Frogs with its scientific name of Anura are classified as tailless smooth-skinned, webbed feet amphibians with leaping abilities. Generally, they are aquatic but some species prefer to live on land or in trees. They can be as small as 0.4 inches or as huge as 12 inches in size when measuring from snout to vent. Predators ranged from snakes, birds, and mammals that are not affected by the venomous skin glands. If the frog’s camouflage ability does not work, the following predators can consume them with ease.
Main Frog Predators
The snake is a limbless reptile with a long elongated body and tail and is the biggest predators of frogs. They have been roaming around Earth for about 170 million years and some of them are poisonous that a bite can be lethal. It is generally known that a frog is a regular snack for a snake, but not everyone is aware that there are types of frogs that prey on snakes too. Size and skill matter a lot when these two species meet.
Lizards are known predators of frogs. These scaled reptiles are found mostly in all continents except on some oceanic island chain and never in Antarctica. They need heat to survive and if frogs want to avoid them, a colder climate would be the safest place. An average-sized lizard would normally just eat worms, larvae, and insects, but when they get bigger they can practically eat anything smaller than them. However, just like with snakes, prey and predator are interchangeable depending on size and skill.
There are about 72 types of birds that can easily prey on frogs and they do it regularly. Generally, birds can fly over ponds, rivers, canals, and any small body of water without any problem. Frogs are easy picks for them especially those birds with an excellent vision that can calculate the movement of frogs in the water. After making a grab using their feet, the beaks will make several jabs to the frog to make it easier for them to swallow it whole. Some birds such as the Crow have developed skills on how to avoid absorbing toxins from poisonous frogs. However, amphibians are not their primary food, but they tend to eat them due to their availability.
The next frog predator is a hedgehog, which is a mammal with a piglike snout and a spiny body. These small nocturnal mammals are generally omnivorous. They can easily survive with a diet of plants or animals. Hedgehogs are never picky about what they eat. Their immunity level is so high that they chew on whatever is available to them even those with venomous glands such as poisonous dart frogs. Having those pointed spines around the body helps in subduing its prey. Hedgehogs can also survive without food for a long period of time and that makes them patient hunters.
5. Rainbow Trout
A Rainbow Trout is a ray-finned fish that spends most of its life in freshwater but sometimes can be found in brackish water too. An adult rainbow trout’s average weight is 1 to 7 kilograms but can weigh up to 9 kilograms, and its average length is about 30 to 75 cm but can go up to 90 cm. The weight and length will depend highly on the species type, diet, and habitat. While it has no lower teeth, they have very sharp teeth on the roof of the mouth that can subdue frogs with a smacking bite. While they don’t have frogs on top of their menu, they like to stalk them before striking at them with their teeth when an opportunity presents itself. They also like to regularly eat tadpoles.
Around 13 species of crocodiles can be found in different parts of the world. These large reptiles can survive in land and water. They are dangerous frog predators due to their massive size. The smallest crocodile can grow up to 5.6 feet in length and weigh up to 6 to 7 kilograms. The biggest ever recorded was 20.24 feet and weighs around 900 kilograms. The snapping powerful jaw with those razor-sharp teeth can easily swallow frogs. These semiaquatic reptiles are carnivorous, which means they only eat meat and would feast on frogs when they spot them on water or inland.
About 1,000 different species have already been identified of these hairy spiders. Rainforests are home to these frog predators, and the body sizes vary depending on the species. Some may grow 5 to 110 millimeters with leg spans of 3 to 12 inches. The largest known to man is the Goliath Birdeater with a leg span of 12 inches, a fang size of 1.5 inches and weighs 170 grams. They are silent predators that can camouflage so most of the frogs cannot see them. Good thing for tree frogs that most tarantulas are burrowed in the ground. However, there is no escape from tree-dwelling tarantulas.
These flying nocturnal mammals can easily grow between 2 to 11 inches with a wingspan length between 5 inches to 6 feet and can weigh up to 3.3 pounds. It is quite impressive that these nocturnal bats can catch a frog at night when they do not possess decent eyesight. They rely heavily on the sounds that these frogs are making to easily find their location.
Ocelot is a type of cat that is smaller than the regular leopard or jaguar. An average ocelot has twice the size of a domesticated cat with a length size between 28 and 35 inches and weighs between 11 and 16 kilograms. Frogs are included in their normal diet as they particularly enjoy eating them. Its keen sight and hearing along with its agile body can easily find its prey. The sharp and pointed fangs can deliver the killing blow. Ocelots make great frog predators as they can also climb trees and they can swim well in the water.
No matter how skillful the frogs are in avoiding its natural predators, they are totally defenseless when it comes to humans. Habitat destruction used to be the frog’s main problem, but in recent years, international trade for frog meat has increased. In some countries, mostly in Asia and South America, it has become a staple food and in France, it is considered a delicacy.
Frogs’ most common defense strategies to avoid being preyed upon by bigger animals are their camouflaging and leaping abilities. Other frog species are luckier such as the bright colored dart frogs, which can secrete dangerous toxins that can pose a problem to its predators, and the golden poison frogs possess toxins that can kill up to 20 people. However, from studies made by experts, pollution is the number one killer of frogs.
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