American Bullfrog FAQ: 19 Things to Know

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America. They are typically green or brown with a white belly, but can also be found in other colors. If you live near water and have ever been awakened by nighttime croaking sounds, it’s likely these frogs! Read on to learn 19 things you should know about them…

Why Are American Bullfrogs a Problem?

These frogs have a tendency to make a home for themselves in artificial areas that are of interest to humans. Most notably, those who have dedicated koi ponds may find American bullfrogs living in them over time.

Do American Bullfrogs Bite?

While bullfrogs could theoretically bite, you’re unlikely to feel much of anything if one did bit you. They can bite down on small insects, which make up most of their diet.

They can bite in defense though, and it’s possible to anger an aggressive one to the point where he or she might bite you, thus care should be taken around wild American bullfrogs.

Are American Bullfrogs Dangerous?

They’re more of a nuisance than they are genuinely dangerous. If they start to grow in fishing culvers, then they can quickly take them over and crowd out everything of economic interest there.

How Big Is an American Bullfrog?

Usually, American bullfrogs can grow from around 3½-6 inches and will normally weigh at most 6¼ ounces. They could theoretically get larger if given a regular food source, however.

Do Bullfrogs Carry Diseases?

A fungal infection by the name of chytridiomycosis may cling to bullfrog bodies, according to a study conducted on invasive American bullfrogs found in western European countries. This is a major issue in areas where they’re an invasive species.

Why Are Bullfrogs Harmful?

Bullfrogs can grow out of control and this means that they’ll quickly take over koi ponds. Commercial fish hatchery operations in some countries have been delayed because of the introduction of invasive American bullfrogs.

Without any natural predators, they can quickly grow out of control.

Can Bullfrogs Eat Underwater?

In general, American bullfrogs will usually keep their heads above water to eat. They can, however, swallow underwater according to some observers.

A few seemingly credible reports have shown American bullfrogs swallowing small fish without needing to surface, but this might have to do with a high oxygen content in the water at the time that these reports were taken.

Do American Bullfrogs Have Predators?

A number of animals snack on American bullfrogs, though they’re sometimes at the top of their food chain. When they’re tadpoles, these bullfrogs are often preyed upon by anoles and other small reptiles.

Dragonflies will also go after American bullfrog tadpoles. Once they’re in their adult stage they become somewhat difficult to eat, though they’re still a favorite of alligators in some areas.

Do American Bullfrogs Make Good Pets?

Albino domesticated American bullfrogs have become popular pets, though you might want to search for more natural green ones because these will more than likely have much wider gene pools. They’re interesting pets, though they might start to get aggressive if you try to keep a couple of them in the same enclosure.

Alone, they’re gentle enough that some school biology labs keep them as class pets to teach students about raising animals. This might not be the best thing for these frogs, however, as science teachers have long preferred American bullfrogs for dissection demonstrations!

Is Bullfrog Poisonous to Dogs?

According to the VCA Animal Hospital record, many types of frog and toad species may prove to be seriously poisonous to dogs. It can be hard to tell what kind your dog might try to eat, and there are countless that look like American bullfrogs, so treat them all as toxic.

In particular, American bullfrogs have an alkaloid-laden substance that covers them in the hopes of protecting against predators, which of course includes dogs. This substance is strong enough to make dogs throw up, especially if yours is a bit underweight.

Will a Bullfrog Eat a Baby Turtle?

Bullfrogs don’t usually eat baby turtles out of habit, but it’s possible especially if they’re hungry and their usual food sources don’t seem to be around. If a large adult bullfrog comes across a smaller-sized baby turtle, then there’s a good chance that they might look at that as a snack.

Does a Bullfrog Have Teeth?

Adult American bullfrogs have teeth. They’re quite small for animals of their size and they’re usually found only on the top of their mouth, which generally makes American bullfrog bites rare and generally harmless.

They’re one of only three types of frogs noted by researchers to actually have any developed teeth at all.

Is it Bad to Pick up Frogs?

Since their skin is so carefully balanced, frogs might not like you getting your oils all over it. The oil in your skin can actually be harmful to frogs, especially if they’re not fully developed yet.

As a result, you could really hurt a wild frog by touching it if you didn’t know what you were doing. Domesticated frogs shouldn’t be held much until they’re mature.

Are American Bullfrogs Edible?

Not only are American bullfrogs edible, their legs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the United States. A specific type of domesticated frog is normally served in restaurants, however, because many wild frogs are now infected with fungus.

A report from Conservation International warned that farmed frogs may be even worse in this respect, unfortunately.

Are Bullfrogs Good for Your Pond?

Bullfrogs can do a good job keeping insects and other small animals out of your pond, but they can also leave droppings that you’ll need to clean up. They can also grow out of control and most disconcertingly they could fight with your fish.

Will Bullfrog Eat My Koi?

When bullfrogs are mature and your koi fish aren’t, they start to look like an appetizing snack. Bullfrogs will eat koi and most other types of fish if they’re small enough.

How Big of a Fish Can a Bullfrog Eat?

A bullfrog can usually only swallow a fish that’s several times smaller than itself. They have been known, on occasion, to swallow koi that weigh at least a few ounces.

Many people who maintain koi ponds have come up with an extremely diverse set of methods designed to scare American bullfrogs out of their ponds, especially if they have fish who’ll naturally control the insect problem for them.

Do Bullfrogs Kill Birds?

Though they don’t normally go out of their way to do it, bullfrogs may eat small birds if given the chance. This usually happens in the wild if an infant bird lands close to a bullfrog who was already hungry.

How Long Does the American Bullfrog Live?

Maximum lifespan in the wild is usually around 8-10 years, assuming a bullfrog can reach maturity. In cooler areas, it can take up to three years for a bullfrog tadpole to completely transform itself.