It’s important to give your pets the proper food, and toads are no exception. Toads have a specific diet that they need to adhere to so they can stay healthy. But if you’re a first-time toad owner, you might not know the in’s and out’s of what to feed them.
Luckily, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about what toads eat. Not only will this guide tell you what the best diet for a pet toad is, but it will also break down some foods you need to avoid at all costs.
What Is a Toad?
So what is a toad? Toad is the name given to several different species of frogs. They are characterized by their shorter back legs and their rough and bumpy skin.
Contrary to popular belief, toads aren’t separate animals from frogs. Instead, they’re more of a subcategory of frogs. Think of them as squares and rectangles – all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads.
Toads are found worldwide and have many different species with various dietary preferences. The most common toad in the USA is the fittingly named American Toad, while other well-known species include the Great Plains Toad and the Western Toad.
Toads are also popular pets, particularly species like the Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (and the American Toad again).
So if you’re looking after a pet toad, or want to know what foods wild toads will eat, this is the guide for you!
What Do Toads Eat In The Wild?
To help you figure out what you should feed a pet toad, you should know what they eat in the wild.
When left to hunt for themselves, toads will try to eat pretty much anything and everything that moves. They also have massive appetites, so will eat whatever they can catch.
After toads complete their metamorphosis, they become carnivorous. Most of the time a wild toad’s diet will consist of insects, although larger species may set their sights on larger prey.
While there are some variations between species, wild toads will eat insects such as crickets, locusts, worms, grubs, and spiders. Larger toads will also eat small lizards, small fish, rodents like mice, and even other amphibians.
Because toads aren’t really picky, the only foods they will avoid (apart from a few exceptions) are prey that can put up a fight. This usually comes down to size, as larger prey is dangerous to fight and harder to eat. Toads might also avoid certain insects with hard or sharp exoskeletons because the food they provide isn’t worth the pain while eating.
What Should You Feed Your Toad?
If you have a pet toad of your own, it’s important to make sure you’re feeding them the appropriate foods, as well as the right amount of food. Giving your toad a healthy diet will make sure they live a long and happy life.
You should aim to feed your toad similar foods to what they would have in the wild. This means mostly insects, with some variation based on your toad’s species and size.
If you have a more active toad who prefers to ‘hunt’ its food, crickets and grasshoppers are great for live feedings. If you drop the bugs in front of your toad or hold them near it with tweezers, it will be able to have more of a chase and movement during feeding.
Toads also enjoy worms as a yummy treat. Toads like several types of worms, but mealworms, super worms, and earthworms provide the most nutrition. Slugs are also a good option, as long as they aren’t too big for the toad to eat.
If you have a larger toad or a big species, you may be able to feed them bigger food and vertebrates. These can be fish such as guppies and minnows, or even small mammals like mice. Some toads also eat lizards, though you should make sure that the lizard is edible and won’t harm the toad.
Smaller and younger toads will need less food and should be given smaller prey as well. Until your toad is large enough to eat crickets or worms, try feeding them flies or ants. These will give your toad the nutrition they need without being a choking risk.
Younger frogs need to eat more often and should be fed daily. While they are juveniles, your toad should eat a wide variety of different foods. Aim to feed juvenile toads 4 small insects (fruit flies, ants, etc.) or 6 mealworms a day.
When your toad is a mature adult, you only need to feed them 2 or 3 times a week. However, their meals need to be bigger to sustain their larger bodies. An adult toad should eat 6 large insects (crickets, locusts, earthworms, or super worms) with a few days between each. If your toad eats mice or fish, they should only be given one or two per feeding, depending on their size.
Some toads have a specific diet they need to follow. For instance, the Oriental Fire-bellied Toad only eats insects and should avoid mealworms, which they find difficult to digest. Your toad may also need vitamin and mineral supplements, like calcium. Make sure you read up about a toad’s species before getting one as a pet.
Remember, overfeeding is more common than underfeeding. If your toad looks bloated or overweight, you might need to cut down on its portion size.
Foods To Avoid
Although toads aren’t the pickiest eaters, there are some foods they need to avoid at all costs.
Never feed your toad insects or animals you catch from outside. Insects could be carrying harmful pesticides, while wild mice could harbor parasites or have poison in their systems. You should get your toad’s food from a pet store to make sure it’s safe for them to eat.
While some toads can eat vertebrates, make sure that your toad is big enough. Not only do they need to be the right size, but the toad also needs to be able to digest bone and fur. This means that some species of toad can’t eat mice or fish even if they’re the right size.
Avoid feeding your toad anything too big for it. This doesn’t just mean it needs to be small enough to swallow – some larger insects and spiders can put up a fight and hurt your toad. Small toads are also at risk of being hurt by a mouse’s claws, particularly around their eyes.
Making sure that your toad has the correct diet will keep it happy and healthy. If you still aren’t sure about your toad’s diet, you can ask a vet or pet store for more advice. And by looking after your toad properly, you’ll have a great pet for years to come.