What Do Tree Frogs Eat?

Tree Frogs are nocturnal creatures that come out at night to eat. Tree Frogs are generally out hunting for food or waiting for it to come to them while we sleep. But what exactly do Tree Frogs find to eat out in the wilderness?

Tree Frogs feed on pond plants and algae in the tadpole stage, and as froglets and adults, Tree Frogs generally feed on insects such as ants, crickets, moths, and small invertebrates.

If you want to know more about a Tree Frog’s diet, continue reading this article for information that will help you better understand these cute little creatures like to feed on.

Tree Frogs Eat Different Foods Depending on Stage

Tree frogs eat different things depending on the life cycle stage they are in. Here is a look at what Tree Frogs eat at each main life cycle stage:

Lifecycle StageDietWhat Tree Frogs Eat
Egg StageYolkThe yolk of their egg
Young TadpoleMostly HerbivoreAlgae, decaying vegetation
Mature TadpoleOmnivoreVegetation, Aphids, Ants
FrogletInsectivore, CarnivoreBugs, small lizards, frogs
Adult Tree FrogInsectivore, CarnivoreFish, Shrimp, Lizards, Small invertebrates

As a tadpole transforms into a froglet, it will feed on the yolk of its own egg to get the nutrients required to grow properly. Once the egg turns into a tadpole, they primarily feed on a plant-based diet. The main types of food tadpoles will eat are algae, duckweed, moss, and other soft decaying vegetation.

As more time passes and tadpoles begin their transition to froglets, they start to feed on small insects, spiders, water striders and other carnivorous materials. Once the tadpole has fully matured into a Tree Frog, its diet will change once again to larger foods including larger insects, ants, crickets, moths, and other invertebrates. 

Tree Frogs are generally smaller than other frog species since they live in trees for the most part, and need to be able to carry their own body weight and stick to leaves and branches. However, some larger Tree Frogs like Australian Tree Frogs will gladly eat larger prey such as freshwater fish, shrimp, small lizards and small mammals. For the most part, adult Tree Frogs will eat anything that they can see is moving and can fit it in their mouths. 

What Tree Frogs Eat During Winter

You may be wondering what Tree Frogs can eat when it’s cold outside. Thankfully, when the temperature drops and the flakes start to fly, a Tree Frog becomes dormant and goes into hibernation. Tree Frogs have incredible ways of hibernating (be sure to learn more in the article on our blog). They can even survive in freezing temperatures and will thaw out in the springtime and essentially come back to life.

But during the Winter tree frogs do not eat. They survive by entering hibernation and living off the levels of glucose in their bodies. Tree Frogs may also stock up during the Spring and Summer to be ready to hibernate in Winter.

Where Tree Frogs Eat

Since Tree Frogs have sickly little suction cup-like toes, they have the ability to get just about anywhere that they think an insect will be hanging out (CTNF).

Oftentimes you will notice these little frogs stuck to your window in the evening. This is because the light from your window attracts insects, so the Tree Frog has minimal work to do when hunting their prey. They can just sit there and wait for the insect to come toward the light and into their bellies. 

You will also find Tree Frogs hanging out in the following places. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, but it gives you an idea of the type of environment they prefer to inhabit when looking for food:

  • Birdbaths
  • Damp shady places
  • In the foliage of trees
  • In planters and garden plants
  • Near ponds
  • Near pool areas
  • Under shrubs
  • On smooth walls

What Captive Pet Tree Frogs Eat

If you have a Tree Frog as a pet, you just can’t let it loose to hunt for prey in your yard. You have to try to mirror that protein-rich diet they find in the wild since it could get sick from eating wild prey.

Captive pet Tree Frogs require a variety of insects as they would encounter in the wild. The food offered should be smaller than the distance between the frog’s eyes so they can easily digest it.

Different species of frogs have different dietary needs, but in general, Tree Frogs in captivity will eat gut-fed insects like crickets, moths, flies, and mealworms. They should be fed daily for young frogs, and every other day, or 3x per week for adult Tree Frogs. You could also dust  insects with a little calcium powder to help prevent metabolic bone disease in your frogs. 

More About What Tree Frogs Eat

Now that you have learned all about what Tree Frogs eat in the wild, you may find it very beneficial to attract them to your yard! And if you have a pet Tree Frog, you have a better understanding of what the diet of a domesticated Tree Frog should look like. 

Learn more about Tree Frogs and what they eat in the following guides on our blog:

Common Questions About What Tree Frogs Eat

Do tree frogs eat fruit? Tree Frogs are generally insectivores and definitely carnivores and do not eat fruit. Although you could feed Tree Frog tadpoles boiled spinach, they require live insects to feed on at the froglet and adult stages of their development.

What do tree frogs eat in the rainforest? Adult Tree Frogs feed on ants, moths, crickets, mosquitoes, flies, and other insects in the rainforest. Poison Dart Frogs get their poison from the alkaloid ants the feed on. At the tadpole stage, Tree Frogs feed on decaying vegetation.

How often do tree frogs eat? Tree Frogs need food every day at the froglet stage, and every other day for Tree Frogs at the adult stage. Tree Frog tadpoles feed every day on small bits of decaying vegetation.

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.