Frog Predators: What Animals Eat Frogs?

Although frogs have incredible self-defense mechanisms, these survival tactics do not always work when faced with a plethora of predators.

Frogs are especially vulnerable to predators while they are still eggs or tadpoles.

Frog predators include birds (herons, crows, ducks), reptiles (lizards, snakes, alligators), fish (bass, snook), mammals (chipmunks, skunks, foxes, raccoons, possums, humans), and amphibians (frogs).

Unexpected Frog Predators

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Some frogs themselves are ferocious carnivorous predators, like American Bullfrogs that can eat bats, tarantulas, and mice.

But even bullfrogs are vulnerable to being eaten at any moment of the day underwater, on land, or even by a predator lurking in the sky above.

Many terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial animals eat frogs including herons, storks, seagulls, crows, egrets, ducks, swans, geese, ravens, hawks, owls, cranes, blue jays, loons, reptiles, fish, small mammals and larger amphibians.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common animals that eat frogs.

Reptiles Eat Frogs

All kinds of small and large lizards and snakes enjoy eating frogs. These include monitor lizards, Garter snakes, Asian Pit Vipers, and Asian Keelback snakes.

PredatorSpeciesEats Frogs
Monitor LizardsReptileYes
Garter SnakesReptileYes
Asian PitvipersReptileYes
Asian Keelback SnakesReptileYes
Snapping TurtlesReptileYes
AlligatorsReptileYes
RattlesnakesReptileYes

Many aquatic turtles like Snapping Turtles also eat frogs.

Snake eating a frog (predator)

Alligators are well known to eat frogs wherever they are part of the aquatic ecosystem, like in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and parts of China.

Fish Eat Frogs

Big game fish including snook, redfish, pike, catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and muskellunge eat frogs.

PredatorSpeciesEats Frogs
SnookFishYes
RedfishFishYes
PikeFishYes
CatfishFishYes
WalleyeFishYes
Smallmouth BassFishYes
Largemouth BassFishYes
Spotted BassFishYes
MuskellungeFishYes

Fishermen often use plastic frogs as lures or top-water bait to attract and catch these kinds of fish. Smaller fish such as Koi, Goldish, and other bettas also eat frog eggs. 

Birds Eat Frogs

Birds that eat frogs include herons, storks, seagulls, crows, egrets, ducks, swans, geese, ravens, hawks, owls, cranes, blue jays, loons, and kingfishers.

Southern Ground Hornbill bird eating a frog

Birds are efficient predators to frogs because they can easily spot them from high perches. 

PredatorSpeciesEats Frogs
HeronsBirdYes
StorksBirdYes
SeagullsBirdYes
CrowsBirdYes
EgretsBirdYes
DucksBirdYes
SwansBirdYes
GeeseBirdYes
RavensBirdYes
HawksBirdYes
OwlsBirdYes
CranesBirdYes
Blue JaysBirdYes
LoonsBirdYes
KingfishersBirdYes

Herons, cranes, storks, and egrets like to wait quietly in the water to spot and catch frogs off guard. The presence of these kinds of birds at a fish-free pond can be a good indicator of frogs being present.

Mammals Eat Frogs

In North America, a variety of mammals like to feed on frogs including skunks, foxes, raccoons, water shrews, coyotes, otters, and possums.

PredatorSpeciesEats Frogs
MonkeysMammalYes
ChipmunksMammalYes
FoxesMammalYes
RaccoonsMammalYes
Water ShrewsMammalYes
SkunksMammalYes
SquirrelsMammalYes
CoyotesMammalYes
OttersMammalYes
PossumsMammalYes
StoatsMammalYes
WeaselsMammalYes
PolecatsMammalYes
BadgersMammalYes
MuskratsMammalYes
MinkMammalYes
Pine MartensMammalYes
CatsMammalYes
DogsMammalYes
HumansMammalYes

In Europe, stoats, weasels, polecats, badgers, mink, and pine martens also like to feed on frogs.

Frog Defense-min
European Polecat considering eating a frog playing dead

Pets including cats and dogs may also be predators to frogs and may eat them intentionally or unintentionally during play.

Cats or dogs may become sick, vomit, or lose their appetite if they eat a frog. Somewhat like cats and dogs, in certain regions of the world monkeys may also play with frogs and eat them.

Frogs Eat Other Frogs

Frogs do eat other frogs making them cannibals.

What Frogs Eat Dead Bugs-min
A toad I found in the wild having a snack

Some larger frogs will gladly eat smaller ones and tadpoles. Frogs may even eat their own tadpoles.

PredatorSpeciesEats Frogs
Smaller FrogsAmphibianYes
Larger FrogsAmphibianNo
Larger SalamandersAmphibianYes

A scientific study found that β€œlarge invasive frogs that live in forests with high anuran diversity are most likely to have a higher proportion of anurans in their diet” (Measey, 2015).

So in forests where there are more frog species, large invasive frogs are more likely to eat other frogs.

Large Bugs Eat Small Frogs

Dragonflies, diving beetles, dragonfly larvae, and other large water bugs also eat frog eggs.

One of the reasons frogs spawn so many eggs is because these eggs have no defense against hundreds of predators that are close by, or right in the water with them.

These bugs have an advantage since they can easily access the eggs from above or directly within the water.

Very large praying mantis may be able to eat tadpoles or small baby frogs.

Learn more about what frogs you can eat in this article on our blog.

Humans Eat Frogs

Some frogs are hunted and eaten by humans. Humans hunt certain types of frogs to survive in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Frog legs are also considered delicacies in France, parts of Europe, South Africa, and the Southern regions of the United States.

Humans preparing to eat grilled frog legs

The pet trade is another way humans exploit frogs for profit. Although having a pet frog may sound very appealing, some frogs are endangered due to human activity, including the pet trade.

For example, the Goliath Frog is an endangered species due to such activity, and the Equatorial Guinean government declared that no more than 300 goliaths could be exported per year for the pet trade.

Using Predators to Keep Frogs Off Your Property

You can use frog predators to keep frogs off your property if you prefer to have a predator instead of frogs in your yard or garden.

For example, you could favour the presence of snakes in your yard to naturally eat frogs and control the population.

If you have frogs on your property and are looking for natural ways to get rid of them, check out our detailed guides below more information on how to get rid of frogs without killing them:

Be sure not to consider your pets as frog predators.

Although cats and dogs may attempt to eat them, frogs can be very dangerous to your pet’s health.

What Eats Frogs? Frogs can be eaten by birds like herons, crows, and ducks; reptiles like lizards, snakes, and alligators; big game fish like bass and muskellunge; small mammals like skunks foxes, raccoons, otters, and monkeys, and water bugs, other frogs, and humans.

Do Frogs Eat Other Frogs? Large frogs will gladly eat other smaller frogs and tadpoles. Frogs are known to be cannibalistic and even eat their own tadpoles. Large invasive frogs living in forests with high frog diversity are most likely to have a higher proportion of frogs in their diet.

Do Frogs Eat Birds? As a general rule, large Ranidae frogs like Bullfrogs, South American Horned Frogs, and Pixie Frogs eat small birds including hummingbirds, quail, and even bats. These aggressive frogs will generally eat any vertebrate or invertebrate that can fit into its mouth.

Can a Dog Eat a Frog? Dogs may eat a frog intentionally or unintentionally during play. A dog may become sick, vomit, or lose their appetite if they eat a frog. Ensure the frog that was eaten was not poisonous or consult a veterinarian if necessary.

What Fish Eat Frogs? Big game fish including snook, redfish, pike, catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and muskellunge eat frogs. Smaller fish such as Koi, Goldish, and other betta fish eat fish eggs.

What Animals Eat Frogs? Skunks, foxes, raccoons, water shrews, coyotes, otters, possums, stoats, weasels, polecats, badgers, mink, pine martens, monkeys, and pets including cats and dogs are predators to frogs and may eat them.

Do Monkeys Eat Frogs? Monkeys are omnivores that like to feast on leaves, fruit, insects, bird and lizard eggs, small lizards and birds, as well as frogs. Monkeys are curious creatures and may play with frogs but also hunt them for food.

Are Frogs Cannibalistic? Frogs are cannibalistic creatures that eat their own species and even their own tadpoles. Frogs are mostly solitary outside of mating season. Large frogs should not be kept with smaller frogs as pets as the large frog could eat the smaller one.

Sources

Measey GJ, Vimercati G, de Villiers FA, Mokhatla MM, Davies SJ, Edwards S, Altwegg R. 2015. Frog eat frog: exploring variables influencing anurophagy. PeerJ3:e1204 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1204

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.