Each and every year, more than 3.2 billion edible frogs are harvested for their attractive muscular legs worldwide.
The mildly-flavored, chicken textured and fish tasting nutriments of their hind-legs is an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, potassium and omega-3 fatty acid, and this is part of the reasons why the french, chinese and other european populations have learned to incorporate them as a popular staple within their diets.
But these regions aren’t the only ones totally devoted to reducing the populations of edible frogs in their modal habitats and around the world. They are not the only populations that love to enjoy the tasty nuggety legs of terrestrial and aquatic ‘Anura’.
Other ravenous lifeforms widespread across the perimeters of the wild — from the fresh water and terrestrial habitats of the tropic regions to those of the subarctic and other land masses outside of these partitions, also depend heavily on frog species for their daily and year-round sustenance.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the different animal species that are known to actively prey on frogs in the wild. We’ll also be listing out some of the avid and keen defensive mechanism that are used by many frog species in order to escape and ward off predators.
What eats frogs?
Due to their very pronounced distribution across the globe, frogs are consumed by a wide variety animals worldwide.
Mammals like ocelots, bats, raccoons and foxes eat frogs. Reptiles like monitor lizards and garter snakes eat frogs. Insects like leeches and diving beetles eat the first and second life cycle stages of frogs: eggs and tadpoles respectively.
Even bigger and much stronger species of frogs like the African bull frog pounce and kill other smaller frogs. So many species in the wild derive sustenance from aquatic, semi-aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal and burrowing species of frogs.
Some species of frogs are known to be highly poisonous when ingested into the body, but most of their natural predators are able to tolerate the noxious effect of their skins and are able to consume them perfectly whole without any issues.
Most mammalian predators in the wild usually hunt and kill frogs as a ‘diet of last resort’: when meaty and more bulky volume of medium to larger sized animals are difficult to kill or unavailable.
Predators of frogs
- Pine martens
- Garter Snakes
- Water moccasins
- African Bull frogs
- Tiger Salamanders
Birds of prey
- Wading birds
- Dragonfly larvae
- Diving beetles
- Large water bugs
What eats frog eggs and tadpoles?
Prey frogs are consumed in all stages of their lifecycle. Frog eggs and tadpoles in particular are feasted upon by leeches, birds, dragonflies, salamanders, diving beetles, larger water bugs, spiders and small school of fishes.
These predators gain access to the frog eggs and tadpoles as they float continuously in large clusters near the surface of water.
The aquatic larval stage of dragonflies is also occasionally documented to prey on one or more of the rear legs of a growing tadpole. While the affected leg(s) may re-develop in some lucky frog species, in some, it doesn’t, and the resulting frog is forced to live out its normal lifespan with a reduced number of limbs.
Still in their tadpole stage, frogs are also preyed upon by a certain type of parasitic flatworms (Ribeiroia ondatrae) which digs into their rear, causing rearrangement of some of their internal cells which cause the affected frogs to develop one or more extra legs.
For some frog species like the leopard forgs, the mortality rate of young is high with up to 95% recorded — According to the animal diversity web.
Popular frog species and their predators
What eats poison dart frogs?
The Erythrolamprus epinephalus, which is a specie of snakes preys primarily on poison dart frogs, and have immunity to the extremely potent toxins they secrete on their skins.
What eats tree frogs?
What eats bull frogs?
birds of prey (particularly the heron and belted kingfisher), common otter, predatory fishes, alligators and other amphibians feed on bull frogs.
What eats frogs in the rainforest?
What eats the red-eyed tree frog?
What eats baby frogs?
Frogs predatory adaptations
People often think that frogs have zero defensive mechanisms due to their small size, slow movement and lack of defensive structures like claws or spines, but this seemingly true notion is far from the truth.
Frogs do have adaptations to predation. And in fact, a variety of them. They use all sort of methods from behavioral, physical, to physiological mechanisms in order ward off or deal with predators. Here are some of their defensive and protective mechanisms.
- A lot of frog population in the wild rely heavily on cryptic coloration to avoid terrestrial predators. Most of these frogs usually have skins that are permanently spotted or streaked in neutral colors to blend them seamlessly into their surroundings. Some species are even capable of changing their colors to match their ambient surroundings, but they often have very limited colors to change from.
- Frogs also leap to avoid predators. Depending on the species, the leap span can range from a few yard to prodigious extents. The species that leap the longest often use this behaviour to escape from fast predators like ocelots and jarguas by jumping straight into waters or thick brambles and brushes.
- Many frogs in the wild also use their skin as a powerful weapon to counter predation. Noxious secretions from their internal glands onto their glandular skins makes them slipper to catch and unpalatable or even poisonous to potential predators. Some predators like snakes and frogs alike have internal adaptations that protect them from the prey toxins and so are able to consume them poisonous without any complications. But more often than not, the distasteful essence on the frog skin makes some of these predators quickly spit out the prey. For frog species that have fast acting poisions, the predators may spit them out as soon as they swallow them and for those with a much slower acting toxin, the prey may be consumed and the predators will only learn to avoid the particular species in the future (from the toxin complications). Or may not even have the chance. Poisonous frogs usually advertise their toxicity with bright colorations in their bodies. The colors are usually red, orange or yellow, often with contrasting black markings on the bodies. Some frogs produce their toxins internally while other rely on ants and other arthropods they eat to obtain them. Poisinous frogs usually maintain characteristic positions that projects their most poisonous parts to the potential predator and protects their most vulnerable parts.
- Some poisonous frogs can have skins that arent only poisonous but also ooze out noxious secretions to fend off predators.
- Some non-poisonous species of frogs like the Zaparo’s poison frogs and Painted antnest frogs mimic the colors of other poisonous species they share the same habitat range with in order to deceive predators that have learnt not to consume from such species.
- Some frogs use bluff to scare off predators. Species like the European common toad inflates its body and stands with its hindquarters raised and head lowered to appear intimidating. Other like the bullfrog crouches down with eyes closed and head tipped forward when threathened.
- Frogs also scream or make explosive sounds to startle their predators and grant them opportunities to quickly escape.
- Frogs, especially the cryptic ones also freeze upon sighting predators. This allows the predators to pass them unnoticed.
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Cite this Article ” (APA Format)
Bunu. M. (2020, July 14). Frog Predators: What eats frogs? (with pictures). Retrieved from http://emborawild.com/what-eats-frogs/