The image of a frog snatching a pesky bug with his quickly retracted tongue is usually what comes to mind when thinking about what a frog eats. This is understandable considering frogs live in wet environments where bugs also make their homes. Yet many frogs choose to seek nourishment from sources other than bugs.
Frogs living in captive setting will eat guppies, minnows and goldfish, provided the prey can be caught and is smaller than the predator. Frogs prefer live fish. Many frogs catch the fish they eat by quickly rolling their sticky tongues to capture the prey and then swallow the fish whole.
Some larger frogs are capable of eating live birds. In 2009 the Khorat big-mouthed frog -- a fanged frog -- was discovered in Thailand. It sits near streams waiting for unsuspecting birds to come to the water. The American bullfrog -- another of the larger frog species growing up to 8 inches in length and weighing up to 1.5 pounds -- also catches birds for a meal. If the bird fits, the frog swallows.
Small mammals such as mice and more diminutive-sized rats often become chow for frogs. The same size-oriented principle applies to frogs eating mammals: If the frog can get the mammal in his mouth where the frog's powerful jaws can do their crushing job, the frog can eat the mammal. The ornate horned frog, which also goes by the name Pacman frog, eats mice. African bullfrogs swallow rats in one rapid movement or bite.
Lizards And Other Frogs
Consider it to be a cannibalistic dining choice, yet frogs will consume their own kind and other frog species. Regardless of whether intended prey is a relative, if said cousin looks tasty and will fit in the predatory frog's mouth, he often becomes dinner. This is why it is important to never place smaller frogs with larger frogs in an enclosed environment. Smaller lizards with size-appropriate dimensions are also targets.
- Frog Garden: What Do Frogs Eat?
- Exploratorium: Frogs: The Amazing, Adaptable Frog
- All About Frogs: Some Common Questions
- Frog Life Cycle: What Do Frogs Eat And What Eats Frogs
- io9: Aother Frog With Fangs Is Discovered In Southeast Asia
- Scientific Computing: Bird-Eating Fanged Frog Found In Greater Mekong
- National Geographic: American Bullfrog
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.