What Do Baby Frogs Eat?

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Frogs (and their close kin, the toad)  are one of those critters you either love or hate.

Since these critters metamorphose over their lifetime, it can be difficult to explain baby frogs to children.

Understanding frogs isn’t just a matter of pest control, it’s a great way to teach life science to your kids first-hand.

Today, we’ll discuss what baby frogs eat, then go back and look at some other aspects of these curious amphibians.

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Note
Smaller species of frogs are often mistaken for babies and can have a different diet than larger frogs. As a result, we'll also briefly touch upon these.

The Four Life Stages: What is a Baby Frog?

Frogs come from the order Anura, with frog species that lay eggs on dry land, have bumpy skin, and/or coming from the Bufonidae family often being referred to as toads.

This is mainly important because we often talk about frogs and toads as if they were two distinct critters, and sometimes variations in the life cycle make that seem true.

However, most species of frogs go through four life stages similar to many insects.

They’ll generally lay their eggs in water, but there are a few species that prefer land.

The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae known as tadpoles.

Instead of a pupal stage, tadpoles go through a metamorphic period where they grow limbs and absorb their tail.

During this phase, they’re commonly known as froglets, and they’re considered an adult when the tail is completely gone.

Baby Frog Nicknames

There’s one other thing we need to discuss before getting to the meat (no pun intended) of the matter.

The term “baby frog” can refer to both the tadpole and froglet stages.

Tadpoles are also sometimes referred to as polliwogs, with both coming from Middle English words.

Tadpole originally meant “toad head” while polliwog meant “head wiggle”, so you can see why the two terms are interchangeable.

But here’s where another problem arises in naming these baby animals.

The term “froglet” can refer to the metamorphic phase, but it’s also a nickname for small species.

This is one of the reasons many people think baby frogs look like miniature adults.

What Do Baby Frogs Eat?

We already know that adult frogs are carnivores.

But, what about the baby frogs? Do they also eat insects or something completely different?

These little amphibians are too small eat bigger insects like crickets and grasshoppers.

In fact, they won’t even have teeth until they’re adults. Instead, the diet of baby frogs is usually a lot different.

Their first meal is the egg sac, which provides all the nutrients it will need to start foraging.

In this early stage most tadpoles live off of algae, decaying plant matter, or diatoms (the same microscopic critters that give us diatomaceous earth).

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Some will also feed on dead insects or animals, although it’s rare to find a truly carnivorous species.

When tadpoles and froglets hunt, they often target small pests, such as water striders or mosquito larva.

While they have no teeth, their jaws are able to tear at the food as long as it doesn’t struggle or fight.

In a few rare cases, tadpoles are even cannibalistic.

Read Also: What Do Toads Eat?

What Do Small Frogs Eat?

So what about froglets that are actually small species and not baby frogs?

These have a rather varied diet, often depending on the type of frog.

Surprisingly, this diet makes small species a great ally for any garden environment.

Over time, they’ll devour a wide range of pests, such as:

Also, most adult frogs will eat their skin as they shed it (around once per week).

The skin contains a lot of vitamins and other nutrients that these creatures will recycle to stay healthy.

Read Also: How to Prevent Frogs From Coming Into Your Home

Pictures of Baby Frogs (Tadpoles and Froglets)

tadpoles
tadpoles
what does a baby frog eat
polliwog
baby froglet
froglet

froglet

how to get rid of frogs
adult frog

How to Take Care of Baby Pet Frogs

So let’s say you want to have some pet frogs.

If you have a stream or creek nearby, you can catch tadpoles and raise them.

You’ll want an aquarium tank that is set up to mimic their natural habitat.

They’ll need clean water, temperature control, and some rocks they can crawl up onto during their froglet and adult stages.

Even aquatic frogs you buy at the pet store will need this sort of setup, although tree frogs will want some logs or other things they can climb.

Feeding A Pet Baby Frog

Finally, let’s look at how to feed your new pets.

While in the tadpole stage, aquatic plants are a great option.

They’ll also clean algae from your fish tank if you have fish and can be fed fish food.

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Beyond this, you can feed them bloodworms, insect larvae, pinhead crickets, and wingless fruit flies.

Avoid fruits or veggies, and give them food that’s no bigger than the space between their eyes or they’ll have trouble eating it.

Samantha