What Do Toads Eat? | Eating Habits of Toads (Wild & Captivity)

We’ve all heard about Toads, but we often confuse them with frogs.

Toads and frogs are very similar, with a few distinctions, making it very hard to tell which ones which.

Although most toads often prefer to stay in a dry environment, they start their early lives in water.

However, in today’s article, we are going to focus on the diet and food habits of toads in both wild and in captivity.

So if you were planning to have a toad someday and were wondering about their dietary requirements and how to take care of them, then today is the day you finally find out!

So keep reading.

what do toads eat

What do Baby Toads Eat

All toads start as a tadpole; they do not give birth to an exact baby, as you may think.

They usually undergo metamorphosis from one stage to another, from the tadpole stage to the toad-looking baby.

They are often relatively small, and their petite-sized body makes it difficult for one to feed them probably.

With a baby toad as your pet, you can choose a wide range of insects for your pet.

However, it is necessary to know how to select the right insects; baby toad loves to feed on anything that can fit into their mouth.

what do baby toads eat

So considering their head size is important, and your insect’s choice should be smaller compared to your pet’s head.

An excellent choice, perfect for both baby and adult toads, is pinhead crickets; they have a perfect size which any toad can overcome.

You can also feed your pet with mealworms, grubs, and waxworms but be sure that they are small enough.

Also, if you raise crickets in captivity as a diet source for your baby toad, you should be aware that they lower in essential nutrients than wild crickets or insects.

Therefore, you must provide your baby toad with vitamin and mineral supplements, including calcium.

What do Toads Eat?

Toads have several species, different from one another in specific ways; however, they have a diet simple to understand.

As stated above, toads are amphibians and carnivores, so they feed on common items such as bugs, insects, worms, flies, slugs, and other types of live prey.

What toads eat isn’t a simple list of diet items, as different species prefer specific diet items over common toad choices.

For instance, a Cane toad finds beetles, bees, and frogs yummy, while some species will go for spiders, millipedes, and snails.

what do toads eat
toads eat lady bugs

To provide a general answer to your question — a toad will feed on anything it can make fit into its mouth.

They can attain a reasonable mouth size, and their feeding, whether a pet toad or not, is the same, so no need to worry about a difference in their feeding manners.

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What do Toads Eat in Captivity?

Whether captive toads or their wild relatives, all love to feed on the same diet items.

One of the most popular foods used to feed captive toads is crickets; this might be because it is readily available at most pet stores around.

toads eat crickets

They are raised to serve as food for animals like toads, frogs, lizards, snakes, and many other captive animals.

Captive toads are known to have a preference for live prey.

At certain times, you might need to supplement your toad’s diet, then hunt earthworms, slugs, and other insects in your yard might be of great help.

It is important that during your hunt, you capture the insects alive.

toad feed on earthworms

Toad prefers hunting their prey, giving them a similar experience as though they are in the wild.

You should only add more insects after your pet toad has eaten some of the insects placed in its pen.

Also, water is vital for every living organism, including your pet toad; therefore, a constant source of water for your toad is necessary. 

Another thing to ensure is to know the species of your pet toad.

If it’s aquatic, then you need to choose a damp environment for its housing.

FAQ about Eating Habits of Toads

When it comes to having toads as pets, many questions arise, like, what can I feed them? Do they eat spiders, mice, fish, and other animals? etc.

So let’s find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding toads in the wild as well as in captivity as pets.

What do Toads Eat in the Wild?

what do toads eat in wild

In the wild, toads are choosers; they decide whatever they feel like eating — insects, worms, and other small prey species.

It would be challenging to explicitly say what wild toads feed on since they live in many local habitats worldwide.

Wild toads with different species feed on various kinds of food.

The common toad, a favorite species, eats mainly flies and ants when they are still babies and not strong enough to overcome larger insects and larvae.

Equally, mature wild toads eat other common diet items such as snails, spiders, slugs, worms, and so on.

Also, some big-sized wild toads species can overcome some vertebrate prey including small mice, and lizards.

toad feed on lizards

Toads do not have teeth in their lower jaws making it impossible to chew their diet items, so they swallow them whole.

What do American Toads Eat?

American toads are widely distributed throughout Canada and the US.

The bufo Americanus species is known for its adaptability and strength, making them an ideal choice for a pet.

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American toads, like others, are carnivores; they do not feed on plants.

what do american toads eat

This toad species eat only live prey — crickets, wax worms, mealworms, flies, and many more as long as it fits into their mouth.

These diet items and other varieties are easy to purchase at your local pet stores.

Tadpoles’ diet choice isn’t as simple as you might think.

Tadpoles are meant to be in the water, which means a different diet choice.

The American toad’s tadpoles are not carnivorous as they start out, they feed on algae and other aquatic vegetation.

As the tadpole metamorphosis into toadlets, they also make changes to their diet list.

Now, toadlets prefer live small terrestrial prey to their algae and aquatic vegetation.

Finding the right-sized flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, worms, etc. makes keeping a toadlet challenging sometimes.

However, toadlets and adult toads love live prey; anything in your yard that can fit into their mouth is the right diet item.

Slugs, pinhead crickets, and worms are generally sized to fit perfectly and make a tasty snack.

Also, larger American toads can be fed small mice, but this diet choice isn’t recommended for feeding now and then.

Do Toads Eat Mosquitoes?

Toads do eat mosquitoes, but no in a tremendous amount as you might hope.

Toad and toadette alike find anything small to average-sized insects and other animals yummy and perfect diet.

If you are planning on having few toads to handle your mosquitoes issue naturally, this might not work out as toads have a wide variety of diet items; for instance, a toad can feed dragonflies and moths, worms, etc.

toad feed on mosquitoes

However, a tadpole is a better alternative for controlling mosquitoes.

Tadpoles love to feed on algae, mosquito larvae, and plants; and since mosquitoes love to lay their egg on stagnant water, it becomes an easy catch for tadpoles.

How to Take Care of a Toad

Today, there are over 4800 known different species of toads and frogs, though most species are regarded as toads.

But sadly, not all toad species can be purchased from your pet stores.

Few toads, maybe dozens, features in the pet trade, and they all require different needs.

Most toads ideal for pet needs the same primary care like feeding and handling, but extra care must be given to these details — temperature and humidity are not always the same.

So, before you pick a toad species to make sure you have some depth knowledge.

Here are few guidelines to successfully keep your favorite toad pet irrespective of the specie:

Create a Terrarium for your Toad Pet

The easiest way to get this done is using an old aquarium.

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You don’t need an aquarium without leaks; toads are terrestrial animals, so don’t waste time looking for a leak-proof aquarium.

Sunlight offers an excellent vitamin D source for toads; therefore, make sure the aquarium is transparent.

After getting an old aquarium, adding a few inches of a suitable substrate is the next step.

There are many substrates to choose from, such as chemical-free potting compost, some moss, and a shelter.

You must add an appropriate toad shelter, which you can easily purchase at a pet supply store.

You should equally add a reptile heat mat to provide your pet heat whenever it feels the need for it; locate your reptile heat mat somewhere underneath your tank.

Different species require a different temperature, so make use of the heat mat’s thermostat to reach the right temperature.

Feeding your Toad

You should feed your toad with live invertebrate prey of apt size.

When picking up live prey for your toad size is significant, i.e. your toad must be able to swallow whole.

Often toads find crickets, dragonflies, moths, worms, etc., as a tasty snack.

Get calcium and vitamin supplement from amphibians supply stores and dust any food you are offering your toad with it about once a week.

It is also paramount you follow the instructions and your pets’ specific requirements.

Clean Your Pet’s Home

This cleaning should be done every day — remove uneaten food, feces and replace the water.

The tank itself should be cleaned as you see fit; how often you do depends on you.

This might be once a week, which depends on the tank’s size, but you should ensure to keep it clean for your pet’s health.

Before you dispose of the substrate, place your pet in a temporary holding tank, wash the container and accessories and replace everything as they were before.

Please do not use the disposed of substrate; replace it with fresh substrate.

You can do this once a week or month, depending on availability.

take care of toads

Final Words

With so many species to choose from, there is no question as to why toads are such great pets!

They are terrestrial and have a wide range of food options.

Toads and toadlets are carnivores, which means they feed on any insect as long as it fits into their mouth.

Thier dietary list includes worms, flies, slugs, snails, spiders, millipedes, mosquitoes, bugs, and many more.

In a nutshell, irrespective of whether you purchase a toad at the local pet shop or catch them in the wild, these amphibians adapt just fine, eating whatever they can conquer.

1 Comment

  1. Cindy

    I feed our 2 juvenile toads red worms because they are smaller than regular worms, but I think they still might be too big. We also give them wax worms. Sometimes we cut them in half and each toad gets half. If they get a whole worm, it’s a lot of food. What if we feed them a worm that is too big and they eat it anyway because they don’t really have a choice once they start eating it? Our toads look pretty fat sometimes. Is that bad for them? Thanks.

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