Frogs are fascinating creatures. There are over 5,000 species of these exotic little amphibians, although some are not so small!
They can be found all over the world, with some being perfect pets and others armed with deadly poison.
Love or loathe them, frogs are a unique species of amphibians. But, is there a reason to stay away from frogs? Although there are poisonous frogs in the wild, many are harmless.
Or are they? The question remains – can frogs bite?
Frogs are kept as pets by many people, mainly because they are relatively easy to care for. Because frogs are so common, millions of people interact with them.
And, some frogs don’t like to be bothered. So, in retaliation for their invasion of privacy, frogs have been known to use their mouths. That’s right – most frogs are known to bite.
Join us today as we find out more about frog bites. We will delve into why a frog may bite you, what to do if you get bitten by a frog, what frogs bite, if it hurts, and much more.
Frogs: Do They Bite?
The truth is that, yes, frogs do bite, but only occasionally. Although many of us are fascinated by these animals, frogs are not that interested in us. Think of them as a grumpy old man who doesn’t want to be bothered.
Frogs, in general, simply do not like human interaction. Overall, frogs prefer to avoid any interaction with anything bigger than themselves.
The problem is that humans are practically everywhere, and so are frogs. Therefore, interaction between the two is very common. But, on some occasions, these interactions can end in a frog bite.
If you have a pet frog, or know someone who has one, then you or your friend has probably experienced a frog bite a few times.
It is a common occurrence for frog pet owners but most of the time, these bites happen when feeding them or if your fingers get too close.
Frogs rarely bite their owners out of malicious intent. However, some species are bigger biters than others.
As well as biting when being fed, another main reason a frog may bite someone is if they feel threatened, or see something as food.
As we mentioned, most frogs shy away from human interaction. Therefore, if they see a human coming towards them, they will usually run away or hide. They will only bite as a last resort.
Why Do Frogs Bite?
There are typically two main reasons why a frog may bite you:
- They feel threatened by you
- When they are being fed
If a frog feels threatened by you, they will bite you as their defense mechanism. They will do the same in nature if threatened by something.
Although frogs bite to defend themselves, this very rarely happens with humans.
One species of frog that is commonly kept as a pet is the Pacman. This is known to bite using its small, sharp teeth.
And yes, these little bites can hurt and even draw some blood. But, many frog species would rather run away or hide than draw blood with a human.
If you have a pet frog, just let it get used to you. Allow it to stay close to you so that it doesn’t remain afraid.
When feeding a frog from your hand, the frog may mistakenly bite your finger rather than the food. This can be because it may think your finger is food, or they just do it by accident.
What To Do If You Have Been Bitten By A Frog
When getting bitten, you need to be careful about your next steps. The frog may latch on and not let go. Rather than shaking your hand vigorously, try to stay calm.
The frog will let go quickly. If you shake your hand hard, you may injure or possibly kill it. Sometimes, you should be able to gently remove your finger from the frog yourself.
Most of the time, it will not hurt. Instead, you’ll just be a little shocked that it happened and maybe a little offended (especially if it’s your pet!)
If a frog attaches itself to your skin for an extended period of time, gently use your other fingers to try and push it off. Try and do this near the ground, so the frog does not fall too far.
How To Avoid Frog Bites?
If you keep being bitten when feeding your frog by hand, there is a simple solution. Rather than feeding out of your hand, feed the frog with tongs.
By doing this, your hands are out of harm’s way and your frog can still be fed in the calm, usual way.
When in the wild, if you see a frog, simply leave it alone. It does not want any interaction with you. The closer you get, the more nervous and scared the frog will become and the closer you’ll be to getting bitten.
Simply keep your hands away from a frog and you should be able to avoid getting bitten.
Frogs That Bite
Although all frogs are capable of biting you, a few species are known to actually enjoy the sensation of biting (don’t worry, they’re not vampire frogs!)
The good news, though, is that most dislike this feeling so will avoid it until absolutely necessary. Here are a few frog species that are known to bite more frequently than others:
- Budgett’s Frogs (Lepidobatrachus laevis) – these frogs like to attack any potential threat, such as predators. If they feel threatened, they will make themselves appear larger and create a lot of noise. This is to scare the potential danger away. If you notice these signs from a Budgett’s frog, you should move away from it. If not, you may soon feel those teeth on your skin.
- Pacman Frogs – native to South America, Pacman frogs may have a cute name, but they are feisty little creatures. They will bite anything that they consider to be a threat. Their jaws are very strong resulting in one powerful bite. If you have a pet Pacman frog, never feed it with your hands. Use a tong and you may be able to save your fingers from a nasty bite.
- African Bullfrogs – these frogs are very popular amongst herptile (a reptile or amphibian) owners. Although popular, an African Bullfrog is known to like a bite now and again. They boast large jaws and teeth to bite with. And, when they bite, they tend to hold on to their prey. Best to get those tongs out again.
Frog Bites: Do They Hurt?
It’s safe to say that any kind of bite will usually hurt. But, the level of pain you feel from a frog bite will depend on how hard it bites you.
Frogs, such as the Pacman, have a strong jaw and large teeth. Therefore, they can bite with considerable force and cause pain. Sometimes, frog bites can even draw blood.
The good news, however, is that most frog bites do not hurt much, or even at all.
You’ll likely feel a little nip, but the pain is unlikely to be severe. But, again, your pain threshold can determine what you feel, as well as the species that bites you.
As you can imagine, some larger species will have a greater bite than smaller ones.
Also, you’re more likely to be bitten by some larger frogs as they are prepared to defend themselves, whereas small frogs tend to be more reserved.
If a frog manages to penetrate your skin, the wound may feel a little irritated for some time afterward.
The open wound may sting, especially when coming into contact with certain products. Simply wash the frog bite as soon as you can and wait for the wound to heal.
It is rare that a frog bite will penetrate the skin, but if it does, you will need to treat the wound accordingly.
If blood has been drawn, you’ll need to wash the bite and apply a band-aid. You can also use a painkiller if required.
In all likelihood, a frog bite will not draw any blood, but it can happen. If it does, care for the wound, cover it up, and you should avoid any infection.
There are a few poisonous frogs in the world that you’ll want to avoid! One is the Poison Dart frog.
This frog is so deadly that natives of Central and South America once hunted and used them as poison darts, hence the name.
But, when looking at these beautiful creatures with their myriad of vivid colors, it’s hard to imagine that they are so dangerous.
When darts were used from these frogs, a single shot would be enough to kill any man or animal.
Embera, a tribe in Columbia, regularly used these poison darts to hunt and kill monkeys, birds, and other small animals.
And, amazingly, this poison was extracted from tiny frogs, no larger than a few centimeters in length.
Small but deadly, another poisonous frog is the Golden Poison Frog. This is actually one of the deadliest animals on the entire planet.
It carries enough toxin to kill up to 10 grown men. The largest of these is no more than 6 centimeters, while some are only 1.5 centimeters in length.
Although many animals and species produce toxins, most are not harmful to humans. But, for some, these toxins are so strong that, when ingested or absorbed by another animal, they can be lethal.
It’s worth noting that poisonous and venomous are two different types of toxins. The key difference between poison and venom is how the toxins enter the body of a victim. It’s easy to remember:
- If you bite something and die – it’s poison
- If an animal bites you and you die – it’s venom
Venom’s hallmark is that it is always introduced to its victim via a wound.
For example, a rattlesnake is dangerous, but technically, it is not poisonous – it is venomous. It used venom by injecting it into its victims via fangs, whilst other animals may use stingers.
Many amphibians, such as frogs, newts, and salamanders secrete toxins.
These toxins are used as poison as a defense mechanism against predators. Therefore, eating and swallowing any of these can be harmful to your health.
However, a 2015 study discovered that some amphibians may be venomous, rather than poisonous.
Researchers suggest that some frogs with spines on their head, including Aparasphenodon brunoi and Corythomantis greeningi need to be studied further to determine if they are venomous or not.
Because more research is required, it is believed that other venous amphibians are yet to be identified. But, this remains uncommon.
Most frogs can be considered mildly toxic. Therefore, they can be classed as “poisonous.”
But, fortunately for us, most are harmless to humans, but a small group are not, such as Poison Dart Frogs in the Phyllobates genus.
Get too close to these, and you may be at the Pearly Gates earlier than you anticipated.
There are some venomous frogs in the world, but according to research, their toxins are not delivered via their teeth or through biting.
Are Yard Frogs Dangerous?
If you have frogs in your backyard, they are, on the whole, beneficial because they keep pests down. But, they do come with some annoying habits.
They can be very vocal in some areas and lay eggs in swimming pools. This can lead to clogging skimmers and filters in the pool.
Frogs in your yard can also pose a health threat to some people. If you come into contact with a frog, an infection can occur.
This is because some frogs carry the bacteria salmonella. This can lead to salmonellosis, a bacterial infection which can cause fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
If you have kids under five years of age, salmonella can be very harmful. The same applies to those with weakened immune systems.
Other reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes and amphibians like salamanders and newts can also transmit salmonella.
If you or anyone you know has touched a frog, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward and avoid touching your face before doing so.
You should also be very careful not to swallow any frog toxins as this can cause illness. When your kids go and play outside, warn them not to touch any kind of reptile or amphibian, including frogs.
But, if you leave frogs in peace, they are typically beneficial to your yard.
So, frogs can bite but they rarely hurt. Sometimes, they can feel threatened and lash out or bite you accidentally as you feed them, but you usually won’t have anything to worry about.
Thanks for reading!