Do Frogs Eat Worms?

Frogs love to eat all kinds of worms and feeding wild or pet frogs worms can be a great way to interact with them. But there are some strict rules to follow when it comes to feeding frogs and worms.

As a general rule, all frogs can eat worms including earthworms, mealworms, superworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, nightcrawlers, and bloodworms, as long as worm’s girth is no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes, and the worm length is no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length.

Here are some common types of worms and if frogs can eat them:

Type of WormWild FrogPet Frog
EarthwormYesYes
MealwormYesYes
SuperwormsYesYes
SilkwormsYesYes
HornwormsYesYes
ButterwormsYesYes
WaxwormsYesYes
Red Wigglers YesYes
NightcrawlersYesYes
BloodwormsYesYes
Phoenix WormsYesYes
Freeze Dried Bloodworms NoNo

Freeze-dried bloodworms have a “No” next to wild and pet frogs because they are not live prey. Here is why you should not feed frogs any kind of freeze-dried worms:

Healthy frogs will not eat dead worms because they are hunters that instinctively search for movement, whereas dead or freeze-dried worms are not moving. Some frogs may eat dead bugs, but only if they are starving.

To be super blunt, if feeding a pet frog live food is a problem for you, you should reconsider having a pet frog. Frogs are obligate carnivores and they require live, gut-fed bugs raised in captivity if they are captive frogs.

There are some strict rules to follow when it comes to size and type of worm you want to feed a frog, and some worms are better than others. So here is everything you need to know about what worms frogs should and can eat.

What Size Worm Should You Feed A Frog?

As a general rule, all frogs can eat earthworms, mealworms, superworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, nightcrawlers, and bloodworms, as long as the girth of the worm is no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes and the worm length is no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length.

Rules to follow when feeding frogs worms:

  • Girth is smaller than the distance between the frog’s eyes: If the girth (circumference) of the worm is larger than the distance between the frog’s eyes, the worm is too large for your pet frog to safely eat it.
  • Worm length is up to ⅓ of the frog’s body length: If the worm is longer than ⅓ the frog’s body length, then cut it in half or in thirds depending on how long the worm is.

A frog’s tongue is about a third the length of the frog’s body so cutting the worm to ⅓ your frog’s body length is a safe way to ensure it is not too long for the frog to ingest and digest (CTNF).

If you have already observed frogs in the wild or have accidentally given them food too large, you may not be surprised that frogs will try to eat anything that is moving, even if it is not good for them. Frogs have excellent vision for detecting predators or prey, but are not always the best at making smart food-size choices. 

A toad I spotted that was interested in a caterpillar too large for it to eat

Just have a look at this tiny toad I found scouting out a very large, hairy caterpillar. That bug is clearly too large for the toad, but it gave it a try anyway. The toad thankfully gave up and moved on to smaller prey. Keep in mind that you know better than the frog when it comes to ideal food size, and feeding them prey too large can lead to a bunch of problems.

Feeding a frog food that is too large can lead to:

  • Vomiting: A frog may vomit if they ingest a food item that is too large.
  • Impaction: A form of constipation that can make your frog very sick.
  • Obesity: Overfeeding frogs or feeding them food that is too large too often can lead to obesity which can lead to other illnesses or eventually kill frogs.
  • Rotting Food: If the food is too large it may rot in the frog’s stomach causing gas buildup and deadly bacteria to produce.
  • Death: Impaction, obesity, and rotting food in the frog’s stomach, as well as other diseases linked to feeding frogs food that is too large, can lead to death.

Some Worms Are Better Than Others For Frogs

Frogs can generally eat earthworms, mealworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, and nightcrawlers, however, hornworms and silkworms tend to be the best feeder choices since they are lower in fat and higher in protein compared to other worms.

Some worms are better than others and here are some advantages and disadvantages of feeding frogs different types of worms:

Type of Worm For FrogsAdvantagesDisadvantages
HornwormsFrogs and toads love them Generally a great feeder choice
High in calcium
Silkworms Generally lower in fat and higher in protein compared to other worms
NightcrawlersFrogs and toads love them
They are higher in protein and lower in fat compared to other worms
They are long so you have to cut them
Some people don’t like to do it
Do not use nightcrawlers raised for bait
EarthwormFrogs and toads love them
They are higher in protein and lower in fat compared to other worms
They are long so you have to cut them
Some people don’t like to do it
Do not use earthworms raised for bait
Giant MealwormsFrogs and toads love themHigh in fat so should only be fed as treats
SuperwormsFrogs and toads generally like themHigh in fat so should only be fed as treats
Have a shell and can be more difficult to digest
They are known to bite and may bite you or your pet
ButterwormsFrogs and toads love themHigh in fat so should only be fed as special treats
WaxwormsLarge frogs like Pacman and African Bullfrogs love themHigh in fat so should only be fed as special treats
Phoenix WormsGenerally lower in fat and higher in protein compared to other worms
Toads generally like them
May not pass intestinal tract
Need to be poked before being fed to frogs
Red Wigglers Generally easy to get at pet storesMany frogs and toads do not like them and may never eat worms again after trying red wigglers
MealwormFrogs and toads generally like themHave a shell and can be more difficult to digest
They are known to bite and may bite you or your pet
BloodwormsFrogs and toads generally like themNot very nutritious, lacking calcium
Can lead to bloating in frogs
Freeze Dried Bloodworms You don’t have to deal with live preyFrogs and toads will only eat dead prey if they are starving
This is not a good food choice for a pet frog

Any live prey fed to captive frogs should be gut-loaded prior to feeding and dusted with vitamins such as Vitamin D3, Calcium, and other essential nutrients. Captive frogs should also be fed a varied diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they require.

Fishing bait worms from a local Walmart or tackle shop are generally best to avoid when feeding captive frogs because they may have color dye on them, or be chemically scented for fishing purposes. Any mold or dead worms in the container can cause sickness to pets.

Enjoyed this video? 🙂 Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

It is best to feed frogs a varied and balanced diet with that includes worms, but also crickets, spiders, flies, appropriate beetles, and small mammals (mice) depending on the size of the frog to ensure it gets the nutrients it needs. Vitamin supplements are essential to captive frog health.

But before you jump out into the wild to find a worm for your pet frog, here is another important rule to follow when feeding captive frog worms.

Never Feed a Captive Pet Frog Wild Worms

Although you could feed wild frogs worms that were raised in captivity, you should not feed captive frogs worms that were sourced in the wild. Wild worms and other insects may carry parasites or diseases that can be transmitted to your pet frog.

Not only can wild-caught bugs make a captive frog sick, but the parasites could also get into the substrate soil of a pet frog’s tank and contaminate it which can lead to you to having to change your frog’s entire environment to improve their health if something happens.

Some people also think it’s ok to feed frogs lettuce, fruits, or vegetables. Although tadpoles can be fed boiled lettuce or spinach, frogs require live meat in the form of insects and small mammals (depending on the size of the frog) once they reach the froglet, toadlet, and adulthood stages.

Feeding a captive frog wild-caught bugs can lead to:

  • Sickness: Diarrhea, Hookworms, Infections
  • Death

More About What Frogs Eat

Be sure to feed your frog a varied diet if you have a frog in captivity and be kind and gentle while observing frogs eating in the wild. 

Learn more about what frogs eat and how in these guides on our blog:

Common Questions About Frogs And Worms

Do frogs like worms? Frogs and toads love worms but hornworms and silkworms tend to be the best staple feeder choices since they are lower in fat and higher in protein compared to other worms.

Can I feed my frogs worms? Hornworms and silkworms are great to feed frogs however the girth of the worm should be no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes and the worm length should be no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length.

Do frogs and toads eat worms? Frogs and toads eat all kinds of worms including earthworms, mealworms, superworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, butter worms, phoenix worms, nightcrawlers, and bloodworms.

Are worms poisonous to frogs? Worms are generally not poisonous to frogs however wild-caught worms that are fed to captive frogs can lead to sickness or death due to external parasites and diseases the worm may carry.

Why won’t my frog eat worms? Frogs may not like the taste of certain worms, especially red wigglers. When cut in half, these worms secrete liquids that smell, and the frogs tend not to like the taste. Some frogs and toads that are fed red wigglers may never eat worms again after a bad experience.

Can Pacman frogs eat mealworms? Any frogs including Pacman Frogs can generally eat mealworms, earthworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, and nightcrawlers, as long as the girth of the worm is no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes and the worm length is no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length.

Can tree frogs eat mealworms? Any frogs including Tree Frogs can generally eat mealworms, earthworms, hornworms, waxworms, red wigglers, and nightcrawlers, as long as the girth of the worm is no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes and the worm length is no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length.

Sources

Frogforum.net

Reptifiles.com, Chart of Feeder Insect Nutrition Facts