Shocking Moment Frog Impales Itself on a Spike Captured by Photographer

A photographer managed to capture the incredible moment a frog impaled itself on a spike as it fought off competition to reproduce.

Raby Núñez E, from Sierpe de Osa, Costa Rica, has spent years photographing the amphibians and sharing them to his Instagram page, @sierpe_frogs.

Núñez E., a naturalist guide giving tours for the past 15 years, and a frog researcher for the past eight, spends hours overnight snapping gliding leaf frogs.

One image in particular has captured the attention of numerous people online, as it showed a male with the spine of a palm tree, bactris major, piercing its body.

The initial snap was posted on Instagram in January 2021, but captured a new legion of fans after being shared to Reddit's Nature Is Mental forum on Sunday, where it was upvoted more than 25,000 times.

Núñez E. explained to Newsweek: "I took this photo here in Sierpe, we are surrounded by nature. We have a lagoon that fills up with rain water and the frogs reproduce and lay their eggs on the vegetation around it. This species is known for its gliding skills. They jump from the treetops and glide to the nearby vegetation around the lagoon.

"These frogs reproduce in what we call explosive reproduction, thousands of them gather the same night and day to lay eggs. There are far less females than males, so competition is very extreme. So during this event at least two or three frogs got impaled in the spines of the palm tree."

After being posted on Reddit, numerous people questioned the frog's fate, and Núñez E. confirmed he survived the ordeal.

Photo of frog impaling itself by mistake.
Incredible photo of frog accidentally impaling itself. The image was taken in a lagoon in Sierpe de Osa, Costa Rica, and it was confirmed the frog survived. Raby Núñez E

"The frog got free on its own and survived. This was a skin wound [that did] not pierce any organ," he confirmed.

Referring to what could be his most popular image, Núñez E. added: "I think this photo is one of the most striking I have taken."

Commenting on the photo on Reddit, VoteGreen2024 wrote: "Totally brutal. I hate to see this. I love frogs!"

ADGjr86 asked: "Why don't insects and some animals cry in pain? Like why isn't this frog screaming? Or whatever noise they make."

Ralphm149 joked: "Jousting gone wrong."

TheZahrGaming thought: "Imagine there was random huge knives when you're walking around in your day to day lives."

Masonator618 observed: "Looks like it snagged his armpit. I think it'll be alright."

ArcaneWindow reckoned: "Damn. animals have great pain tolerance."

While _HeLLMuTT_ added "That look on the frog's face says it all."

Photo of gliding leaf frog impaling itself.
Photo of gliding leaf frog impaling itself. The photographer confirmed the incident took place during a mating "explosion" from the species. Raby Núñez E

The mating explosion is a well-known spectacle in the animal kingdom, as Osa Conservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, noted.

"Despite being difficult to locate in the trees, the breeding frenzies are another story," they said.

They went into detail about how they reproduce, explaining: "Each year during the rainy season explosive breeding takes place, leading to these gatherings of frogs.

"The frogs mate and lay their eggs on long leaves that overhand a body of water. After six to eight days, the babies, or tadpoles, hatch and fall into the water below, where they will transform and grow into adult frogs."

Núñez E. added he often photographs the creatures, as his Instagram attests to, as he said: "I love frogs and I spend a lot of time working with them."

Núñez E. shared two snaps of the impaled frog, one of which he captioned: "I posted a picture of this frog impale in a thorn some days ago and many people like it very much, so here it is another angle of this poor frog.

"This is a male Gliding Leaf Frog (Agalychnis spurrelli) that jumped from the treetops to reach the lower vegetation where they lay their eggs, unfortunately for him, he ended up impale in a spine of their favorite palm tree (Bactris major) used to lay eggs.

"Many people asked me if I helped the frog or if the frog survived. During this massive breeding explosion thousands of male frogs gather around the lagoon in order to find a female, so they need to compete with other males.

"It is very common to see frog 'balls' falling off the trees into the water below where the caimans (Caiman crocodilus), Mesaoamerican slider (Trachemys venusta) and other predators eat them.

"I try to minimize my impact in the site and also I don't intervene with what occurs during the explosion, so the answer is no I didn't help the frog.

"The frog after some time manage to free himself and it did SURVIVE and probably reproduce. A skin wound would not kill this strong boy; the spine didn't hurt any organ so he was ok."