tmk_hunt's picture

Headless Frog

Observed: 22nd October 2013 By: tmk_hunt
Headless Frog

The remains of this frog were seen on a stump in a woodland environment in Scotland. What animals might consume a frog in this way? I have placed this under birds, although I imagine an owl might swallow the whole frog in one go.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


nightfly's picture

Hi tmk_hunt, Here is

Hi tmk_hunt,

Here is something similar posted by a friend of mine some time back- there will probably be some discussion on it there which might be relevant to your observation-


dejayM's picture


Tom, I have checked with the post that Cathal mentions. Such a similar occurrence.
So, you now should post this with an ID 'Frog' and group it Amphibians and Reptiles (it is certainly not a bird!).
An interesting post, thanks.

dejayM's picture


Now, that's VERY interesting Elaine. Do have personal evidence for buzzards tackling frogs this way?
I am not certain that your ID will stand up or gain agreements because the picture is not, well, quite right (for a buzzard).

I still think the ID should be Frog Tom and I'm certain the Comment Trail about buzzards will be valuable. You would still need to alter the group to get the best attention.
Am I right, does this frog seem to have been pregnant? Strange time of year - anyone?

nightfly's picture

Hi Derek,It sems that the

Hi Derek,

It seems that the female frog can be carrying ova at the most unexpected times. A friend had previously found predated frog remains in September including ova, its posted on iSpot.

June past I found the same thing in the same upland habitat- female frog remains including ova. What I would conclude from these 2 observations are that ova can be present in the female frog long before and long after the expected spawning time, possibly 12 months of the year, the last point is a speculation but based on the aforementioned observations.


nightfly's picture

September one-

September one-

Sorry it was early July, I thought it was June-

I think we automatically assume that frogs produce their eggs close to the spawning season but these observations suggest they can contain ova long before the spawning season.


Alurophile's picture

Many things!

I agree that this should be under Amphibs. Many mammals will eat heads preferentially, for example, Stoats. The explanation suggested is that the animals obtain scarce nutrients this way. However, almost anything might have STARTED at the head end (after all, that puts paid to all escape attempts) & then been disturbed. The frog (a Common Frog, Rana temporaria) looks fresh, so disturbance is a likely explanation of why only the head was eaten.

dejayM's picture


Yes (Alurophile) I've (we all have...) been waiting for the right moment.
What you write is fair, very fair and informative - thanks.
Such a good observation and excellent photo Tom and an interesting ID Elaine.

I am hoping this post will now show in other Frog posts, particularly the ones which deal, largely, with predation and the 'jelly syndrome'.

DavidHowdon's picture

Tricky one

The poster was not asking for an identification of the frog but of the predator. That is not doable (other than Animalia I suppose).

So an entry of Frog under amphibians would be a good thing to have linked to this observation as an association but the purpose of this entry is the predator so it should not be in Amphibians. Probably Other organism is the only place it can go.

dejayM's picture


Yes, all agreed David.
But the magic is done and the post now appears in Other Observations (of Rana temporaria). It's quite fair to offer an alternative ID but not to go against the wishes or intentions of the original poster - I would not want to do that. But I think Tom (tmk_hunt) has, temporarily at least, left the arena.
None of us can safely agree with Buzzard and, slightly unfortunately, I have swung the Likelihood!
Hurry back Tom - it is an excellent observation!