What Do Toads Eat? (And What Surely Not)

What Do Toads Eat? (And What Surely Not)

A stereotypical diet for toads consists of crickets. This is what we see in the pet store and is also what we learn from a young age. But is that really so? When someone asked me what do toads eat? I first thought about crickets. But when I did some more research, I found out that is was much more than that and in fact interesting to know what they actually eat. Below is what I found about the diet of a toad.

So, What do toads eat? What a toad eats depends on the species. Generally speaking, Toads eat crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and super worms. This is a basic diet that will do for most toads. Don’t take this is as a be all end all kind of thing. Toads need a balanced diet.

When you have a toad, know that choosing the right food is just step one because there’s a lot more that goes into the dietary needs of your toad.

What do Toads Eat

Toads are very closely related to frogs and this is not only shown in how they look, but also in their dietary needs. Toads are carnivores so they do enjoy eating live prey. But what kind of prey are we talking about here? Below you’ll find a list with all the things that toads eat.

Fun fact: It is almost anything that he can fit inside his mouth!

Here is a list of what toads eat:

  • Crickets
  • Flies
  • Worms
  • Spiders
  • Grubs
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Mice
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Small Fish
  • Other toads and frogs

The last one is maybe a bit shocking… But yes toads do sometimes eat other toads! Further on in this article, I will explain why they eat other toads and frogs.

What Do You Feed a Wild Toad?

Wild toads live all over the world. This means that they also have many different habitats. Since they have such different habitats, their diets differ from one another. Most commonly, toads will eat larger insects and larvae as an adult. When they are young they try to feed themselves on flies and ants.

Fun fact: When a toad is really large, it can even eat small mice and lizards. All of the things he eats are swallowed whole and this is due to the fact that a toad doesn’t have any teeth in their lower jaws and cannot chew.

What Do Toads Eat In Captivity?

In captivity, toads will eat almost the same kind of food as they would do in the wild. When you would give something from the list above they will eat it. But, when people have toads as pets, they mainly give them crickets or worms to eat. Not because this is the best thing to give but rather because that are the only foods that are readily available. You can, however, buy some baby mice, or catch some insects yourself to feed your toad if you want to give it some variety.

What is the best thing to give to your toad in captivity?
I think I would personally give live crickets to it. Live crickets are readily available and low in cost. Besides that, they are very healthy for your toad.

Now when you do this you have to keep in mind that frogs that are raised by pet stores (in captivity) do not contain as many nutrients as crickets do in the wild. This is why you should need to gut load the crickets before you feed your toad.

Another thing that is good to know is the fact that you should probably dust the crickets with calcium and vitamins supplements. This is due to the fact that toads do not get as much UVB from the sun as they would get in the wild. UVB plays a very important role in how they metabolize vitamins and calcium and therefore you need to help your pet frog a little. Do this and your pet toad will be very happy and healthy!

How Often Do You Feed Your Toad?

How often you feed your toad depends on your toads’ age. When you have a juvenile toad, you should feed him every day. If you have an adult toad you should try to feed him about three times a week. But there are some things to keep in mind when feeding your pet toad no matter his age.

  1. Give your toad food that has the appropriate size. The right size is something the same size as a cricket.
  2. Try to give 4 to 6 items of food when feeding your toad.
  3. Your toad will recognize when you feed it so try to be as consistent as possible. This means that you should aim to feed your toad at the same time every time you feed it.

What Human Food Do Toads Eat?

Some people will say that toads can eat human food like vegetables and fruits but they are wrong! They state that if you give your toad the appropriately sized pieces, they will eat it and enjoy it. Again they are wrong! Do not feed your pet toad veggies and fruits. Both frogs and toads do not eat plant matter. They don’t have the right digestive system to be able to digest these kinds of food.

Also, do not give them processed meat that we would eat because of the same reason. If you want to give your toad more nutrients you can try to feed your live crickets some fruit so they would absorb the nutrients. When eventually you feed the crickets to your toad, it can absorb the nutrients from the cricket.

How Do Toads Eat?

There is something quite interesting in the way that toads eat (I think). Here is what they would normally do:

A toad, when seeing his prey, will normally patiently wait for it to move before eating it. When they wait, they carefully examine the prey and wait for the perfect moment to try to catch it. When he sees the moment to go for, he flicks out his long sticky tongue and sticks their prey. Then the tongue retracts at the same speed as it was going outward and the food goes down in one gulp.

The prey he just ate is still very much alive and once inside slowly processed by the digestive system. Their digestive system is designed in a way that it can also handle the parts that are indigestible.

If you want to see a great video of how a toad eats his prey, you can look at the video below.

How Long Can Toads Go Without Eating?

How long a toad can go without eating is dependent on a couple of factors. You have to look at the weight of the toad, age (juveniles need food available to them at all times), type of toad…

Personally, I have never left my toad without food for more than 3 days. If I’m away longer I make sure someone is going to feed it. But maybe I’m a bit too protective ;). But I also read that toads can go up to 2 weeks without eating. I think it all depends on several factors and you need to keep an eye out for your toad. If he looks healthy, has a healthy weight and acts normal, I think you’re okay.

It also depends on whether toads are getting ready to hibernate. Do you want to know more about hibernating and their dietary needs? Read my article about hibernating toads here.

What Do Toad Tadpoles And Juveniles Eat

Toad tadpoles are a bit different in what they eat than full-grown adult toads. I earlier said that toads don’t eat veggies and fruits. Now, this is true for adult toads but it isn’t true for toad tadpoles. Toad tadpoles eat vegetation. At first, they will start out by only eating things that are tender like half-rotten plants for example.

What Do Toads Eat In The Garden?

I love seeing toads and frogs around in my garden! I even have made a special place for them where they can find lots of foods while they also serve my garden by eating garden pests. But, that was not the question…

You now know that toads aren’t very strict when eating. They eat almost anything that can fit into their mouth. On top of the list I gave earlier, they also eat flies, frogs, slugs, snails, spiders and even more! That is also a reason why you should invite a toad into your garden! They can help with keeping your plants alive and thriving!

Common toad in a garden
Common frog in the garden

When toad tadpoles get a bit older they start to eat plants that were too hard to eat when they were younger. So, when you have toad tadpoles in captivity, you have to begin by feeding them lettuce leaves. But before you do, make sure that you dip the lettuce in boiling water for 2 seconds so that it is soft enough to eat.

The following days you can start giving it some harder vegetables like peas (although you should cut those in half). Also consider giving your tadpoles leeks, celery, carrots. Make sure that these foods are cooked. This way it is easy for the toad tadpoles to eat it. But once they become full grown adult toads, they are carnivores for the rest of their lives.

Why Do Toads Eat Other Toads And Frogs

Now, this title is somewhat misleading because not every toad eats other toads and frogs. But there are some species, the Cane toad and American toad for example that is cannibalistic. For both frog’s it is simple. If it is a smaller toad or frog and it fits in their mouth, they will eat it.

If a Cane toad is hungry it isn’t picky at all about what he eats. Now, this doesn’t mean that every toad is a cannibal. So don’t put above frogs together in a terrarium with a smaller frog or toad. They probably will get eaten.

What Do Toads Drink?

For toads, it is important to stay hydrated. But although they are amphibians, they aren’t as fond of water as frogs are. Toads mostly go near water when it is time to breed. But how do they get water inside their body when they do not like the water so much? First of all, you need to know that toads, just like frogs, don’t drink water but absorb it. So all that is needed is a shallow bowl of water.

But you have to keep in mind that toads are not very good swimmers and that is why you have to make sure that your toad can easily go in and out of the bowl. Change the water daily to prevent bacterial contamination and make sure that the water is dechlorinated.

Related Questions

Do toads lay eggs or give live birth? Toads are just like frogs and so they lay eggs and don’t give live birth. Normally toads lay their eggs in water but there are some species that breed on land. You can find these toads in areas that have a shortage of water and/or where the rivers or streams are too fast. With this, I meant that it is too fast for tadpoles to develop in.

Can I touch a toad? Yes, you can but you have to be very careful and pet them only for a very short time. Toads do seem to enjoy the touch of a human when given in small doses. Note that when a male toad is starting to make noise when you pet it, he’s not making the noise out of excitement from you petting him. He is telling you to let him go!