What Do Toads Eat? 7 Surprising Foods

What Do Toads Eat

If you are hoping to keep a toad as a pet, then you must know toad foods. You probably already know that toads eat crickets. But just like man doesn’t survive on bread alone, toads do not survive on crickets alone. They eat many other things.

In this post, I will share with you everything you need to know about toads and what they eat.

What Foods Do Toads Eat?

Different toad species prefer different foods. However, in general, toads eat worms and crickets. Give any toad species any of any number of worms and crickets and they will be happy and full in a couple of minutes. However, just like human beings, toads need a bit of variety in their diet to stay strong and healthy. Therefore, if you are planning to care for a frog in a terrarium, you should be prepared to give them a balanced diet of toad food.

As I mentioned above, toads love crickets and worms. In addition to crickets and worms, toads love eating small fish, snakes, lizards, mice, snails, slugs, grubs, spiders, flies, small frogs, and small toads. It might be a bit surprising to hear that toads actually eat other toads but they do.

Based on the foods I have mentioned above, I am sure you can pretty much tell that toads are carnivorous. In other words, they are meat-eaters. They do not eat plants. So a balanced diet for toads does not include veggies the way a balanced diet for humans includes veggies. 

Toads do not eat vegetables because their digestive systems are not designed to digest vegetables/ plant matter. 

So if you are planning to keep a toad pet, you should be prepared to feed him or her with plenty of live food. 

What Foods Do Toads Eat in Nature?

Wild toads are carnivorous. They mainly eat insects and worms. However, different toad species prefer different foods. This is because different toad species grow in different habitats that have different foods. It is rare to find two frog species in the same habitat preferring the same foods.

Wild toads also eat different foods based on the age/ development stage. 

Toad tadpoles (the youngest toads) prefer eating algae and plant matter and can also be fed with small pieces of boiled fruits and veggies. They do not eat meat at all. They are also known to eat the jelly-like substance that holds them together when they are laid as eggs. Toads only become carnivorous animals when they become young adults.

Juvenile toads (young adult toads) prefer eating small insects. They rarely go for anything else other than small insects. This is probably because they are still small in body size so they actually do not need to eat a lot of food to survive. It is also probably because they cannot really hunt bigger live prey at this stage again because of their relatively small body size.

The insects that juvenile wild toads like eating include flies, small ants, and pinhead crickets.

Wild adult toads (big and fully developed toads) like eating just about anything live they can put in their mouths. This is because they are big and, therefore, they have big appetites. It also because they have big and strong jaws. Obviously not as big as those of big cats and other mammals but big enough to enable them to catch and swallow prey like mice.

Since toads cannot really fight their prey, they hide and ambush them. One adaptation that helps them to catch insects and worms is their long tongue. In some species, the tongue can reach nearly thrice their body length to catch prey some distance away. 

The foods that wild adult toads prefer include pinhead crickets, small toads, small frogs, snakes, lizards, mice, snails, slugs, spiders, worms, and flies.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about wild adult toads is that they jaw and their teeth are not for crushing and chewing prey. They are just for holding prey. This is because they prefer swallowing their food whole without chewing.

What Foods Do Pet Toads Eat?

Pet toads are domesticated toads. They are bred for selling. Unlike wild toads, pet toads have been bred for years in terrariums that they are somewhat different from wild toads in terms of what they eat.

Before I go further and tell you the difference between the wild toad diet and the pet toad diet, let me tell you something important you need to know if you are planning to keep a pet toad. Certain wild toad species are becoming extinct because of human activities.

Human activities such as the clearing of habitats for agriculture and the pollution of the environment are degrading their environments and making it difficult for them to survive.

This is the reason why wildlife organizations advise against capturing toads in the wild and keeping them as pets because this is also contributing to their extinction. So if you want to keep a pet toad, you should not capture one in the wild. You should only buy one from a pet store that breeds captive toads or gets its toads from a pet store that breeds wild toads.

I know I went on a tangent in the previous paragraph but I believe the information I have shared above is important for the protection of wild toad species. Back to the topic at hand, what pet toads eat is somewhat different from what wild toads eat because pet toads have somewhat gotten used to eating what they are normally given in captivity.

The foods pet toads are normally given in captivity aka the foods they prefer to eat include insects, worms, and crickets. They also eat lizards. The pet toad diet is somewhat different from the wild toad diet in the sense that pet toads normally don’t eat bigger foods such as mice, snakes, and other frogs/ toads. They normally don’t eat such foods but they definitely can.

The pet toad diet is also somewhat different from the wild toad diet in the sense that pet toads can eat some fruits and veggies. Again, they can eat such foods because generations of them have been fed with such foods in captivity.

However, while pet toads can eat some fruits and veggies, you should strive to give them a variety of live prey to eat every day. Remember, you actually do not need to catch the live prey yourself. There are many stores online that sell toad food at very affordable prices. Most brick and mortar pet stores worth their salt also sell a variety of toad food.

To make sure your pet toad is very healthy, you should garnish their live pet food with vitamin and calcium. This is because crickets, worms, and other toad foods bred and sold in pet stores are usually not as nutritious as wild crickets and worms. Therefore, garnishing your pet toad food with vitamin and calcium ensures your toad gets the nutrients they need for health and wellbeing. Calcium is very good for bones. It will make sure your toad has strong bones, while vitamins will take care of your pet’s health and wellbeing. 

In addition to food, calcium, and vitamins, pet toads need type B ultraviolet (UVB) light from the sun to metabolize certain macronutrients and micronutrients. Therefore, Ii your terrarium is not exposed to direct sunlight, you should buy a UVB light to give your toad the light it needs for health and survival. If you get the light, remember to switch it off at night to avoid disorienting your pet friend.

Do Pet Toads Eat Other Toads?

Yes, they do. Pet toads eat other toads. They might not be used to eat and they might be a bit shy at first but they do it other toads. Especially if the other toads are small. Pet toads also eat small frogs. 

Why do toads eat smaller toads or frogs yet they are kind of the same? Because toads are animals. Carnivorous animals to be precise. They have driven by their survival instincts. When they see a small frog, they do not see a member of the larger toad or frog family. They see DINNER! In other words, a toad will eat another toad the moment it feels hungry.

So toads eat other toads for food. However, I believe it is important to mention that not all pet toad species are cannibalistic. Some actually do not eat other toads. The species that like eating other species include the cane and American toads. 

How Frequently Do Pet Toads Need To Eat?

Pet toads need to eat relatively frequently. Juvenile pet toads need to eat daily. So if you are planning to get a juvenile pet toad, you should be prepared to feed them daily.

Adult pet toads do not need to eat daily. A good meal is enough for about two days. Therefore, if you are planning to get an adult toad, you should be prepared to feed them every other day. 

In addition to the above information, please keep in mind that the meal you feed your toady friend should be proportional to its body size. For example, do not give a juvenile toad mice to eat. You should give it something smaller than it e.g. a cricket to eat.  If you give your toad a live prey that is bigger than it, it will not eat it. It will not even go close to it.

When Should Pet Toads Be Fed?

Pet toads do not need breakfast, lunch, and supper like human beings. However, they need some consistency. In other words, you should feed your toad at approximately the same time every day or every other day. Creating a routine will help your toad to know when to expect food.

If you are inconsistent, your toad could get stressed or could develop unhealthy eating habits that could affect its health.

Moreover, by being consistent, it becomes near impossible that you will forget feeding your toad.

How Long Can Pet Toads Survive Without Eating?

As I mentioned in the section above, adult toads do not need to eat daily. They can be fed every other day and they will still be very healthy. This is because they can eat a lot of food at a go and it can take them some time to digest it and get it out of their systems. This is what allows them to stay for a bit without food or without being fed.

Experienced toad keepers suggest never leaving an adult toad without food for more than 48 hours. So if you know you are going to be away from your house for longer than two days, you should arrange for someone to feed your toad with the right food and in the right way.

Otherwise, your toad will be severely affected by hunger.

While adult toads do not need to eat daily, juvenile toads need to eat daily. This is because of two reasons. First, they are in a stage where they are growing rapidly so they instinctively need to eat a lot of food. Second, they cannot eat a lot of food at a go like adult toads so they need to eat small prey frequently.

A juvenile frog that does not have food to eat daily will be severely affected by hunger.

With the above information in mind, here is one more thing you need to know about toads – they are a hardy species. By this I mean while they will be severely affected by hunger if they are not fed daily or frequently, they can survive up to 14 days without eating. Imagine that!

However, if you buy a pet toad, you should make sure it does not go for more than 2 days without food. Otherwise, you will be an irresponsible pet owner.

When toads hibernate they can survive even longer without eating.

How Do Adult Toads Eat?

Told eats in a very interesting manner. As stated earlier, they do not know how to hunt. They just time their prey and wait for them patiently. When the prey moves within distance, they shoot their long tongues to catch the prey. Their tongues are usually sticky so insects and other prey can’t get away once they are caught.

Once toads catch prey, they retract or withdraw their tongues quickly and swallow their prey whole in the process. They do not chew caught food. So the live prey toads eat are almost always alive when they get to the digestive system.

In the digestive system, they get slowly digested with chemicals. How toads digest food is completely different from how we digest foods. While digestion in humans is often pretty quick, toads can take days to digest significant amounts of food. 

Final Word

Toads are carnivorous animals. They eat just about anything that can fit their mouths. They like eating live prey such as insects, worms, lizards, and so on when they are in the wild. Pet toads also like eating live prey. However, they do not mind eating boiled fruits and vegetables every now and then. Toads usually hide and time their prey. They are not true hunters. However, they have long tongues to reach out and grab live prey. They also have big jaws to swallow relatively big prey in a gulp. 

If you have bought or you want to buy a pet toad, you should remember to feed them with a variety of foods to make sure their diet is balanced. You should also remember to sprinkle calcium and vitamins on their foods to make sure they get calcium for strong bones and vitamins for good health. UVB is also important. Buy a UVB light to make sure your toad can digest and use all the nutrients they get.

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