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Can Frogs Eat Fruits?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be something you heard throughout your life. Fruit is effectively considered a healthy food choice for humans. So how about frogs: Can frogs eat fruit? 

Frogs can not eat fruit because they are obligate carnivores. Frogs must eat live animal-based prey in order to obtain the nutrients they need. Although young tadpoles are herbivores, they should not be fed fruit either due to the high fructose contents.

So it’s not because fruit is healthy for us that it is also healthy for frogs. That is something a lot of websites have made the wrong assumption about, especially when recommending what to feed pet frogs. We want to set things straight: frogs should not be fed fruit.

Let’s have a closer look at why frogs can not eat fruit, what type of foods frogs can safely eat, as well as what foods young tadpoles can eat as herbivores.

Why Can’t Frogs Eat Fruit?

Frogs should not be fed fruit because they are obligate carnivores and 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.

Once frogs reach the adult stage of their metamorphosis, they are obligate carnivores. This means that frogs need to eat animal-based prey in order to survive. 

Although a frog on berries is cute, frogs do not eat berries

Many frog species are ambush predators, so they look around them for movement while hunting. If a frog sees prey that is smaller than their mouth, that is alive, moving, and unaware of their presence, the frog will probably consume it.  

In the wild, frogs generally do not eat prey that is not moving or is dead unless they are starving. You can certainly imagine that fruit does not move, is much bigger than most frogs’ mouths, and therefore they will not naturally consume fruit in the wild.

If you feed fruit to a frog and it eats it, the frog is probably unhealthy, starving, and may suffer illness due to the sugar contents or pesticides present on unwashed fruit.

Here’s a table laying out what frog can and cannot eat when it comes to fruit:

What Do Frogs Eat?TadpolesFrogs

You may have noticed that we put “no” for every type of fruit that you may want to feed to a frog.  

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

Fructose is a type of sugar contained in fruit and honey. Although some tree frog species like Wood Frogs naturally produce glucose (a type of sugar) for hibernation in order to survive the winter, consuming sugary foods is not part of frogs’ natural habits. 

Although a few very rare frog species eat fruit because of their need to adapt to harsh environments, of the 7,500 known frog species around the world, the vast majority are obligate carnivores.

Now that you know why frogs can not consume fruit, let’s have a look at what frogs can safely eat. 

What Can Frogs Eat?

Frogs can eat live animal-based prey including worms, ants, flies, grubs, and larvae. Larger adult frog species also feed on larger prey including small birds, bats, snakes, lizards, and other frogs. 

Frogs are obligate carnivores at the froglet and adult stages of their development, meaning they need to consume animal-based foods. This sometimes confuses people who think that frogs can eat the same meat-based foods we do.

Meats Frogs Do Not Eat

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Although frogs are obligate carnivores; they cannot consume the same meat as humans. Frogs cannot eat chicken, beef, turkey, pork, raw meat, cooked meat, ham, lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, or other types of processed meats. Frogs only eat live prey.

The types of animal-based foods that frogs can eat include a wide variety of insects, birds, and lizards depending on the size of the frog

Here is a short table of things that frogs can eat:

What Do Frogs Eat?Mature TadpolesLarge Frogs
Baby FrogsYesYes
Small WormsYesYes
Frog EggsYesYes
Small BatsNoYes
Small BirdsNoYes
Small SnakesNoYes

Mature tadpoles and frogs and small frog species can safely consume Aunt aphids, small worms, flies, and other insects. Larger frog species may also consume smaller frogs, bats, birds, mice, and small snakes. 

What Do Frogs Eat? [You Will Never Guess!] 🐍

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At the beginning of this article we said that young tadpoles are herbivores. Let’s have a closer look at why these tadpoles cannot eat fruit even if they eat plant-based foods, and what these tadpoles can safely consume. 

See the complete list of what frogs can eat on our blog 

What Can Tadpoles Eat?

Tadpoles that are approximately 3 days to 6 weeks old are herbivores. At this stage they generally do not have any legs, and feed on algae phytoplankton, another decaying vegetation naturally found in their environment. 

When kept in captivity, young tadpoles can eat algae, boiled broccoli, cucumber skins, lettuce, leeks, cabbage, watercress, spinach, kale, zucchini, duckweed, phytoplankton, detritus, frog eggs, fish eggs, tadpoles, dragonfly eggs, egg yolk, dragonfly larvae, aphids, and ants.

Here are some examples of things that young tadpoles can consume in captivity:

Food ItemYoung TadpolesAdult Frogs
Collard GreensYesNo
Cucumber SkinsYesNo
Egg YolkYesNo

Calcium is needed for successful tadpole development. However, too much oxalate or oxalic acid found in some of these vegetables, notably spinach, has been found to lead to renal tubular necrosis and death (Forzán et al., 2014). 

Therefore, just like for humans, a varied and balanced diet is essential for healthy tadpole development. Be sure to feed them one or more different greens (mixed together), and different foods on different days of the week for better chances of successful development (CTNF).

Tadpoles begin to develop legs around 6 weeks and at that point they are are omnivores, meaning they consumed both plant-based foods and animal-based foods.  However once tadpoles reach maturity and become froglets they are obligate carnivores as discussed above.

So don’t feed frogs or their tadpoles fruit. And remember that there is no need to feed wild frogs, toads, or their tadpoles, they will find what they need in their environment.

See the complete list of what tadpoles can 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.