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Amphibian Diets

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Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates, which are animals that have backbones. Since amphibians prefer to live in wet habitats, their skin is slimy and lack scales -- unlike reptiles whose skin is dry and has scales. Amphibians such as frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians can be carnivores (meat eaters) or herbivores (plant eaters) and have different preferences on what they eat.

Frogs and Toads

Frog and toad diets include mostly invertebrates like insects, such as crickets, fruit flies and meal worms. Larger frogs may eat small mammals like mice or rats, or even small fish and crayfish. Frogs and toads feed in water, especially along streams, lakes, ponds and rivers, since this is where they lay their eggs. When kept as pets, frogs can be fed a commercially prepared diet, although food from their natural environment is preferable.


Like frogs and toads, salamanders feed on invertebrates. They eat slugs, worms, fruit flies, insect larvae and freshwater shrimp. Since salamanders can travel beyond streams and ponds to climb plants and trees, their diet also includes terrestrial animals like earthworms, caterpillars and plant lice.


Caecilians lack limbs and resemble snakes or worms. They hide underground in tropical areas and, although their diets are not well known, they eat termites and other insects that are found underground. They also eat plant matter and other organic remains. Larger Mexican caecilians, which can grow to lengths of nearly 2 feet, are able to eat other animals like lizards or mice.


Tadpoles -- the immature form of frogs and toads -- are herbivores due to their small size and inability to travel outside of their water habitat. They feed on filamentous algae that grows around rocks and plants in water that is exposed to sunlight. The vitamin C found in algae is essential for a tadpole's diet. Tadpoles with no access to plant matter have been known to cannibalize other tadpoles. If you keep tadpoles as pets, you can substitute boiled dark greens for algae.