What Do Toads Eat?
Author: John Wellington
Updated: December 21, 2018
On this page, I’m going to do my best to answer the question “What do toads eat?”. It’s a common question on the popular Q&A websites and I want to provide a helpful resource to anyone looking for this information.
Before we start talking about specific foods, it’s important to know that different species of toads eat different things depending on where in the world they live. Generally speaking, toads eat nearly anything they can fit in their mouth. They’re carnivorous and enjoy eating live prey.
Large toads have an even bigger list of potential foods. Keep reading for more information.
What Toads Eat in the Wild
In this section, I’ll go over the diet of tadpoles, juveniles, and adult toads in greater depth. Keep in mind, this is mostly what toads eat in the wild. If you’re wondering what to feed them in captivity, feel free to skip to the next section.
Most tadpoles, including those from
Throughout their entire juvenile lives, young toads mostly eat small insects. Granted, the toads are very small at this point in their lives but so are the bugs they’re eating. Pinhead crickets are a great meal for juvenile toads as well as small ants and flies.
As young toads grow in size, so does their appetite. As they become adults, toads have even more options when it comes to food. They eat just about anything they can swallow.
Toads are ambush predators; they hide and wait for something to walk in front of them and, using their long tongue, they snatch up unsuspecting prey in the blink of an eye. The length of their tongue varies from species to species, but some of them can reach up to twice their body length or more.
I’ve made a list including all the various types of insects, reptiles, and small mammals that are on the menu for toads found around the world. This is what adult toads eat:
- Small Fish
- Other toads and frogs
Large toads have been known to eat small mammals such as mice. Small lizards and even snakes become fair game, too.
An interesting fact about toads is that they have to swallow their prey whole. Some toads have tiny teeth on their lower jaws but they’re only used to hold on to their food. So, they don’t chew their food – they swallow it whole.
What Toads Eat in Captivity
Toads in captivity will eat all the normal foods they would in the wild if you offer it to them. Most people only feed them crickets and worms in captivity because that’s about all you can buy in (most) pet stores. Otherwise, you can go out and catch the insects, small reptiles, and baby mice yourself. You don’t have to do this. In short, you’ll want to feed them the things you can easily obtain from your local pet store (and maybe your grocery store).
A captive toad will sometimes eat small fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to give them appropriately sized pieces. For example, offering a large grape to a juvenile toad is a bad idea. It’s important to remember that not all toads will happily eat fruits and veggies. They prefer live insects over anything else.
Perhaps the best thing you can feed your captive toad is live crickets. Most pet stores raise crickets for the purpose of feeding reptiles and amphibians. Crickets raised in captivity don’t contain as many nutrients as wild crickets. For this reason, it’s important to gut load the crickets before feeding them to your pet toad. Also, dusting the crickets with a calcium and vitamin supplement is highly recommended.
In captivity, toads don’t have access to their natural habitat which is perfect for them. Part of their lives in the wild involves UVB from the sun. which plays a part in how they metabolize vitamins and calcium. Calcium is important for the bones of your toad and it’s something that can become a health issue if you don’t use supplements. In addition to dusting crickets with calcium and vitamins, a small UVB 2.0 light may prove beneficial for the overall health of your pet. Just remember to turn it off at night.
Toads Eat… Toads?
If you look back to the section with the bullet list of foods toads eat, you may remember seeing “other toads and frogs”. Well, it’s true. Some toads, like cane toads, are cannibalistic. They eat their own kind. Large, full-grown toads sometimes eat smaller toads and frogs. If they’re hungry and it will fit in their mouth, it’s dinner.
That doesn’t mean every toad is a cannibal, only some of them are. Cane toads, as I already mentioned, are one of them.
Toads will eat nearly anything they can fit in their mouths. They prefer live prey over fruits and vegetables but they’ve been known to eat both, especially in captivity. Many true toads, those in the Bufonidae family, burrow into the dirt and wait for their prey to come to them; they’re ambush predators. Their quick reaction time and long tongues help them to reach out and grab their target.
If you’re reading this because you’ve recently acquired a new pet toad, please heed my advice about the supplements! Dusting your toad’s food with calcium and vitamin
If you’re interested in keeping a toad as your pet, I recommend reading this beginner’s guide to keeping frogs and search for a care sheet that tells you all the information you’ll need to take care of a toad. Anyway, I hope this information was helpful to you! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.