Are Bullfrogs Poisonous?

Bullfrogs are large frogs that are found all over the world. Here are some fun facts about these creatures.  

Are bullfrogs poisonous? Bullfrogs are in fact poisonous. Like many types of frogs and toads, bullfrogs protect themselves from predators by secreting poison from special glands (called the parotid glands) that are behind their ears. Even though they have toxic skin that does not mean that they are harmful to humans. Instead, the toxins on their skin makes it less likely that other animals will eat them. 

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What happens if I touch a bullfrog? 

If you touch a bullfrog, you will not get sick from the toxins on their skin. But you still need to be careful. Frogs can carry other germs and diseases that can cause health problems to humans. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap, and never touch your face with dirty hands. 

It is also important to remember that bullfrogs are wild animals and should not be touched because the germs and chemicals from your hands could be absorbed through their skin and make them sick. Plus most frogs will get stressed from being touch or handle.  

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What animals eat bullfrogs? 

There are a lot of animals that still eat bullfrogs regardless of the toxins on their skin. Some animals that eat bullfrogs are birds like blue herons and kingfishers, turtles, water snakes, and raccoons. So if these animals still eat bullfrogs, what is the point of their toxins on their skin? Most fish will not eat bullfrogs or bullfrog tadpoles because they do not like the taste of the toxins.  

What do bullfrogs eat? 

Bullfrogs are carnivores and herbivores meaning that they eat both animals and plants. Bullfrogs often eat snakes, worms, insects, frogs, mollusks, and small birds. They will also eat the eggs of fish, insects, salamanders, and even other frogs. Additionally, bullfrogs have some cannibalistic instincts and they will eat other bullfrogs if they have to. Tadpoles mostly eat aquatic plants and both young and older bullfrogs will eat algae.  

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Where do bullfrogs live? 

Bullfrog is a common term that refers to all large, and aggressive frogs, regardless of species.

American Bullfrogs are native to the United States and they are the largest frog species that live in the US. They can be found in every state except for Alaska and Hawaii. Bullfrogs can be found in these states in freshwater habitats like ponds, marshes, streams, and rivers. 

 There are also several species of African, Australian, Asian bullfrogs.

The African bullfrog in particular is a popular pet around the world and they can live up to 35 years in captivity.

A pair of African giant bullfrogs (Pyxicephalus adspersus) mating, South Africa
A pair of African giant bullfrogs (Pyxicephalus adspersus) mating, South Africa

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How big do bullfrogs get? 

Bullfrogs can grow to be up to 8 inches long and can weigh up to 1.5 pounds, so these frogs get pretty large! 

How long do bullfrogs live? 

Bullfrogs usually live to be about 7-9 years in the wild, but in captivity, they can live up to 16 years. Not all bullfrog eggs reach maturity though. Female bullfrogs can lay as many as 20,000 eggs at a time. Tadpoles will emerge from the eggs about 4 days after fertilization and they stay tadpoles for three years before they become frogs. Female frogs do not care for their offspring- tadpoles can take care of themselves as soon as they hatch from their eggs.  

Why are bullfrogs called bullfrogs? 

Bullfrogs get their name from their loud voices. Bullfrogs will make a loud sound that sounds like a bull’s call. They also have very large eardrums behind their eyes which helps them to hear the calls of other bullfrogs. In fact, the eardrum in male bullfrogs is bigger than their eyes! 

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What other frogs are poisonous? 

Probably the most famous poisonous frog is the poison dart frog. Poison dart frogs are small frogs that live in the rain forests of South and Central America and are painted in bright colors (like blue, yellow, orange, or red) that warn predators that they are toxic. Unlike bullfrogs, who have their poison on their skin, poison dart frogs have their poison on their tongues. They stick their tongues out and zap the insects that they like to eat.  

What is the biggest frog in the world? 

The bullfrog is the biggest frog in the United States, but are they the biggest frog in the world? The title of the largest frog in the world goes to the goliath frog. This frog can grow to be over a foot long and weighs about 7 pounds. These frogs live in West Africa.