the smaller fish species.
But they won’t turn down a chance to catch a frog, too. Toads are their preferred food, and they are a delicacy in their terms. But this only happens in habitats where there are aquatic frogs, too. That’s because otters are not the best of predators when they’re on land, and they do their best hunting in the water.
Some types of lizards, especially the larger lizard species, are perfectly capable of catching frogs and eating them. But the same goes for larger frogs, which often prey on smaller lizard species.
So there’s some scope when it comes to lizards eating frogs, because not all lizard species are strong enough to catch frogs. But those who are will catch frogs by surprising them and killing them first with their bites, and then eat them.
For lizards, catching a frog is a big deal. It presents a big meal full of important nutrients, and it’s especially a protein-dense meal that will satisfy their hunger for days to come.
7. Water Birds
Larger water birds like herons and egrets are patient hunters. They’ll wait for hours before they catch their prey. Their preferred food type is fish, but they won’t hesitate to catch a frog if the chance presents itself.
Their major advantage over frogs is that they have large beaks. This allows the water birds to catch the frogs alive, and then digest them in their beaks so that they can’t move. Some bird species will even store the frogs they catch in their beaks, which are large enough to store food for their offspring.
8. Other Frogs
Other frogs, especially the larger frogs, are able to catch and eat the smaller frog species. Bullfrogs are notorious for preying on smaller frogs. They like to establish dominance over other frogs, and they’re able to do that thanks to their size.
American bullfrogs are quick and prolific breeders, too. But to sustain their large frog families, they’ll need food for their offspring. So they’ll catch almost anything they’ll find in their habitat, including smaller frogs, turtles, fish, crustaceans, and even bats.
Frog meat is a real specialty in some parts of the world. Frog legs, especially, are considered to be a good protein source and a delicious meal in many Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Indonesia, but also in some European countries such as Spain, Italy, and Slovenia, as well as some states in the US.
So the popularity of frogs is worldwide. And while some people will balk at the chance to eat frog legs, others find it a delicious meal that goes well with potatoes or other seasonings and additions.
How Do Frogs Protect Themselves?
The typical frog is not much of a fighter, but it’s able to use other mechanisms to survive, such as:
- Camouflage – leopard frogs are hard to spot when they’re on lilypads, while grass frogs hide well in the grass
- Poison – some frog species make themselves inedible by having poison, such as the poison dart frog, which is one of the most poisonous frog species in the world
Frogs are eaten by many species that live near waters, such as snakes, otters, raccoons, larger fish and birds, eagles, humans, and other larger frogs. They don’t have strong defensive mechanisms but are able to hide themselves thanks to their colors, while others contain poisons that make them inedible.