What Frogs Eat: Everything There is to Know

I had a wild frog as a kid and loved to watch it eat a variety of bugs in the backyard. Later on, I did some research to learn what else frogs eat and realized that frogs eat much more than just bugs!

Frogs eat invertebrates, small mammals, small lizards, small freshwater shrimp or fish, and smaller frogs. As a general rule, if the prey is moving, is large enough for the frog to see, but small enough to fit into its mouth, the frog will eat it.

Here is a brief summary of what frogs generally eat depending on their lifecycle stage:

Frog Lifecycle StageDietWhat They Eat
TadpoleOmnivoreAlgae, Plants, Small Insects
FrogletCarnivoreSmall Bugs, Fish, Frogs
Adult FrogCarnivoreInsects, Small Mammals, Birds, Lizards

Frogs are carnivores that eat live prey that they actively or passively hunt. Let’s see what frogs eat depending on their lifecycle stage, and if they are pets or in the wild.

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Table of What Frogs Can Eat

Adult frogs eat invertebrates, small mammals, small lizards, small freshwater shrimp or fish, and smaller frogs. These include beetles, cockroaches, dragonflies, grubs, larvae, minnows, moths, roaches, slugs, small birds, small frogs, small bats, small snakes, and smaller frogs.

Frogs are carnivores that typically only feed on live or moving prey. If it is large enough for the frog to see and small enough to fit into its mouth, the frog will probably eat it.

Here is a full table of almost everything frogs can or cannot eat:

Can Frogs EatTadpolesSmall FrogsLarge Frogs
AlgaeYesNoNo
Boiled LettuceYesNoNo
Boiled SpinachYesNoNo
FruitNoNoNo
StrawberriesNoNoNo
BreadNoNoNo
Rolly PolliesNoNoNo
GrassNoNoNo
Frog EggsYesYesYes
Baby FrogsNoYesYes
Adult FrogsNoNoYes
SnailsNoYesYes
AntsNoYesYes
CricketsNoYesYes
Dead CricketsNoNoNo
DragonfliesNoYesYes
BeesNoYesYes
SlugsNoYesYes
SpidersNoYesYes
CockroachesNoYesYes
Fruit FliesNoYesYes
BloodwormsNoYesYes
MothsNoYesYes
MosquitoesNoYesYes
SlugsNoYesYes
EarthwormsNoYesYes
ButterfliesNoYesYes
CaterpillarsNoYesYes
EarthwormNoYesYes
SuperwormsNoYesYes
SilkwormsNoYesYes
HornwormsNoYesYes
ButterwormsNoYesYes
WaxwormsNoYesYes
Red Wigglers NoYesYes
NightcrawlersNoYesYes
BloodwormsNoYesYes
Phoenix WormsNoYesYes
EarwigsNoYesYes
TermitesNoYesYes
MealwormsNoYesYes
GuppiesNoYesYes
Small GoldfishNoYesYes
MinnowsNoYesYes
FliesNoYesYes
Praying MantisNoNoYes
GrasshoppersNoNoYes
MiceNoNoYes
Small SnakesNoNoYes
Small BirdsNoNoYes
Small AlligatorsNoNoYes
Small BatsNoNoYes
Small MammalsNoNoYes
Small SnakesNoNoYes
Small TurtlesNoNoYes
Small CicadasNoNoYes
NewtsNoNoNo
FishNoNoNo
LeechesNoNoNo
Dead BugsNoNoNo
Dead CricketsNoNoNo
Freeze Dried Bloodworms NoNoNo

What Tadpoles And Froglets Can Eat

At the stage of eggs, frog eggs feed on the yoke from their egg. They cannot move and have no mouths so they rely on their own storage of naturally-formed yoke to survive.

What Can Tadpoles Eat-min

Tadpoles primarily eat algae, plants, small insects, and phytoplankton. Tadpoles may also eat smaller tadpoles if their location lacks other nutrients for them to feed on. In captivity, you can feed tadpoles rinsed or boiled lettuce, spinach, or broccoli.

What Frog Tadpoles EatTadpolesAdult Frogs
AlgaeYesNo
Boiled LettuceYesNo
Boiled SpinachYesNo
Boiled BroccoliYesNo
Naturally Decaying VegetationYesNo

However, once they pass the stage of being tadpoles, frogs are no longer omnivores and feed on live prey. Froglets, or Baby Frogs, eat small bugs, small fish, and smaller frogs. They may eat crickets, flys, mosquitos, fruit flies, guppies, minnows, small moths, small snails, small worms, tadpoles, and other froglets.

Find out everything tadpoles can and cannot eat in our complete guide to feeding tadpoles.

What Captive Pet Frogs Eat

What captive frogs eat and how often frogs eat depends on the species and the size. Here are some examples of common pet frogs and what they eat:

Pet FrogFoodsFrequency
Poison Dart FrogAnts, Crickets, Flies2 to 3x Per Week
American BullfrogMice, Spiders, Mealworms1x to 2x Per Week
African Clawed FrogFeeder Fish, Brine Shrimp2 to 3x Per Week

Gut loading the prey before feeding it to the frog can be very beneficial to your pet. By feeding the crickets fruits and vegetables a few hours before feeding your frog, the nutrients are passed on to the frog and help them get the vitamins and minerals they need in their diet.

Frogs can eat all kinds of worms but some are better than others. Be sure to check out our article that is linked above to know which worms are best for frogs. Some people “dust” the prey with adapted supplement powders containing Vitamin A, Vitamin D or calcium to ensure their pet frog is truly getting all the nutrients they need (CTNF).

Frogs prefer live prey and will only eat dead insects or dead mammals if they are starving. So do not get a pet frog if you do not want to feed it live food.

Learn more about the reasons not to have a pet frog in this post.

How Big Should a Frog’s Food Be?

As a general rule, anything a frog eats should be no wider than the distance between the frog’s eyes and no longer than ⅓ of the frog’s body length. Feeding a frog food that is too large can lead to vomiting, impaction, illness or death.

Rules to follow when feeding frogs food:

  • Girth is smaller than the distance between the frog’s eyes: If the girth (circumference) of the food item is larger than the distance between the frog’s eyes, it is too large for your pet frog to safely eat it.
  • Food length is up to â…“ of the frog’s body length: If the food is longer than â…“ the frog’s body length it is too long. If it is a worm, feel free to cut it in half or in thirds depending on how long the worm is.
A toad I spotted that was interested in a caterpillar too large for it to eat

Frogs will try to eat anything they can fit in their mouths but may also be attracted to items too large for them. I found this toad looking at a caterpillar much too large for it to eat. Thankfully the toad realized this and moved on to smaller prey.

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.

List of What Frogs Eat

Frogs eat invertebrates, small mammals, small reptiles, small amphibians, small freshwater shrimp or fish, and smaller frogs. Examples of what frogs eat include:

  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Beetles
  • Cockroaches
  • Crickets
  • Dragonflies
  • Earthworms
  • Earwigs
  • Flies
  • Fruit Flies
  • Grasshoppers
  • Grubs
  • Guppies
  • Katydids
  • Larve
  • Minnows
  • Mosquitos
  • Moths
  • Roaches
  • Rodents
  • Slugs
  • Salamanders
  • Waxworms
  • Butterworms
  • Night Crawlers
  • Hornworms
  • Phoenix Worms
  • Red Wigglers
  • Small Alligators
  • Small Bats
  • Small Birds
  • Small Frogs
  • Small Mammals
  • Small Snakes
  • Small Turtles
  • Snails
  • Springtails
  • Termites
  • Wood-Lice

Smaller frog species such as poison dart frogs tend to eat smaller prey. For example, they eat certain ants which helps them produce their natural poison. Bullfrogs are large and commonly eat bigger prey such as large spiders and small mice. 

Frogs may also eat their own skin. This is very common for amphibians and is a process called “sloughing.” Frogs naturally shed and eat their skin which contains nutrients and protein. They do so to stay healthy and their tracks from predators. 

More About What Frogs Eat

Did you know that frogs eat by quickly launching their long, sticky tongue at their prey to catch it off guard and snatch it up? Frog prey gets roped up in the frog’s tongue and sticks to their saliva. Frogs then retract their eyes into their sockets to swallow their live food. 

What Toads Frogs Eat-min
A toad I found eating a small fly

Frogs can be lazy or active hunters, but overall they are big eaters. Some frogs, like Pacman Frogs, are ambush predators. They hunt by sitting and waiting for their prey to come to them. Other frogs are active hunters and will hunt down their prey.

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

Common Questions About What Frogs Eat

Do Frogs Have Teeth? Some frogs have teeth in their upper jaw, on the roofs of their mouth to help them swallow their prey and keep it down. Generally, a frog’s teeth are not used for self-defense and are only visible from the inside of their mouths.

What Can I Feed a Frog? You can feed wild frogs bugs that are available in their environment that are smaller than them. You can feed pet frogs adapted prey that is grown in captivity. But do not feed wild-caught bugs to pet frogs to avoid exposing them to pesticides or parasites.  

What Human Food Can Frogs Eat? Frogs are carnivores that eat live, moving food. Humans generally do not eat live, moving food and so frogs cannot eat human food. Do not feed your frog fruits, vegetables, or table scraps.

Can a Frog Eat a Mouse? Large frogs such as Bullfrogs or Pacman Frogs can eat small mammals including mice and other rodents, small bats, small birds, small snakes, salamanders, and small alligators.

Do Frogs Eat Lettuce? Frogs are carnivores that eat live, moving food. Therefore, human food including lettuce is not adapted to frogs. Tadpoles however, may enjoy lettuce or spinach, but prefer algee. Do not feed froglets or adult frogs lettuce or human food.

How Long can Frogs go Without Food? Frogs can go without food for 2 to 7 days depending on the species and their last meal. For example, a bullfrog that ate a mouse can wait up to 7 days for its next meal, whereas a dart frog that ate ants should eat again within 48h.

Can Frogs Eat Fish Food? Frogs cannot eat fish food. Frogs are carnivores that eat live, moving food, and fish food or guppy flakes is not appealing nor adapted to frogs as feed.

How do Frogs Drink? Frogs “drink” water by absorbing the humidity around them through their skin. This is one of the main reasons why it is so important that frogs live in a humid environment or close to water.

Can Frogs Choke? If a frog ate prey that is too large for its body, it may choke or experience intestinal issues. Frogs eat their own skin which may look like choking to humans. But sloughing is a natural process that frogs carry out regularly, often in the morning.

Do Frogs Eat Dead Bugs? Most frogs will starve before they eat anything not moving like a dead insect or dead mammals. Frogs are carnivores that prefer to eat live, moving food. 

Sources

Altig, Ronald. Whiles, Matt R., Taylor, Cindy L.: What do tadpoles really eat? Assessing the trophic status of an understudied and imperiled group of consumers in freshwater habitats, Freshwater Biology (2007) 52, 386–395.

Chesne, Corinne. La Grenouille. Artémis éd., 2009.

Parsons, Harry. L’univers Des Grenouilles: Amphibiens Poseurs. Éditions Du TrĂ©carrĂ©, 2000. 

Grenouilles, Crapauds Et Rainettes: Morphologie, Comportement, Alimentation Et Reproduction …, by S. Caratozzolo, De Vecchi, 2008.