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Home > Frogs > What Do Toads Eat in the Wild and as Pets? Vet-Approved Nutritional Information

What Do Toads Eat in the Wild and as Pets? Vet-Approved Nutritional Information

Wild Toad

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Even though some people may think otherwise, toads are closely related to frogs. They aren’t even classified that far off from frogs in taxonomy. That said, toads are somewhat different, with rough, dry, warty skin and short legs.

Like adult frogs, adult toads are carnivores. They will eat anything that gets close enough for them to snatch up. The diet of a specific type of toad will vary depending on the prey that is available in the area where they live. However, a variety of insects is likely part of the menu for any toad.

If you are considering getting a toad as a pet, keep reading to learn more about what your toad should eat at different stages of its life, along with how captive toad diets differ from those of wild toads.

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Toads in the Wild

Wild toads are opportunistic eaters that will eat anything they can catch. There are over 500 different species of toad, and the regular diet of each depends on what’s available where it lives. Toads are terrestrial, meaning they live on land. They can usually be found near water, though, because they require water to breed.

Common Toad
Image Credit: Kathy_Büscher, Pixabay

Wild Toad Diets

One interesting difference between toads and frogs is that frogs have teeth while toads do not. However, this doesn’t deter toads from eating a wide variety of foods.

Things that wild toads will eat include:
  • Crickets
  • Ants
  • Tadpoles (but not their own)
  • Small mice
  • Small snakes
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Worms
  • Moths
  • Smaller toads
  • Smaller frogs
  • Bees

As you can see, toads aren’t picky. They will even cannibalize smaller toads if the need arises.

Toads as Pets


Please note that many states and jurisdictions have legislation that restricts capturing or owning tadpoles, frogs, or toads. Always make sure you have permission to legally own an exotic pet before deciding to adopt one. If you are in the U.S., please refer to your state’s laws before deciding to adopt an exotic or wild pet. Elsewhere, please refer to the relevant laws where you reside.

Capturing wild animals is not advised, as this disrupts local ecosystems. In addition, amphibians may naturally harbor Salmonella and spread it to humans and other pets. Frogs or toads are not recommended to be kept alongside children, the elderly, pregnant individuals, or those with a compromised immune system. Hygiene is of utmost importance when dealing with amphibians.

Certain species of frogs have naturally occurring poisons or toxins that they can release by different mechanisms, depending on the species. All toads are toxic to a certain degree, and they are especially dangerous for pet dogs. Therefore, caution and thorough research prior to adopting a pet is vital.

Frogs and toads are popular pets because they tend to be relatively easy to feed and care for. However, owning a toad comes with complications not always found with frogs.

One of the characteristics that differentiate a toad from a frog is the bufotoxin found in its skin. This toxin can mildly irritate skin, eyes, and mucus membranes, though the effects are rarely serious in humans.

The same is not true of dogs. The bufotoxin found in some toads can be toxic to dogs because of a dog’s tendency to pick up strange objects in their mouth. If you are a dog owner, you may want to reconsider keeping a toad as a pet for your dog’s safety.

You should also only keep toads bred in captivity as pets. Some species of toads are endangered because human interference has destroyed their habitats. Other toad populations have been depleted by humans capturing them for the pet trade.

green toad in hand
Image credit: PxFuel

Feeding Pet Toads

Like most pets, a toad’s dietary needs will change throughout its lifetime. Here are tips on feeding toads from the tadpole stage through adulthood.


Tadpoles are confined to the water until they develop legs and lungs. Their first meal is the yolk from their egg sack. After this, tadpoles will primarily eat algae and other aquatic plants. Some tadpoles will even snack on their fellow tadpoles!


It takes most tadpoles about 2 months to become young toads or toadlets. Once they have developed legs, your toadlets can begin to eat solid foods. However, they must only be given small insects, since they don’t chew their food. They can choke if the insects are too large.

Juvenile toads should be fed every day. Good options include small earthworms, crickets, mealworms, and pill bugs. When your toads are young, you should dust their food with calcium and vitamin powder to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition.

Fowler's Toad side view
Image Credit: Frode Jacobsen, Shutterstock


Like young toads, adults will eat a wide variety of insects. The adult toad needs to eat two or three times per week. The size of the insects can be a little larger than those you would feed a young toad. A good rule of thumb is to leave food in your toad’s enclosure for 15 minutes. Anything that it hasn’t caught and eaten after this time should be removed.

Popular insect choices for adult pet toads include:
  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Earthworms
  • Beetles
  • Moths
  • Ants
  • Pill bugs
  • Grubs
  • Slugs
  • Spiders

Adult toads also need supplements. It is best to discuss the specifics with your veterinarian.

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Final Thoughts

Toads can be kept as pets as long as they are not handled frequently. They should also not be captured in the wild and kept in captivity. When feeding your pet toad, stick to appropriately sized insects, and don’t forget veterinarian-approved supplements. Following these simple guidelines will ensure that your pet toad is well fed.

Featured Image Credit by: blende12, Pixabay

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