Toad Eating Worm

What Do Toads Eat?

Author: John Wellington

Updated: December 21, 2018

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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.

  • Crickets
  • Flies
  • Worms
  • Spiders
  • Grubs
  • Slugs
  • Snails

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.

Toad Tadpoles

Most tadpoles, including those from toads, feed on plant matter an algae. Some of them eat the yolk of their egg before they hatch. This is the only stage in which a toad doesn’t prefer to eat live prey. Fast-forward to the point in which they grow legs and their tail begins to disappear is when they turn into carnivores.

Juvenile Toads

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.

Adult Toads

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:

  • Crickets
  • Flies
  • Worms
  • Spiders
  • Grubs
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Mice
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • 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.

Conclusion

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 supplements will help keep them healthy.

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.

27 Questions & Answers

  • Bryan

    I acquired a wild pet toad whom I think is a girl and is a southern toad. I am unsure how much to feed her and how many times a week as I am unsure of her age. She is not very big right now so I’m thinking she is only a couple months to a year. Can I feed her human food some too? And if so what kind?

  • noel

    found a really small toad and i know my mom wont let me keep him i put small small pieces of fruit and im going to see if it eats it what should i do next?

    • John Wellington

      Sorry your mom won’t allow you to keep one! Toads typically eat live prey. I recommend waiting until your mom will let you keep one, then do a bunch of research on how to properly care for the type of frog you’re keeping. Then go out and get one! Best wishes and good luck!

  • Mark

    I have a smallish road that we found last week. I gave him 3 crickets and they were gone in a few hours. I picked up a few more crickets today and put them in his habitat. Do toads know when stop eating? Should I take the remaining crickets out?

    • John Wellington

      Some amphibians stop eating when they’re full. Others, not so much. Toads are prone to over eating so it’s a good idea to monitor their intake. If they’re getting overweight, feed them a few less crickets!

  • Porter Ziglar

    My stepsister found a big toad and 3 small toads and she doesn’t know what to feed them

      • Jordan

        ok question i have 4 baby toads bout month old and ive run out of crickets what can i feed them out of desperation while waiting for crickets?

      • John Wellington

        Wingless fruit flies is the best option I can think of. Also, you could try small pieces of worms.

      • Vincent

        I have a toad that has bumps on his body and he is grey and blackish.

  • Bella

    My daughter found a smaller American toad a few days ago. First, we tried meal worms from petco , but the toad would not eat. So next I got a small earth worm and a good size grub. He ate those right up. The following day we couldn’t find any. We went back to the pet store and were able to find red wrigglers. They look a lot like earthworms, but skinnier…. were waiting for toad to eat. If toad doesn’t eat… is it because toad only wants outside wild insects??

    • John Wellington

      They eat a variety of insects in the wild. The large variety helps them stay healthy. I’m not entirely sure why it wouldn’t eat the mealworms. One thing you can do is check your local Walmart’s fishing section for live worms.

  • Shane scroggin

    I recently caught a big toad in my yard and my son wanted to keep him as a pet. So far it’s been going well, but I have a question about his diet. I’ve recently started feeding him wasps that get into the house by slapping them with my hat and putting them in the aquarium before they regain their mobility. He loves to chase them down and eat them, but I was wondering if wasps could hurt him by stinging his insides, or by ingestion of the wasps toxins. I haven’t found any answers online so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • John Wellington

      Wow that’s a great question. I’m not sure to be honest.

      I don’t know a lot about wasps but I bet their sting works similar to a snake or spider (in terms of deliver). They’re venomous – not necessarily poisonous. Venom is injected via a stinger, fangs, etc. Poison is absorbed or consumed.

      Like you said, it’s stinger could be problematic. I’ll try and find some info on this subject as well.

      In the meantime, I’ll tell you that captive frogs almost always require supplements (vitamins and calcium) to remain healthy. This is because they don’t have access to the wide variety of things they would normally eat in the wild.

      “Dusting” live crickets with reptile vitamins and calcium is common practice for toads and frogs in captivity. It’s especially important for their bones.

  • Olyviah

    I have a toad and found him on my Trampoline and his name is Joe Roo Boggsapenny and yeah.

  • Sophia

    Thank u for the info I needed to no what to feed my new juvenile toad named rascal,he’s so small

  • Corey

    Are there any insects..poisonous or predatory or otherwise toward toads? Are there insects he should never eat?

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