What Insects do Frogs Eat?

When I thought of what frogs eat as a child I would instinctively think of insects. I used to love watching the wild toads in my yard eat a wide variety of bugs, and here are a few of their favorites.

All frog species feed on a wide variety of insects including ants, bees, wasps, beetles, moths, cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, fleas, flies, and termites. Frogs will typically eat any live bugs available in their direct environment.

Frogs are carnivores that will generally consume any insects that are moving and are small enough to fit in their mouth.

Let’s have a closer look at the types of insects frogs consume depending on their size, since small frogs feed on smaller insects, and large frogs feed on small insects, but also consume larger prey.

Small Frogs Eat Small Insects

Small frog species eat smaller insects that can fit in their mouth including ants, wood lice, crickets, grasshoppers, fleas, flies, aphids, and termites.

Some frog species do not grow very large, making their food choices more limited compared to larger frog species (which we will have a look at in a moment).

Overall, smaller frog species such as Spring Peeper, Wood Frogs, and Poison Dart Frogs can consume a wide variety of small or infant bugs.

Frogs eat crickets

I used to love watching the wild American Toads in my yard feed on disgusting potato bugs. I always thought it was funny that this bug has so many names from woodlice, to sow bugs, roly polies, land shrimp, salters, and pill bugs.

Termites, grasshoppers, and crickets are very protein-rich and make an excellent food-source for all types of frogs.

Bugs That Frogs Eat:

  • Cockroaches (Blattodea)
  • Crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids (Orthoptera)
  • Fleas (Siphonaptera)
  • Flies (Diptera)
  • Termites (Isoptera)
  • Lice (Phthiraptera)
  • Woodlice (Isopoda)

Of course, within what we called “smaller insects,” there are many very large insects as well. For example, moths can be tiny, or very large.

The type of bug a frog can eat will depend on the size, although most frogs will go after anything that is not a threat, can fit in their mouth, and that is moving.

But larger frog species truly can feed on much larger insects. Let’s have a look at some examples.

Large Frogs Eat Small And Large Insects

Large frog species eat smaller insects including ants, wood lice, crickets, grasshoppers, fleas, flies, aphids, and termites, as well as larger bugs including spiders, wasps, butterflies, grubs, and beetles.

Some frog species can become very large making their food choices much more vast than smaller frog species.

Large African Bullfrog consuming a grub

Overall, larger frog species such as American Bullfrogs, Cane Toads, and Goliath Frogs can consume a wide variety of small and very large bugs.

Bugs That Frogs Eat:

  • Ants, Bees, and Wasps (Hymenoptera)
  • Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
  • Beetles and Weevils (Coleoptera)
  • Earwigs (Dermaptera)
  • Dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata)
  • Spiders (Araneae)

Large frogs can consume small and crunchy grubs like mealworms, and fat and juicy grubs like beetle larva.

It’s important for any frog species to have a balanced diet since some grubs can be high in fat and lead to obesity if consumed in excess.

You may be surprised that we did not cover worms (Haplotaxida or Lumbriculida) in more detail in this article about what bugs frogs eat. Well, technically worms are not bugs.

Although worms are invertebrates, they are classified as animals with distinct characteristics including an exoskeleton, a lack of eyes and legs. 

It may seem a bit confusing since some “worms” are not technically classified as such. Tequila worms, silkworms, glow worms and inchworms are all actually insect larvae, or the early life stages of different bugs. 

They technically are not worms, but frogs love them either way.

Here is a table of bugs that frogs eat depending on the size of the frog:

What Do Frogs Eat?Small FrogsLarge Frogs
AntsYesYes
AphidsYesYes
ButterfliesYesYes
ButterwormsYesYes
CaterpillarsYesYes
CicadasNoYes
CockroachesYesYes
CricketsYesYes
EarwigsYesYes
FirefliesYesYes
FliesYesYes
Fruit FliesYesYes
GrubsYesYes
IsopodsYesYes
Japanese BeetlesYesYes
SpidersYesYes
JunebugsYesYes
LadybugsYesYes
LocustsYesYes
MillipedesYesYes
MosquitoesYesYes
MothsYesYes
TermitesYesYes
WoodliceYesYes
WormsYesYes

So now that you know that frogs will pretty much consume any bugs that are alive, small enough to fit in their mouth, and safe to eat, you may be wondering what else frogs eat.

What do Frogs Eat Besides Bugs?

Frogs feed on insects, but also consume worms, small birds, small bats, small snakes, and other frogs depending on the size of the frog.

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

Frogs can eat small fish, and frog tadpoles may feed on decaying fish, their eggs, and larvae.

Preying on smaller fish is especially popular for large frogs that live in water with them. 

However, larger fish, especially big game fish like Snook, Pike and Bass also prey on frogs.

Larger species of frogs also eat small snakes. Smaller frogs do not eat snakes since such prey is too large to fit into their mouths.

Some frogs eat snakes

Large frogs generally prefer to eat non-venomous snake species but will try to bite anything that crosses their path.

Frogs may also consume small rodents, small birds and small frogs (CTNF).

American Bullfrogs have been seen snatching up baby ducklings and consuming them alive and whole. 

It’s pretty gruesome to think about, but when you consider that frogs sometimes act like jumping mouths, snatching up anything they can eat along their path, it may surprise you less.

Here is a list of things that frogs eat other than insects:

What Do Frogs Eat?Small FrogsLarge Frogs
Baby FrogsYesYes
Frog EggsYesYes
FrogsYesYes
GuppiesYesYes
ShrimpYesYes
Small FishNoYes
Small SnakesNoYes
TadpolesYesYes

Learn more about what frogs eat on our blog:

Sources

Britannica, List of Insects

Australian Museum, Worms