Do Frogs Bite? – Bite-Sized Knowledge

do frogs bite

Have you ever wondered if these small amphibians have teeth and if they could even bite or attack you while jumping? I know I have. But, is there a reason for concern or even fear?

Do frogs bite? Frogs do have teeth but they would not bite you. Their teeth are there to help grip the small prey like insects, while they are swallowing them. Their main defenses are camouflage, slippery or toxic skin and fast jumping ability.

What Is A Frog?

Frogs are part of an incredibly diverse group of tailless amphibians called Anura which literally means without tail in Ancient Greek.

Frogs have no tail except as larvae and most have long hind legs. They live in diverse habitats all around the world ranging from the tropics to subarctic regions.

The greatest concentration of diverse frog species is in tropical rainforest with more than 6300 recorded species that account for 88% of living amphibian species.

Take our fun Amphibians Quiz – Are You A Frogman?

Do Frogs Have Teeth?

Contrary to popular belief most frogs do have teeth. They are on the edge of the upper jaw and also on the roof of their mouths.

They do not have teeth in the lower jaw as frogs usually swallow food whole. There are some exceptions of course.

What is the use of these upper teeth?

They are mainly used to grip the prey and keep it in place until swallows a process that is also assisted by retracting the eyes into the head. They are also very weak and cannot be used to chew or catch prey.

Of more than 6000 species of frogs, only South American tree frog has teeth on both its upper and lower jaws.

Frog Vs Toad

Both frogs and toads are amphibians and they are similar. All toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads. 

Generally, warty, dry skin frog species tend to be called toads, and species with smooth and moist skin are called frogs.

There is no official distinction between frogs and toads as there is no taxonomic or evolutionary reason for it.

All members of the order Anura are frogs but only members of the family Bufonidae are considered true toads.

There are of course many exceptions to this rule and as already mentioned true toads completely lack teeth, but most frogs do have them.

Take our fun Amphibians Quiz – Are You A Frogman?

Do Toads Bite?

As I’ve just mentioned, toads completely lack teeth and so they do not bite. They are most likely to skip away when faced with danger. They do have some other defenses like toxic warts that cause them to taste bad to predators or even curious dogs.

Toads only eat small insects and worms as do most other amphibians.

Can You Touch A Frog?

A frog’s skin is protective and helps control body temperature just like yours does but their skin also has a respiratory function and can absorb water.

They also have many glands especially on their head and back that often exude toxic and distasteful substances.

The secretion has many uses such as keeping the skin smooth and moist which helps protect against moulds and bacteria while also making them slipery as a defence against predators.

Many frogs are able to absorb water and oxygen directly through the skin.

But, is it safe for you to touch or even handle a frog?

Many frogs contain mild toxic substances called bufotoxins in their skin and most toads and some frogs have rather large poison glands. 

The species that are poisonous tend to advertise their toxicity with bright colors.

Try our Axolotl Quiz – Living Emojis

Generally, it is not a good idea to hold wild frogs or toads as it may not be safe for us or them. You see, frogs can absorb leftover chemicals from your skin into their tiny bodies, and on the other side, some frogs can be extremely poisonous and can have enough toxicity in them to kill 10 humans. In addition to that, they also carry salmonella which can cause you some serious health issues.

While the super deadly frogs are mainly found in South American rainforests, cane toads that are poisonous as well have been found in Texas and Mexico.

If you absolutely need to handle a frog, do so with disposable, non-powdered vinyl gloves. They will protect you and frogs and no interchange of toxins will happen.

Are Frogs Good Pets?

Frogs can make great pets as they are cheap and easy to keep. They also have a very long lifespan as they can easily live 15-20 years if properly cared for. 

With such a long lifespan you gotta ask yourself before acquiring one, are you willing to care for a pet for such a long time.

Other pros for keeping a pet frog or frogs are:

  • Low maintenance
  • No need to feed often
  • No need to clean their enclosure often
  • They are seen as exotic
  • They look great in a vivarium
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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.