jccurd's picture

Cannibalistic Frog

Observed: 14th October 2009 By: jccurdjccurd’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptilesjccurd’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptiles
IMG 3720 Cannibalistic Frog
IMG 3719 Cannibalistic Frog

I knew tadpoles were cannibalistic but didn't realize that the habit seems to persist into adulthood. My first picture caused this larger frog to jump back into the lake complete with the hapless smaller frog still in its mouth. Regrettably, I don't know the outcome.

  • a Water Frog (Rana spp)
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
    Likely ID
    Green/water frogs (Pelophylax sp.)
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Rose's picture

stress of hunger?

A Turkish studied I found of marsh frog stomach contents, showed that the species has started exhibiting cannibalistic behaviour under the stress of hunger. Maybe this is what is happening in your picture. There could be a lack of its normal food prey, typically bugs and worms from habitat degradation.
Your frog looks like an Edible Frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) and is a name for a common European frog, also known as the common water frog or green frog . They are vary variable in appearance.


jccurd's picture

Makes sense

Thanks Rose, "stress of hunger" might very well make sense here. At this lake (a farm irrigation supply) the frog population had exploded so much that the farmer was considering methods of control. (Being French, these included eating.) There were literally thousands of individuals so thick that one couldn't take a step in the surrounding grass without disturbing several. The lake shallows were full of frogs.

er2938's picture

Big meal

Is he/she really going to be able to eat that though? It's a big snack.

jccurd's picture

Suspect not

As I said, I don't actually know the outcome but I did look again a little later and couldn't see anything. My suspicion is that someone had bitten off more than they could chew and the intended victim was eventually released.

Rob Coleman's picture

Marsh and Pool Frogs are the

Marsh and Pool Frogs are the two normal species and Edible Frog is the hybrid of the two. There are also a number of regionally recognised forms.

These frogs can be pretty voracious predators - I've read an account of them swallowing bats!

Rob Coleman

Rose's picture

'Water Frogs'

Hi Rob, I suggested maybe edible as I couldn't see the stripe down the back I though tell tail for marsh. But as you say Pool, Marsh and Edible Frogs (collectively known as 'Water Frogs') are very difficult to tell apart, need to be in the filed I think.
Frog eating bats, very interesting and slightly alarming I would say!