Toad Eating Worm

What Do Toads Eat?

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 guide 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.

Toads and Frogs are of the same Order; Anura. While there are some differences, they largely eat the same diet. For more reading, check out our post on what frogs eat.

Join our Newsletter!

Get occasional frog-related updates delivered straight to your inbox!


We take your privacy seriously! No spam, we promise. See our Privacy Policy

47 Comments

  • I have a toad in my courtyard.
    It cannot get out. I have constructed a small pond like area for it as well as a cozy toad abode, and access to sun and shade and tree roots for digging down in. I have a garden full of plants and do also have worms and ants and currently midges or gnats. Is that enough to keep it happy and healthy?

    Reply
    • I would imagine so. It’s an open courtyard, yes? If so, there should be a number of wild insects in the area to keep the toad healthy!

      Reply
  • My tadpoles will soon mature into toads and I have been wondering if it will bo good to feed them ants and termites

    Reply
    • Hey, Kim! Wingless fruit flies or pinhead crickets are two popular options and you don’t have to worry about them.

      Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
    • 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!

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

    Reply
      • I found a toad in my backyard and loves my Jacuzzi…I found his home underneath a cement slab that my water pump is placed on…he gives me the goose bumps when I take out my jacuzzi and don’t know what to do with it…I tried to catch it but got away.

      • Hey Maria! If he’s bothering you, I recommend getting a small net. That should help you catch him. You can relocate him somewhere out of your yard and maybe he/she won’t come back lol.

  • I’m a teen,and me and my little brother caught a toad is small and fits in one Palm,I’ve feed it ants and a beetle it at the ants quick but the beetle has been there for a couple hours…I thought it might be full but I only gave it about 6 ants…but they were larger…And I have a piece of raw chicken dangling on a string in the cage George ( toad) will nip at it but not eat it… Do you have any other explanations/advice? And do frogs eat rice? If so what kind cooked,raw,jasmine,ect

    Reply
  • Is it possible for a toad to get tooo much calcium?… I mean if a toad is eating only wild outdoor bugs just fine, would dusting in calcium be needed ? And not getting sunlight… matters?.. Would that shorten his life span.. ? Or can he become ill.?

    Reply
  • I have a toad that won’t eat crickets, and I ordered meal worms but they won’t arrive for a while. I need to feed him, should I give him fruits and vegetables? And if so, what kinds?

    Reply
    • It’s rare to get toads to eat fruits or vegetables. Should you try, make sure they’re chopped into small pieces. Small enough for the toad to eat. I’m not sure why he/she won’t eat live crickets. Live crickets or meal worms are one of the best options. They most likely won’t eat dead bugs either.

      Reply
  • I recently got a small toad, but not super tiny. How often should I feed her, and what size should the mealworms be?

    Reply
  • hay i got a big toad i found it on my porch stair dont know wht it is

    Reply
  • Recently, my kids brought home a toad, and I’m not sure how old he is, or what kind he is

    Reply
    • You could probably narrow it down to a handful of different species based on where you live in the world.

      Reply
  • I have a small toad that’s red and I don’t know what to feed it

    Reply
      • 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?

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

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

  • 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??

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • Is it possible for a toad to get tooo much calcium?… I mean if a toad is eating only wild outdoor bugs just fine, would dusting in calcium be needed ? And not getting sunlight… matters?.. Would that shorten his life span.. ? Or can he become ill.?

      • That’s a good question. It’s a topic that doesn’t have a lot of accurate information. I’ve read studies about reptiles eating crickets dusted with calcium powder and also being exposed to UVB lights. The outcome was interesting. The reptile exposed to more D3/calcium actually ate fewer crickets. This suggested that the test subjects that weren’t getting as much calcium were trying to make up for it by eating more crickets. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful but I hope this helps.

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

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

    Reply
      • Me and my grandparents found two toads in the basment shower and they have been with them for about two months and one recently dissapered. We’re pretty sure they are girl and boy what do you think happend to the one that vanished? and also the one here is not scared of us any more should we let it go hibernate or can it survive in the house? if so what do we feed it?

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

    Reply
      • Hi I caught a toad yesterday and it is smallish I keep it out Side and me and my sister found that king George (toad) has a hurt hand and it was bleeding question: Will it die?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *