Many snake species eat frogs, especially water snakes. Some snakes that eat frogs include garter snakes, pit vipers, the Madagascan hognose snake, and ringneck snakes.
There are some types of frogs that snakes will never eat because these frogs are poisonous. In the wild, it’s not uncommon for snakes to hunt frogs when these frogs are available in their habitat. Most snakes that eat frogs are those that live in rain forests.
Why Do Snakes Eat Frogs?
Snakes eat frogs because they are carnivores. What this means is that they will only eat meat. Although snakes are often viewed as dangerous pests, the truth is that they are important to the ecology of an area.
Although all snakes would eat any meat that comes their way, some snakes seem to prefer frogs. So, where frogs go, snakes often follow.
Here are some examples of snakes that seem to have a preference for frogs:
- Garter Snake
- Asian Pit Viper
- Amazon Tree Boa
- Night Adder
- Elephant Trunk Snake
- Madagascan Hognose Snake
- Ringneck Snake
In captivity, it is not a good idea to feed snakes with frogs. Apart from the supply issue, some frogs are poisonous and can be a danger to snakes. In addition, pet owners who get frogs from their environment may inadvertently transfer parasites to their snakes.
In the wild, it is okay for snakes to eat frogs because that’s the way of nature. But in captivity, humans have control over how animals live and suffer. Generally speaking, pet snake owners should not live feed their pets.
How Do Snakes Eat Frogs?
The way a snake eats a frog depends on its kind. If it is a venomous snake, the snake will strike once or twice and deliver its venom. This process is called envenomation. Non-venomous snakes use constriction to squeeze the life out of their prey.
After envenomation, the snake is going to wait until the frog is paralyzed. Then, once the frog is about to die, the snake is going to start swallowing it whole.
Colubrids, like kingsnakes and rat snakes, would bite the frog and constrict it. If the frog is small enough to fit in the snake’s mouth, the snake might start swallowing it whole. However, if the frog is still kicking and moving, the snake would wait until the frog dies.
Some species of snakes do not have venom, and they also do not belong to the constrictor type of snakes. When these snakes attack a frog, they bite it, and then they swallow it whole.
Do Snakes Eat Toads?
Some snakes eat toads, but some toads have toxic substances in their skin that make them unsuitable for snakes. When the toad is under duress or stress, it releases this poisonous substance, forcing the snake to regurgitate the toad.
Animals that absorb these toxins develop symptoms. Examples of these are nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Some toad toxins are powerful enough to kill a snake.
Despite this, not all snakes are afraid to eat toads. One example is the keelback snake, which is endemic in Australia. Its body has an immune system that can fight the toxicity of a toad’s poison. As such, the toad is always on this snake’s menu.
However, the keelback is not entirely immune to the toad’s poison. Its immunity only works on tiny toads because small toads have less toxin than their adult counterparts.
In a documentary, a keelback snake attempts to eat a poisonous toad but decides to let it go because the toad is too big. As such, the toad has a lot of poison, and the snake feels it. It had no other choice but to let it go. If the keelback snake decided to eat that toad, it would have died.
What Other Amphibians Do Snakes Eat?
Snakes eat many different types of amphibians. They are opportunistic carnivorous hunters and will eat frogs, toads, geckos, newts, and salamanders.
Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates. Examples of these are frogs, toads, and salamanders. A newt is also an example of an amphibian.
Snakes that live in water often have a diet comprised mainly of amphibians, although some also eat fish. These are not necessarily sea snakes, but rather snakes that want to live close to bodies of water like ponds or lakes.
Snakes that spend a lot of time in water are called semi-aquatic snakes. Below are some examples:
- Garter snakes
- Water cobras
- Green anaconda
- Eastern water snake
- Asiatic water snake
- Brown-banded water snake
Since these snakes spend excessive time in the water, they are likely to meet a frog in their environment. As such, these snakes will not hesitate to attack the frog and eat it.
What Frogs Do Snakes Not Eat?
One particular kind of frog that the snake would not eat is the cane toad. It is a giant marine toad that has poison glands. Even the tadpoles of this toad are highly toxic to many animals.
The cane toad is common in Australia and also the Philippines. One can also find them in the United States, New Guinea, and Fiji.
In urban areas and even rural ones, a cane toad is poisonous to a dog. Snakes are no exception. The cane toad is also toxic to humans.
Summary: Do Snakes Eat Frogs?
Snakes eat frogs. However, some snakes prefer warm-blooded prey. It all depends on their habitat and the availability of food. Overall, snakes will eat frogs if frogs are present in the environment.
Generally, snakes do not eat toads. Toads release a toxin from their skin, and this toxin is powerful enough to make a snake regurgitate it. The snake can die.
However, the keelback snake from Australia has the power to reverse the effects of the toxin. Because of this, this is snake eats toads regularly. However, this snake species can only withstand the poison of a small cane toad, not the big ones.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.