Frogs Use Their Eyes to Swallow
A frog cannot keep its eyes open when eating, because it uses them to help swallow its prey.
Other animals use their tongue and teeth to help swallow prey. Frogs, however, don't generally have teeth (and when they do, they are only found on the upper jaw and are used to anchor prey, rather than to chew it). And their tongues aren't anchored at the back of their mouths, so they can't use them to push food along.
A frog does, however, usually have fairly large eyes for the size of its skull. When it blinks its eyes when swallowing a large mouthful of food, this causes the eyes to sink into its skull slightly. This puts pressure on the top of the frog's mouth, which helps push the food into the its throat.
April is National Frog Month. Be sure to check out these Science NetLinks resources to learn more interesting facts:
- A Touch of Class (3-8)
- Zap! (3-8)
- Amphibian Avenger: Smithsonian Scientist Brian Gratwicke (6-8)
- The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs (6-8)
- The Frog Scientist 1: The Mystery of Disappearing Frogs (6-8)
- The Frog Scientist 2: Schoolyard Field Investigation (6-8)
- Net Frog (6-8)
- Venomous Frogs (6-12)
- Virtual Frog Dissection App (6-12)
- Spotlight on Science Writers: Sandra Markle (blog post)
- Weird & Wonderful Creatures: The Titicaca Water Frog (blog post)