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Are Frogs Herbivores? The Truth.

I came across so many blog posts affirming that frogs exclusively eat fruits, vegetables, and plants which would make frogs herbivores. But you have probably seen a frog eat a bug, and bugs do not come from plants. So here is the truth about what frogs eat.

Frogs are not herbivores or omnivores once they pass the froglet stage of their metamorphosis. Frogs are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet based on animal-based foods (meats) in order to survive. 

Why are those blogs saying frogs are herbivores? Most of them probably outsource their writing to people who know nothing about frogs and don’t really care to be honest. It is a frustrating situation in my eyes, because exclusively feeding frogs plant-based foods can make unknowing readers cause unnecessary frog deaths.

Luckily, I know what I am talking about. So let’s uncover the truth about what frogs eat to hopefully avoid endangering more frogs.

Frogs Do Not Eat Fruit

Frogs should not be fed fruit because fruits contain high levels of fructose (sugar) which can be detrimental to frog health. Frogs need to eat live animal-based prey in order to obtain the nutrients they need to survive.

Frogs cannot eat apples, bananas, berries, blueberries, oranges, peaches, raisins, strawberries, watermelon, or other fruits because fruits contain high levels of fructose (sugar) which is not a part of a frog’s natural diet.

Do Frogs Eat Fruit?Small FrogLarge Frog

Out of over 7,500 different frog species, the Izecksohn’s Brazilian Tree Frog is the only known frugivorous frog in the world. This frog species does not have access to animal-based foods all year round and needs to adapt to its environment in order to survive. That is the main reason why it consumes small berries during part of the year making it an omnivore.

However, the Izecksohn’s Brazilian Tree Frog is an extreme exception. There are no known vegetarian frogs and the vast majority of frogs species are obligate carnivores at the froglet and adult stages of their development.

Frogs require live food in order to obtain the nutrients they need to successfully develop and survive

Learn more about why frogs do not eat fruit on our blog

However, some blogs are saying that frogs eat vegetables. Let’s have a closer look at this theory. 

Frogs Do Not Eat Vegetables

Frogs should not be fed vegetables because frogs require live, moving, meat-based prey in order to obtain the nutrients they need in their diets.

Frogs cannot eat algae, avocado, carrots, cucumber, spinach, garlic, grass, leaves, lettuce, mushrooms, pickles, plants, tomatoes or other vegetables because frogs are carnivores.

Do Frogs Eat VegetablesSmall FrogLarge Frog

Frogs eat live food that can fit into their mouth and that they can swallow. Most frog species only have teeth to hold back prey, not to chew.

Therefore, frogs rely on eating small prey that they can safely swallow.

Vegetables are generally much larger than frogs and are immobile objects. The vast majority of frog species could not lick up an entire vegetable, swallow, and safely digest it. Frogs do not have teeth made to nibble at grass or other plant-based foods.

Therefore frogs do not naturally consume vegetables in the wild. 

I even came across some blog posts saying that frogs can eat human food. Let’s have a closer look at this theory. 

Frogs Do Not Eat Human Food

The only foods that frogs and humans can consume in common are live ants, larvae, grubs, crickets, certain snakes, and other frogs. Frogs are obligate carnivores that eat live food, and since humans mostly cook their food, frogs do not eat the same things as most humans. 

Most of the foods that humans consume are cooked, especially when it comes to animal based flesh and meat. Frogs do not cook their food. Therefore, the majority of the meats that humans consume are not the same as frogs. 

Illustration of what frogs can and cannot eat

Some people think it’s safe to feed frogs highly processed foods that humans and their pets consume such as hot dogs or fish food.

Highly processed foods including hotdogs, bacon, bread, hoagies, rolly pollies, lunch meat, ice cream, peanut butter, pizza, and other salty, sugary, highly processed foods do not contain the nutrients frogs need to survive. 

Do Frogs Human FoodSmall FrogLarge Frog
Rolly PolliesNoNo
Ice CreamNoNo
Peanut ButterNoNo

If you feed frogs human food and it eats it, the frog is probably unhealthy or starving, and may suffer illness, malnutrition, stunted growth, increased cannibalism, or death.

Learn more about why frogs do not eat human food on our blog

Frogs Are Obligate Carnivores

Froglets and adult frogs are obligate carnivores meaning they require animal-based foods in their diet. Frogs consume live meat-based prey including spiders, ants, mosquitoes, and worms for smaller frogs, as well as mice, bats, birds and lizards for larger frogs.

Meats Frogs Do Not Eat

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Here is a table containing more information on what frogs can safely eat when it comes to meat-based foods. Keep in mind that all of these foods should be alive:

Meat-Based FoodSmall FrogsLarge Frogs
Hot DogNoNo
Lunch MeatNoNo

Frogs do not consume dead insects or prey unless they are in a dire situation or starving. 

Learn more about why frogs are obligate carnivores on our blog

Frog Tadpoles Are Different 

As a general rule, tadpoles are herbivores from 0 to 6 weeks and are omnivores after 6 weeks until they become froglets. Wild tadpoles generally eat algae, moss, and phytoplankton, but they can eat boiled lettuce, spinach, and broccoli in captivity.

Tadpoles are effectively different from froglets and adult frogs in a sense that they are herbivores during the early stages of development, and omnivores during the second stage of their tadpole development.

Illustration of what tadpoles can eat

Here are some things that tadpoles can safely consume during their development:

Food ItemTadpolesAdult Frogs
Collard GreensYesNo
Cucumber SkinsYesNo
Egg YolkYesNo
Fish EggsYesYes

However once tadpoles are fully developed into froglets they are no longer herbivores or omnivores and will only consume animal-based foods for the rest of their lives (CTNF).

Learn more about what tadpoles eat on our blog

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.