Why Do Frogs Bite Each Other? [10 Reasons]

As a frog owner, I’ve some remarkable memories of getting bitten by my favorite frog while wiggling my finger like a fatty juice worm in front of the frog. Similarly, you might have also experienced some terrible fighting among your frogs. So, a curiosity arises- why do frogs bite each other?

In most cases, frogs tend to bite other frogs to show territory and claim a hierarchy. Otherwise, aggression, stress, poor eyesight, or performing mating rituals can be the common causes behind such aggressive action.

If you’re a frog lover, you may want to explore all spectrums of frog behavior. In this article, I’ve penned down 10 reasons why frogs bite each other.

In addition, you’ll get to know about 6 popular frogs known to bite, the treatment of frog bites, prevention, and more information regarding this topic.

Key Takeaways

  1. Since almost all frog species have non-harmful teeth, they can bite with their small teeth.
  2. The bites of larger frog species may be a bit powerful. Otherwise, these bites do not cause any health risks.
  3. Frogs can bite as a defense mechanism, response to stress or aggression, or mistaken identity.
  4. Generally, the bites of frogs feel like a gentle pinch since the frog bites are pretty weak.
  5. If you notice allergic reactions or health complexities due to frog bites, you must seek a professional’s help immediately.   

Do All Frogs Bite?

Frogs must not be the first name that would appear in your mind when thinking about biting any animal. But, all species of frogs can bite whenever they feel uncomfortable. The power of biting may vary according to the frog species. 

Frogs are generally not aggressive and do not bite unless they feel threatened or are handled. Even then, bites are quite rare.

10 Reasons Why A Frog Might Bite Each Other

The prime reason for using the teeth of any frog is to hold a grip on the prey. These teeth aren’t used for chewing their food. The frogs tend to hold a tight grip on their foods with the help of teeth and tongue.

However, several factors motivate a frog to bite another frog or any human. I’ve listed 10 probable reasons for which a frog might bite.

1. Self-Defense

Biting is a common defensive language for frogs whenever these creatures feel threatened or agitated. In the wild, frogs of other species may interrupt harmony in one frog group. When any frog of a similar species or other species tries to attack, frogs tend to bite the attacker frog to save themselves.

The same thing can happen in cases of your pet frogs. You might notice that your pet frog bites you whenever you take it in your grip. If your grip makes your pet frog threatened or unsafe, it’ll bite you to defend its life.

You can also understand the defensive bite of your frogs by other body language.

For example- frogs tend to frighten others by making themselves appear huge. 

2. Asserting Dominance

Since frogs are solitary and social creatures, these social frogs stay in a colony or army. Each army of frogs consists of up to a hundred frogs. The colony of frogs maintains some social hierarchical structure to obtain their purposes. Generally, the individuals of the frog army make a collective movement to collect their food.

To run the frog army, the bigger frog in size tends to be the leader of the group. The other frogs follow the instructions of the dominant frog to perform collective roles peacefully. 

When the individuals of the frog colony make fusses, the dominant frog may bite to assert its dominance. Also, the larger frog takes up the responsibility to defend its predators by biting and showcasing other defensive behavior.

3. Aggression

Another reason for frogs’ biting is their aggression. Generally, frogs from a high-density population tend to be more territorial than frogs from a low-density area. In a high-density region, frogs need to compete for food and achieve their mating partners.

As a result, several frog species may bite each other to claim territory in the group. Naturally, some frog species can not tolerate frogs of other species in their realm. These frogs are so highly territorial that they can’t tolerate any frogs within their territory.

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Such as bullfrogs and marine toads. To ward off other uninvited frogs, these frogs can get involved in fighting and biting each other.

Sometimes, the aggression comes from their reproductive behavior that leads to biting other frogs. The male-to-male competition for mating can cause aggression.

Also, the female frogs may want to thwart unwanted amplexus. So, the aggression between the female and male frogs during mating rituals may be one of the reasons for biting.

Most frog bites are not harmful to humans. However, some species of frogs have toxins that can be harmful, so it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any frog.

4. Stress

Stress is one of the most prominent factors for frogs to bite other frogs or humans. Whenever the frogs feel stressed, they may bite for the sake of protection. Sudden changes in environmental temperature or humidity, the presence of predators, or feeling cornered may cause stress in frogs.

When there are lots of bigger frogs in the circle, the smaller frogs may feel stressed. As a result, these stressed frogs react by defensive biting. Also, these creatures aren’t meant to be often handled.

Sometimes, the frog owners may get bitten for handling their pet frogs too frequently. After all, over-handling causes stress and anxiety that forces the frogs to survive by biting the potential attacker.

5. Mistaken As Food

Not all frog species are too aggressive to attack with biting. You might wonder why a peaceful frog suddenly bites you without any reason.

When you try to feed your pet frog and get bitten, the possible reason may be assuming your finger food. You might know that these frogs look for any moving substance as their prey. Since these creatures aren’t too smart, they may mistake your fingers for their delicious meal.

Sometimes, it can be an accidental bite. That’s why the experts recommend not hand-feeding your frogs. Use some chopsticks, tongs, or other feeding tools to feed your pet frogs.

6. Poor Eyesight

Since African dwarf frogs are known as peaceful creatures, you might be astonished after getting bitten by your dwarf frog. If your African dwarf frog bites you, the reason will be its poor eyesight. These aquatic frogs are nearly blind. That’s why African dwarf frogs try to consume anything that flashes before them.

Sometimes, these African dwarf frogs tend to bite their tank mate fish or the legs of other dwarf frogs. Because of their poor vision, these frogs assume their meal is whatever is swimming in front of them.

Another relieving fact is that these aquatic frogs do not have any teeth. So, there’ll be no such possibility of great harm even if your African dwarf frog bites you or its tank mates.

Some species, like the poison dart frogs, have potent toxins. Indigenous people have used their secretions to poison the tips of blowdarts.

7. Mating Rituals

The frogs tend to show such clumsy behavior during their mating that people often mistake them for fighting.

While mating, the male frogs embrace the female mating partner in a clasping position that is known as amplexus. Such typical involvement may remain unwelcoming for the female frog.

In such a case, the female frog may give a warning bite to the male frog. When the female frog is likely to reject the male frog, its aggressive behavior is shown through the bites.

8. Eating The Skin That’s Been Shed

An interesting fact about frogs is that these creatures also shed their skin as a part of their natural growth. Unlike snakes, frogs do not leave their shredded skin. Instead of sloughing the shredded skin off, frogs tend to consume the shed skin. It’s a natural recycling process to use the nutrients of the discarded components.

In many cases, other frogs tend to enjoy the shedding skin of their friend. This odd behavior aids in gaining nutritional value and saving from dehydration. It may look as confusing as biting the frog. 

9. Curiosity

Sometimes, frogs can bite you or their tank mates just out of sheer curiosity. If you bring a new frog into the tank, it’ll try to discover its boundary. While looking for new things, your frog may bite its new owner too.

10. Health Issues

In many cases, frogs become irritated due to their underlying health issues. Such as skin infections or other illnesses. It’ll cause discomfort and stress to your frogs forced to bite. Out of irritation, these sick frogs may start biting each other.

Can Frogs Be Venomous?

The frog enthusiasts often ask whether frogs can be poisonous or venomous. Firstly, there’s a subtle difference between poisonous frogs and venomous frogs.

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Almost all frog species secret toxins from the glands of their skin.

In most cases, the secreted toxins do not do much harm instead of some skin irritation. But, poison dart frogs are one of the most popular poisonous frog species. These beautiful dart frogs can generate highly poisonous toxins that can kill human beings. In the same way, cane toads are popular for secreting dangerous toxins from the glands behind their ears.

On the other hand, you can find only two frog species in the list of venomous creatures. These are Greening’s frogs and Bruno’s casque-headed frogs.

Except for these frog species, other frogs aren’t harmful to human beings.

6 Popular Pet Frogs Known For Biting

Frogs aren’t very popular for biting. Only a few frog species are known to bite each other. Let’s get to know about some common frogs that usually bite other frogs.

pacman frog eating a fish
Owner: Ore Peirceman

1. Pacman Frogs

The first name of a popular pet frog known for biting is the Pacman frog. These cute frogs are one of the few species that use biting as their defense mechanism. If you look at the physical features of Pacman frogs, you’ll find a set of sharp teeth in their powerful jaws.

Whenever these American horned frogs feel threatened, they don’t forget to take a bite. Although the biting doesn’t cause much harm, it can draw out some blood.

You might observe that Pacman frogs can become as giant as the size of your hand. Because of having huge heads, their bites are pretty powerful. Some studies have found that the strength of their bites is equal to around 30 Newton.

If you are confused about getting medical attention for Pacman frog bites, you should check out this article.

Pac-Man frogs have been known to bite if they feel threatened or mistake a hand for food, but their bites are not venomous.

American Bullfrog
American Bullfrog

2. American Bullfrogs

American bullfrogs are one of the most territorial frogs that often get involved in wrestling with their rivals. These frogs have teeth not only in front of the top of the mouth but also in the roof of the mouth. Whenever these frogs catch prey, they seize the prey with their muscular tongue and powerful teeth.

The actual purpose of these teeth are used for the help of hunting and getting food. Although the bites of American bullfrogs can cause sharp pain, these bites are harmless. Compared with African bullfrogs, the pain of the bites of American bullfrogs is less intense than that of African bullfrogs.

3. African Bullfrogs

In the list of painful bites, African bullfrogs will surely secure their position at the top. These frogs are one of the most notorious frogs for their painful bites. But, the interesting fact is that these African bullfrogs do not have any teeth.

Instead of teeth, African bullfrogs have three throne-like structures on their bottom jaws. These structures are named as odontodes that cause sharp pain in bites. Also, these second-largest frog species have sharp and non-pedicellate teeth-like structures in their maxillary.

Some people complain about having severe pain after several days to weeks from getting bitten by African bullfrogs. Using their painful bites, these giant frogs can eat up smaller frogs.

Budgett's Frogs

4. Budgett’s Frogs

Budgett’s frogs are other giant frogs that are popular for delivering painful bites. The territorial temperament of these frogs instigates them to use their bites as a defense mechanism. Although Budgett’s frogs do not have any teeth, these frogs possess sharp teeth-like structures.

Combining the powerful jaw with sharp teeth helps these giant frogs make painful bites. Although these bites do not cause much harm, they’ll leave a lasting impression.

5. Giant Monkey Frogs

In the list of popular frog species known to bite, almost all frogs have an aggressive temperament. But, giant monkey frogs have different personalities for their docile behavior. In most cases, these monkey frogs bite other frogs or humans whenever they feel threatened or anxious.

If you notice the size, these giant frogs can reach up to 4-5 inches. Their large size causes a large mouth. As a result, these frogs have a strong jaw that aids in delivering sharp bites.

6. African Clawed Frogs

Other highly territorial frogs are African clawed frogs that have a bad reputation for their temperament. These frogs are so aggressive that they can tear apart their prey with their claws. In most cases, African clawed frogs bite their tank mates to create dominance or show territory. While feeding foods, you might also get some accidental nibbles from these clawed frogs.

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Frog Bite & What To Do: Infographic

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Are There Frog Species That Don’t Bite?

If any creature has a mouth, it can have the power to bite. But, not all frogs love to have the sensation of biting. In many cases, some frog species can not bite due to the lack of teeth.

So, some exclusive frog species do not bite. Let’s check out which frog species are exceptional in this case.

Frog Species That Don’t Bite

1. African Dwarf Frogs

These African dwarf frogs are popular for being aquatic creatures and extremely peaceful. Although people often confuse them with African clawed frogs, you can distinguish them by their temperament. Sometimes, people tend to make complaints that their African dwarf frogs are biting each other.

But, that wouldn’t be possible. After all, African dwarf frogs do not have any teeth to bite each other. If your aquatic frogs are biting each other, it must be African-clawed frogs.

2. Green Tree Frogs

If you want to keep a non-aggressive frog, you can choose a green tree frog. These green tree frogs are so docile that they do not bite other frogs. Unlike other frogs, green tree frogs do not secrete any poisonous toxins that can be harmful to humans and other animals.

3. White’s Tree Frogs

Another calm frog species that does not bite is White’s tree frog. Moreover, these cute frogs do not have any teeth to attack other animals by biting. Also, White’s tree frogs do not possess much jaw strength. If these frogs try to bite, their bites will not hurt a bit.

It is generally recommended to handle frogs as little as possible, as the oils and salts on human skin can be harmful to them

Do Frogs Bite Human Beings?

Although most frog species are peaceful, these frogs can bite human beings. But, these frogs aren’t likely supposed to bite humans without falling into unwanted situations. Only a few aggressive species of frogs tend to bite human beings with strong forces.

The main reason behind biting any human being can be feeling threatened.

You should remember that human interaction doesn’t appeal to frogs.

If your handling makes your frog uncomfortable, it may feel cornered, stressed, or frightened. Due to anxiousness and stress, frogs may bite human beings.

Is It Okay To Hold A Wild Frog?

Although you may feel excited to see wild frogs, the experts forbid you to hold any wild frog. These frogs are likely to carry salmonella and bacteria that can cause threats to human health. If you need to touch any wild frog, you should hold the frog with proper caution.

Sometimes, people tend to grab wild frogs so tightly that the internal organs of the frogs get injured. Holding wild frogs without maintaining etiquette can traumatize these wild frogs. Considering the health of humans and wild frogs, it will be better not to hold a wild frog.

large eye frog on green grass

Do Frogs Have Teeth?

Yes, some species of frogs do have teeth, but not all of them. The teeth of frogs are generally small and not used for chewing food. Instead, they are used to hold prey before it is swallowed.

Frogs typically have teeth on the upper jaw, known as maxillary teeth, and some species also have vomerine teeth, which are located on the roof of the mouth. However, frogs do not have teeth on their lower jaw.

The structure and presence of teeth can vary widely among different species of frogs, with some having well-developed teeth and others having none at all.

For example, the African bullfrog has teeth-like structures called odontoids on the lower jaw, which are used for biting and gripping prey. On the other hand, many tree frogs have small, needle-like teeth on the upper jaw to help secure their prey.

Best Pet Frogs For Handling: Infographic

best pet frogs for handling infographic

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

Before You Go…

I hope you’ve got a vast idea about frog bites, the possible reasons of why frogs bite each other, popular frog species known to bite, and other related information. If your thirst for detailed knowledge hasn’t quenched, you can take a look at the following article.

Can A Frog Bite? [ How to Avoid Getting Bitten?]

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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