Will Frogs Eat Dead Bugs?

I love to watch frogs eat but I have never seen a frog eat a dead bug, and I can explain why. 

Healthy frogs will not eat dead bugs because they are hunters that instinctively search for movement, whereas dead bugs are not moving and could carry diseases. Some frogs may eat dead bugs, but only if they are starving.

Healthy frogs in the wild and pet frogs will not eat dead bugs unless they are very hungry or starving. And even if they are starving, they may not eat dead worms or flies because of their instinct is to hunt live, moving food, and avoid dead, lifeless food.

Frogs Are Hunters Searching For Movement

Frogs naturally and instinctively are attracted to movement while hunting for food. Frogs will generally pass by any dead bugs while hunting for food because they are not moving. Frogs may also be fooled by bugs playing dead.

The hunt is one of my favorite parts of watching frogs eat in the wild. I have seen frogs pretend they are dead before eating a bug that suspected their presence. I have also seen frogs wait over half an hour to eat a caterpillar that played dead knowing the frog was a predator. 

Many insects instinctively use playing dead as a way to avoid predators, including frogs. And frogs may be fooled by bugs pretending to be lifeless to avoid being eaten. Frogs may sometimes fail to recognize a live bug as food, seeing nothing more than inanimate object that it cannot eat. 

I saw this bug playing dead, it fooled the toad, but it was too big for the toad anyway

The way frogs hunt truly fascinates me. I love the way they tilt their head toward the food to make one of two crucial decisions: “Can I eat this?” or “Can this eat me?” The frog then makes one of two decisions: Flee or Eat. Frogs often attempt to eat whatever is moving and can fit in their mouth but will flee predators.

One of the main parts of how frogs eat is the hunt. Some frogs are scavenger hunters that go out looking for food, hunting it down and eating it. But many frogs just sit and wait for their food to come to them. This is especially true for toads that can be pretty lazy hunters. They often employ a sit-and-wait technique and ambush the food that passes by.

Frogs Eat Whole And Live Food

As a natural part of what frogs eat and how frogs eat, they are looking for something that is moving and can fit in their mouth.

Frogs generally spot their prey, lick it up with their long sticky tongue, and then swallow it whole and alive. Frogs use their eyes to push prey down into their stomach where it generally dies. The prey is then fully digested and excreted. 

I saw this toad spot the movement of its prey. It tilted its head towards it, ready to ambush the bug.

Some people fail to realize that frogs eat live prey and think that having an indoor pet frog is a cheap and easy feat. But having a pet frog can be expensive and time-consuming

If you have an indoor pet frog, you should not feed it dead bugs or pellets. Frogs do not naturally eat dead bugs unless they are starving, and so feeding them lifeless prey is inhumane. Frogs are obligate carnivores that require live, diverse, and gut-feed food to get all the nutrients they need.

If you were not expecting to have to feed your frog live food, do it a favor and bring it back to the pet store. Do not release store-bought frogs back into the wild because this can transmit diseases and cause problems to local fauna and flora.

Frogs May Eat Dead Bugs If They Are Starving

The only case in which a frog may be tempted to eat a dead bug is if they are starving. Some people eat roadkill, but most people find it disgusting. If you were starving for days and had nothing else to eat, would you eat roadkill? Maybe. The same goes for frogs.

Dead bugs are not moving, could carry disease, and are generally unappealing to frogs. Since healthy frogs are instinctively searching for live food and movement, they will generally pass by a dead bug or a lifeless potential food item without giving it a second thought.

Similar to humans avoiding eating roadkill in most cases, frogs will generally avoid eating dead bugs unless they are starving and at a loss to find other suitable sources of nourishment (CTNF).

More About What Frogs Eat

Frogs generally eat live prey that can fit inside their mouth. We have many guides on our blog about what and how frogs eat. Learn more by clicking on the links below:

Common Questions About Frogs Eating Dead Bugs

Will frogs eat dead crickets? Frogs will only eat dead crickets if they are starving and unhealthy. Frogs are obligate carnivores that require live, diverse, and gut-feed prey to get all the nutrients they need. If you were not expecting to have to feed your frog live food, do it a favor and bring it back to the pet store.

Can you feed dead crickets to frogs? Frogs should not be fed dead crickets because they are obligate carnivores that require live, diverse, and gut-feed prey to get all the nutrients they need. If you were not expecting to have to feed your frog live food, do it a favor and bring it back to the pet store.

Will frogs eat dead insects?  Frogs will only eat dead insects if they are starving and unhealthy. Frogs are obligate carnivores that require live, diverse, and gut-feed prey to get all the nutrients they need. If you were not expecting to have to feed your frog live food, do it a favor and bring it back to the pet store.

Will Gray tree frogs eat dead crickets? Gray Tree frogs should not be fed dead crickets because they are obligate carnivores that require live, diverse, and gut-feed prey to get all the nutrients they need. If you were not expecting to have to feed your frog live food, do it a favor and bring it back to the pet store.

Do frogs eat live crickets? Frogs will gladly eat live crickets and if you are feeding a pet frog, gut-feeding the crickets and sprinkling them with Calcium and Vitamin D3+ before feeding them to your frog can help your frog get more of the nutrients they need.