What Do Toads Eat?

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Updated on March 8, 2023

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 what toads eat and how to take care of them, then today is the day you find out.

What Do Baby 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 to munch on.

However, it is necessary to know how to select the right insects since a baby toad loves to feed on anything that can fit into its mouth. So considering their head size, it’s important to choose insects that are on the smaller side.

An excellent choice, perfect for both baby and adult toads, is pinhead crickets. They are the perfect size to feed to a baby toad.

You can also feed your pet baby toad mealworms, grubs, and waxworms. But be sure that they are small enough.

Also, if you raise crickets in captivity as a food source for your baby toad, you should be aware that they are lower in essential nutrients than wild crickets or insects. Therefore, you must provide your baby toad with vitamin and mineral supplements, including calcium.

All things considered, baby toads will generally eat the same things a baby frog would eat.

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What Do Adult Toads Eat?

Toads have several species, different from one another in specific ways. However, they have a diet that’s simple to understand.

Since toads are amphibians and carnivores, they feed on common critters such as bugs, 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 food over what common toads may eat.

For instance, a cane toad finds beetles, bees, and frogs delicious, while other toad species will go for spiders, millipedes, and snails.

To provide a general answer to the specific question of “what does a toad eat?”,  a toad will feed on almost anything it can make fit into its mouth.

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Toad Eating Habit FAQs

do toads eat mosquitoes

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 Captivity?

Whether captive toads or their wild relatives, all love to feed on similar food sources.

One of the most popular foods used to feed captive toads is crickets. This is likely because they are readily available at most pet stores around.

Crickets 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  may need to supplement your toad’s diet. This can usually be accomplished by hunting earthworms, slugs, and other insects in your yard.

If you have kids, capturing toad food can be one of their chores that they actually enjoy doing. But it’s important that these food sources be captured alive.

Ideally, you’ll let your pet toad hunt its own food as they prefer the experience as though they are in the wild. But whether they find their own food or you give it them them, toads will enjoy it all the same.

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

What Do Toads Eat in the Wild?

toad eating

In the wild, toads are choosers; they decide whatever they feel like eating whether it be 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.

Different species of wild toads may feed on different kinds of food.

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

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

Some large-sized wild toad species can even eat some vertebrate prey including small mice, lizards, and garter snakes.

Since toads do not have teeth in their lower jaw, it makes it impossible to chew up their food, so they simply swallow it 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.

American toads, like others, are carnivores so they do not feed on plants. This toad species eats 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 Petco, Petsmart, or other pet store.

As tadpoles, their diet 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 other than every now and then.

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Do Toads Eat Mosquitoes?

Toads do eat mosquitoes, but not in a tremendous amount as you might hope.

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

If you are planning on having a few toads to handle your mosquito issue naturally, this might not work out as toads like variety in their diet. They’re not always going to want to eat mosquitoes when there are dragonflies, moths, worms, and other prey available.

However, a tadpole is a better alternative for controlling mosquitoes. Tadpoles love to feed on algae, mosquito larvae, and plants. Since mosquitoes love to lay their eggs on stagnant water, they become an easy catch for tadpoles.

Final Words

With so many species to choose from, there is no question that toads make great pets. Unlike other pets which eat very specific food sources, toads 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. Their 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.